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1999 SLK55 AMG + 6 speed swap, 2001 CLK55 AMG - parts
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I work in Manufacturing. It's not the accountants that make the calls, it's Management that is pinching pennies. If it doesn't meet the X-year payoff amount, a part does not get made. Everything down to a single bolt is scrutinized.

Americans want cheap stuff.. but instead of making cheap stuff, they are making expensive stuff cheaper! It's not our fault!
 

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2000 ML430
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16 Posts
Everyone wants to blame “bean counters”, but:
1 I’ve never seen an accountant actually make a product decision, and
2. Cost are important consideration because American consumers (largest car market) are sometimes chasing the lowest penny.
I have, they might do an itemized check of a bom (bill of materials) and say we notice this part uses 10 bolts and we are going to make 50k units. Can we drop the bolt count down to 8 per unit and save x amount on the production.

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2013 GLK 350 4 Matic
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For what it’s worth I think the 4 matic system is very good and very capable, even off road.

This summer I took my GL 63 to Colorado where I did the Alpine loop, needles to say I got a lot of funny stares, and questions from the FJ and Jeep guys. Most question asked.. “how did you get up here on those tires?”

so in short 4matic is good enough to crawl up 12800 feet of rocky trail on low profile street tires.





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2006 S500 4matic, 2008 S550 4matic
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232 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
This summer I took my GL 63 to Colorado where I did the Alpine loop
I guess this is a different use of AWD. At the S-class we are not likely planning to go off road;)
Is not the main propose of AWD on luxury sedans to improve safety? When I was asking about performance of AWD systems I was trying to compare the stability of the same road curve at the same road conditions of different cars on a highway driving. If we put aside differential design and schematics and measure Newton per Meter, Meters to a full stop or any other technical MEASURABLE parameters, can we conclude that one system is better than other?
 

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2000 ML430
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I guess this is a different use of AWD. At the S-class we are not likely planning to go off road;)
Is not the main propose of AWD on luxury sedans to improve safety? When I was asking about performance of AWD systems I was trying to compare the stability of the same road curve at the same road conditions of different cars on a highway driving. If we put aside differential design and schematics and measure Newton per Meter, Meters to a full stop or any other technical MEASURABLE parameters, can we conclude that one system is better than other?
Yeah. Quattro is the better system hands down.

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2013 GLK 350 4 Matic
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I guess this is a different use of AWD. At the S-class we are not likely planning to go off road;)
Is not the main propose of AWD on luxury sedans to improve safety? When I was asking about performance of AWD systems I was trying to compare the stability of the same road curve at the same road conditions of different cars on a highway driving. If we put aside differential design and schematics and measure Newton per Meter, Meters to a full stop or any other technical MEASURABLE parameters, can we conclude that one system is better than other?

Well I would give any Audi SUV owner $10 if they could beat my GL through the 1/4 mile on dirt or pavement..


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If we put aside differential design and schematics and measure Newton per Meter, Meters to a full stop or any other technical MEASURABLE parameters, can we conclude that one system is better than other?
Go and Hire one of each, take them both out on a wet track day and see which one you crash first :D :D :D
 

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2006 S600
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I just learnt that there is a difference between AWD and 4WD. To my satisfaction I found that 4matic is AWD. However, there are several articles on the web that Quattro and some Fords systems are the best :( I thought that Mercedes should have the best engineering of its cars. How good is 4matic and what we are missing over A8?
Put me out of my misery - what IS the difference between AWD and 4WD?

Thanks, Nick
 

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2000 ML430
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16 Posts
lol, I can't wait for more answers .....................
Its terminology that gets a bit tossed around. If you go way back to transfer cases with levers you had 2wd low, 4wd high and 4wd low. This type of 4wd was never meant to be driven on pavement. If you did you would load the gears or chain in the tcase and pop it. As they became more advanced they figured out ways to add another diff to the t case or clutch depending on the manufacturer. Borgwarner, new venture, new process, gkn, magna...etc. so now in the case of the w163 ml chassis it is full time 4wd or awd but it is really rare that it still has a low range. As far as I'm concerned any full time 4wd system without low range is just all wheel drive.

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2000 ML430
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So are you saying that 4WD is better than AWD?

Watch this 5:00 minutes in. THAT'S what 4WD should be able to do! :


Nick
Different uses traditionally. But as technology increases 4wd and Awd have slowly blended together. Low range will always be an offroad usage.

