Volkswagen 4MOTION tested on ice

Volkswagen 4MOTION tested on ice

In 2003, Volkswagen first offered a 4-wheel drive van to the New Zealand market. Today, some 15 years later, the star of the show at a recent Australian drive event at New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground was the Volkswagen Crafter 4MOTION van.

Volkswagen origins of 4-wheel drive vehicles can be traced right back to 1946, where the Beetle was produced in a limited form with 4-wheel drive, albeit available in first gear only. After years of research and development, Volkswagen 4MOTION platform is now available to the masses. The Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground in Cardrona was the chosen location by Volkswagen to highlight 4MOTION’s ice capabilities. The cars on hand included the upcoming T‑Roc compact SUV in 140kW TSI, the Golf R, the Tiguan 162kW TSI SUV, the Passat Alltrack 140kW TDI wagon, the Arteon, the new Touareg large SUV 210kW V6S, the Amarok Aventura 580Nm and the large Crafter van MWB TDI 410Nm.


Driving cars on ice highlights how each car is set up to suit its intended purpose, and it also highlights the role of stability control with all-wheel drive. Without stability control, it can prove to be a challenge to get a car sideways. But with stability control, it’s almost impossible to induce oversteer.

4MOTION, explained.

4MOTION is Volkswagen’s permanent all-wheel drive system, which offers great grip on the toughest roads and in the worst weather conditions, come rain, snow, wind or hail. So, however treacherous the road surface, you get a sure-footed car with huge levels of traction.

It also comes as a great benefit for those who often drive on country roads or hilly terrain (farmers and construction workers especially). 4MOTION ensures that the vehicle does not slip or lose control at any point. It constantly monitors driving conditions and reacts to the slightest wheel slip, delivering extra traction to the wheels with the most grip.

How does 4MOTION work?

The smaller differences in rotational speed, that happen when cornering or manoeuvring, have to be balanced to stop torsional stresses in the drivetrain. And the differential must be able to work with the car’s other active safety systems such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP). In order to meet all these different demands, we offer our all-wheel drive system in two different variants, the Haldex Type and Torsen Differential.

Haldex Type: The current Haldex Type permanent 4MOTION is in its fifth generation and uses an electronically controlled multiplate clutch. Its special feature is that the distribution of traction to all four wheels is already active before slip occurs. This almost entirely eliminates any loss of traction. The all-wheel drive system normally directs the drive torque to the front axle. If necessary, the rear wheels are engaged in a fraction of a second, dealing swiftly with potentially dangerous or difficult driving conditions.

Torsen (TORque-SENsing) Differential: The Touareg and Amarok are equipped with permanently engaged four-wheel drive. On these models, the Torsen mechanical self-locking centre differential enables asymmetric dynamic torque distribution between the front and rear axles. It responds to varying rotational forces between the front and rear axle, sending torque between them as needed.

Volkswagen models with 4MOTION.

In New Zealand, 4MOTION is available across the entire Volkswagen range, except for the Polo and the Caddy.

For passenger models, that includes derivatives of the Golf, Arteon and Passat, and SUVs like the new T‑Roc (due early 2020), Tiguan and Touareg. While for Commercial Vehicles, it’s the Amarok, Crafter, California, Multivan, Caravelle and Transporter.

Translated to sales, 48 per cent of the passenger and SUV car range feature 4MOTION, while 66 per cent of the sales of commercial vehicles are 4MOTION.

If you would like to experience the capability of any of our 4MOTION vehicles for yourself, please contact us at or call 0224181546.

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