Mercedes-Benz CL550 4MATIC

The CL550, the premium-luxury coupe from Mercedes-Benz, is getting standard-equipment 4MATIC all-wheel drive for 2009. As modern all-wheel-drive systems become even more refined, they are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the luxury car market. With negligible gas mileage tradeoffs, full-time AWD systems provide year-round traction and stability benefits on both wet and dry roads.

Identified by new 18-inch wheels with a distinctive seven-split-spoke design, the 2009-model CL550 4MATIC also comes with new standard equipment that includes heated and active ventilated front seats and the Keyless-Go system. Many CLs are ordered with the optional AMG sport package, which includes deeper front and rear aprons, AMG side sills and 19-inch five-spoke AMG wheels.

For 2009, all CL models receive new gear shift paddles on the steering wheel, push-pull power window switches and a Hold convenience braking feature. The many benefits of the optional radar-based Distronic Plus system now include Blind Spot Assist, which monitors blind spots on both sides of the car and warns the driver whenever a turn signal is activated while a vehicle is in the blind spot.

The optional Distronic Plus system now includes Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots and warns the driver whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot. The latest radar-based Distronic Plus also incorporates Park Assist, which utilizes six radar sensors mounted behind the front and rear bumpers – eliminating the need for the visible “portholes” of the previous ultrasonic-based system. At low speeds, thee system scans available parking spaces and displays a “P“ in the dash if the car will fit in the space. When reverse gear is engaged, the parking system superimposes guidance lines on the rear-view camera display, and the guidance lines actually change with steering input to make parking easier.

The latest 4MATIC system features a state-of-the-art full-time all-wheel-drive system that's integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission. The system fits right into the standard CL body and utilizes the existing front suspension (gone are the special parts and wider transmission tunnel that were necessary on earlier 4MATIC systems). The extra gears and shafts that drive the front wheels now weigh only 145 pounds more than the rear-wheel-drive model.

The full-time four-wheel-drive system used in Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC cars and all sport utilities features a center differential that can vary front-to-rear torque distribution for great on-road handling, not to mention stellar traction. The CL550 4MATIC comes with a planetary gear set within the center differential that begins with 45-55 percent front-to-rear torque distribution. To skilled drivers, this rear-bias all-wheel-drive system feels much like rear-wheel-drive cars, in which subtle throttle-steering effects can enhance handling, especially in spirited driving. In addition, the system includes innovative four-wheel electronic traction control that keeps the vehicle going even if only one wheel has traction.

Like the S-Class sedan, the CL550 4MATIC coupe comes with a multi-plate clutch tucked into the center differential that provides the extra traction benefits of a limited-slip diff while complementing its four-wheel traction control. Often called a “breakaway” clutch, the multi-plate unit helps provide power equally to the front and rear wheels when driving straight ahead, but still allows the front wheels to rotate faster in turns. While four-wheel traction control reacts after wheel slippage is sensed, the clutch helps prevent slippage.

Source: Mercedes- Benz press

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz CL550 4MATIC