What is 4motion? Description and operating principle

What is 4motion? Description and operating principle

4motion is the patented name for all-wheel-drive systems featured on Volkswagen cars. It has been used since 1998. Before then, all-wheel-drive versions were referred to as “Syncro”. An increased off-road capability on rough terrain and loose or slippery surfaces is one of the main advantages of this system.

How it works

Full-time 4motion can be found on vehicles with longitudinal engines. It uses a Torsen limited slip differential. This distributes the engine torque in accordance with the road conditions, transferring the most to the axle with better traction.

An electronically controlled Haldex multi-plate clutch is featured in the on-demand system. In normal conditions, all the torque is distributed only to the front axle. If the front wheels start to slip, the rear wheels are engaged and, for short periods of time, up to 100% of the torque can be distributed to them.

Part-time 4WD is less common. It is activated by the driver and ensures a rigid connection between the front and rear axles. It is designed solely for off-road driving and driving on slippery surfaces.

Volkswagen models equipped with 4motion

Drive typeCars
Full-time with a Torsen differentialPassat B5; Phaeton 3D1, 3D2, 3D3, 3D4, 3D6, 3D7, 3D8, 3D9.
On-demand with a Haldex clutchGolf 1J1, 1K1, 1K5, 5K1; Bora 1J2, 1J6; Passat B6, B7; Tiguan 5N, AD1, BW2.
Part-time 4WDAmarok 2HA, 2HB, S1B, S6B, S7A, S7B.


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