The Top All-Wheel-Drive Systems For Alberta Winters!

November 14th, 2022 by

Mercedes Duo

Acura SH-AWD

If there was an over-achiever of AWD systems, for Alberta winters, this would be at the top of our list! Acura’s SH-AWD system is a true performer!

SH-AWD stands for Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Yes, it lives up to its name!

According to Acura, it was the first AWD system to use its rear differential to control power distribution not only front to rear, but also side to side at the rear wheels. SH-AWD can send up to 70% of the engine’s power to the rear wheels, and 100% of that rear-driven torque to just one rear wheel if needed. Now that’s amazing!

It can then further accelerate the vehicle’s outside rear wheel in turns, generating additional turning force — essentially using the rear wheels to steer the vehicle.

SH-AWD accomplishes this with a trick torque-vectoring rear differential that contains two multi-plate clutches that can distribute torque individually to the left and right rear wheels.

Instead of waiting for a wheel to slip, SH-AWD monitors the driver’s steering and throttle inputs, wheel speed, and cornering forces (lateral g and yaw) to proactively begin redistributing power to enhance cornering performance.

Lucky for you, House of Cars carries plenty of Acura models with SH-AWD. Check them out here!

Audi Quattro

It’s Quattro season! Long have driving enthusiasts proclaimed that Audi’s Quattro AWD system is the best of the best, and we have to agree! If Acura’s SH-AWD is the high school valedictorian of AWD systems, then Audi’s quattro would be its tenured professor! Quattro has years of history and experience, making it a legend!

Audi’s quattro system was tested and proven in rally car racing in the 80s and is credited with helping popularize AWD systems across the globe.

So it’s no surprise that Audi is second to none when it comes to the AWD systems it offers. Each quattro system is specifically tailored to the vehicle that it’s found on, and all of them are extremely capable!

Most of these models use an Audi-designed Torsen system, which is a permanent AWD system. This means all four wheels receive power 100% of the time, providing outstanding grip compared to many other systems that operate only in two-wheel drive mode until a wheel slips.

Most importantly, Audi went to great lengths to ensure this quattro system can handle high power output and extreme levels of abuse, making it one of the most durable AWD systems on the market. Yes, it’s also suitable for off-roading.

Shop House of Cars’ inventory of Audis, with Quattro all-wheel drive.

BMW xDrive

The Germans are great at manufacturing some of the world’s best all-wheel-drive platforms, which is why BMW is at the top of our list.

BMW’s xDrive system reacts very quickly to wheel slippage and its multi-plate clutch system is tenacious with a very high clutch torque capacity, enabling the system to effectively transfer power between the axles, even in more challenging situations.

In addition, xDrive is proactive, constantly monitoring driver inputs to vary torque distribution to improve handling and stability, and can revert to rear-wheel drive on many models to enhance cornering performance.

BMW also offers the torque-vectoring M Sport Differential on M models for enhanced cornering performance over the standard xDrive system.

For Alberta winters, BMW xDrive will conquer all!

Check out House of Cars’ inventory of BMW vehicles equipped with xDrive all-wheel-drive!

Mercedes Benz 4MATIC

The 4MATIC system from Mercedes is another truly superb brand and also on our list of reamended AWD systems. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering Mercedes-Benz has a long history of making 4WD and AWD vehicles, from the military-grade G-Wagons to the advanced systems found on its vehicles today.

Mercedes features different 4MATIC systems specifically tailored to the vehicle that it’s found on. Mercedes SUVs in particular have very capable 4MATIC AWD systems. You can find videos on YouTube of Mercedes SUVs climbing 100% grades (that’s a 45-degree angle).

For comparison, most AWD systems will have difficulty (or will completely fail) climbing a 60% grade. And if that hill is covered in ice or anything slippery, many won’t even make it up a 30% grade.

So if you want a vehicle with an AWD system that can practically scale a wall and look classy doing it, the Mercedes 4MATIC system is a good choice.

Shop a selection of 4Matic equipped vehicles at House of Cars today!

Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

As a car company, Subaru has always been a top-contender. Subaru positions the entire drivetrain in the middle of the car, enabling the system to have a symmetrical construction, and can distribute power evenly to all four wheels when needed.

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system varies significantly depending on the car, and is tailored to that car’s specific intended purpose. Unsurprisingly, Subaru’s performance-oriented DCCT system found on the WRX STi offers a rearward bias and tenacious grip.

The systems found on the Outback, Legacy, Forester and Ascent are fantastic, due to their construction and versatility. But you can’t go wrong with any Subaru system as they are all extremely well engineered.

That’s because Subaru’s systems, like the other systems here, have very great hardware and software to keep power distributing to all four wheels. Subaru’s available X Mode system is one of the most well-designed traction management systems out there, optimizing the operation of the AWD system depending on the situation, and gives Subarus with this feature impressive off-road capability.

Check out our Subaru inventory, equipped with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, now!

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