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2013 GLK 350 4 Matic
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I just learnt that there is a difference between AWD and 4WD. To my satisfaction I found that 4matic is AWD. However, there are several articles on the web that Quattro and some Fords systems are the best :( I thought that Mercedes should have the best engineering of its cars. How good is 4matic and what we are missing over A8?


I’ve driven both A8 and S550 4matic. In my opinion when driving hard the A8 tends to understeer ( go wide ) through high speed corners. And the S 550 is more neutral with maybe a hint of oversteer.

If I was choosing between the two it would be hands down S-class all the way. But I tend to drive very hard.. if someone is just a Sunday driver one would probably not notice the difference between the two.


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(y)

Very well said :)

Thank You for confirming :)

There is a ton of VAG products on our wet and twisty fast roads up here, a lot of 4wd, and through my business I get to drive a lot of 4wd Cars.

Like I said earlier, whilst I don't drive Customers Cars like an idiot, I can "feel" what the VAG's are doing, the MB's on the other hand simply do the job in the background.

I repeat, any time you can "feel" something as Drivetrain and Suspension is working, it can and does unsettle a Car noticeably at higher speeds.

Yes, oversteer is a much better bet when really pressing on, bud sadly in the "Nanny State" world today, a lot of Mfrs think it is better that a Car understeers at lower speeds so the bad drivers back off when they scare themselves :rolleyes:

For those who don't know :-

Oversteer = When the Back of the Car hits the Wall

Understeer = When the Front of the Car hits the Wall

BHP = How Fast the Car hits the Wall

Torque = How Far the Car pushes the Wall

:D

Yes I have that 'T' Shirt !!
 

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2006 S600
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The original Quattro transmission was cool. It used a hallow output shaft, which then connected to the center diff, and the front "drive shaft" was routed inside that hallow output shaft up to the front differential (which was enclosed in the same case) I've had a few early Quattro cars and they are generally a very sturdy system. My 5000's had lockable center and rear differentials which made the car "unstoppable".. and also donut monsters. Subaru is the only other manufacturer that uses (used?) that similar setup. Early Quattro units were also evenly split, and had open differentials until the 90's when you could get your Quattro with a TORSEN center diff, still with the lockable rear.

Unfortunately, you could only do this with a manual transmission, and when people wanted AWD with Automatics, they had to relay the power through a "transfer case" and up to the front via a driveshaft that was offset and not through the middle like a early Quattro unit. This is how every longitudinal setup is today. Some companies like MB have that front driveshaft external to the transmission, and even the front differential is in a separate case. This is how early 4-matics were. that is the extent of my 4-matic knowledge.

Nothing will compare to the first generation of Quattro.... NOTHING. period.
The thing with AWD Audis is that the engine is always in front of the axle. That original quattro configuration was beautifully elegant, and avoided the need for a transfer box altogether. However, it meant that the front differential was behind the engine and clutch.

These days they put the diff in front of the clutch or torque converter. That means the front propshaft has to go outside the gearbox, but it allows the engine to sit further back.

Despite that, Audi engines are always entirely in front of the front axle, which means they're nose-heavy, and handle like front wheel drive. Other manufacturers like MB, BMW & Porsche put the front differential alongside the engine, typically cast into the sump (unless they're a big SUV), so they have normal RWD weight distribution and decent handling.

Until Audi make the same leap I don't see they're ever going to catch up as driver's cars.

Nick
 

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For those who don't know :-
Oversteer = When the Back of the Car hits the Wall
Understeer = When the Front of the Car hits the Wall
What often happens with oversteer is the driver succeeds in catching the rear slide with opposite lock. However, the rear end can regain grip and snap back into line quickly. The car now has four wheels all with grip, but the front wheels are now pointing straight to the outside of the bend, and the cars goes off the bend, nose first. It happens all the time to people who aren't expecting it. It's usually more difficult to get the opposite lock off than put it on. Unfortunately Chris Harris makes it all look too easy.

Nick
 

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I fully agree with what you say above, personally I think Skid Control should be included in the UK Driving test !!

Better than the current and draconian approach of building Cars that will not go faster than speed limits, Traction Control that cannot be turned off, etc etc ;)

LOL, all Rally Drivers can drive sideways, I grew up on it, driving an old Ford Anglia at 12 years old round my Dads 6 acres :D

The reason there are so many good Rally Drivers in / from Northern Scotland (way better than me btw), is because they grew up driving on slippery gravel tracks ;)
 

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Some of you might find this useful, although I should point out that a lot of it doesn't apply to older vehicles before anyone else does lol
.....................


and ..............

 
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