The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive Technology

Daniel Mwangi
7 Min Read
Image of Subaru Impreza Sport 1.6i AWD

The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive Technology

Understanding Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system (i-AWD) is an advanced technology that offers superior traction compared to traditional all-wheel drive systems. The i-AWD system uses a network of sensors and algorithms to continuously monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, driving conditions, and driver input. This makes it more responsive and efficient.

Unlike standard AWD systems, which rely solely on mechanical components to distribute power between the front and rear axles, i-AWD can dynamically adjust torque distribution between all four wheels to ensure maximum grip and stability. By monitoring various factors, including wheel speed, vehicle speed, steering angle, and throttle position, the i-AWD system can allocate torque precisely where it is needed.

By EurovisionNim - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Automotive Technology in Enhancing Performance

The i-AWD system includes several technologies and sensors that enhance its overall performance.

One such technology is the torque vectoring system. It can independently regulate the amount of torque delivered to each wheel in real-time, improving handling and stability during cornering. The system can also adapt to a variety of different driving conditions and terrains, such as snow, mud, sand, and gravel, to provide optimal traction and stability.

Some sensors used by the i-AWD system include wheel speed sensors, yaw rate sensors, steering angle sensors, and brake pressure sensors. These sensors work together to detect changes in vehicle movement, and send that information to the i-AWD control module. The module then adjusts the power delivered to each wheel accordingly.

Overall, the i-AWD system provides drivers with superior handling and traction, improved stability, and better fuel efficiency. By continuously adapting to changing driving conditions, i-AWD ensures that the vehicle is always operating at peak performance.

Advantages of Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

  1. Better traction: i-AWD can offer superior traction and handling compared to standard AWD or 4WD systems.
  2. Improved fuel efficiency: i-AWD can offer better fuel efficiency compared to 4WD systems by reducing unnecessary power to the rear wheels.
  3. Enhanced safety: i-AWD can improve safety by providing increased stability and traction in slippery or uneven conditions.
  4. Increased agility: Due to its torque vectoring capabilities, i-AWD can offer enhanced agility and manoeuvrability.
  5. Intelligent: The i-AWD system is designed to be more responsive and adapt to different driving conditions. This aids in providing better performance and ease of use.

Disadvantages of Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

  1. Higher cost: i-AWD is generally more expensive than standard AWD or 4WD systems. This is due to the increased complexity of the system.
  2. Increased maintenance: The i-AWD system is more complex and requires additional maintenance compared to standard AWD or 4WD systems.
  3. Limited off-road capabilities: While i-AWD can adapt to different terrains, it may not be as capable as a dedicated 4WD system in extreme off-road conditions.
  4. Potential reliability issues: With more sensors and electronic components, the i-AWD system may be more prone to reliability issues and failures.

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive Vs Standard AWD or 4WD

By Vauxford - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

When compared to standard AWD or 4WD systems, i-AWD offers the benefits of improved fuel efficiency, increased safety, and enhanced agility. However, it comes at a higher cost and requires additional maintenance.

While i-AWD can adapt to different driving conditions, it may not offer the same off-road capabilities as a dedicated 4WD system. Overall, i-AWD is a good choice for those who prioritise handling and manoeuvrability, and are willing to pay a premium for the technology.

Carmakers And Brands Offering Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

Audi – Audi’s Quattro system is one of the leaders in intelligent all-wheel drive technology. It is available across a range of Audi vehicles, from the A3 to the Q7.

BMW – BMW offers intelligent all-wheel drive under the xDrive name. It is available on several models including the 3 Series, X3, and X5.

Ford – Ford’s iAWD system is called Intelligent 4WD, and it is an available option on several models. These include the Escape, Edge, and Explorer.

Honda – Honda offers i-AWD under the Real Time AWD name. It is available on several models including the CR-V, HR-V, and Pilot.

Mazda – Mazda offers i-AWD under the i-ACTIV AWD name. It is available on several models including the CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9.

Mercedes-Benz – Mercedes’ 4MATIC system is a type of i-AWD that is available on several models. These models include the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class.

Mitsubishi – Mitsubishi’s i-AWD system is called S-AWC, and it is available on several models, including the Outlander and Outlander Sport.

Nissan – Nissan offers i-AWD under the name Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. It is available on several models including the Altima, Murano, and Rogue.

Subaru – Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is a type of i-AWD. It is standard on most of their vehicles, including the Impreza, Legacy, and Outback.

Toyota – Toyota offers i-AWD under the name Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive. It is available on several models including the RAV4, Highlander, and Sienna.

By OSX - Own work, Public Domain,

Improving Overall Efficiency

These i-AWD systems use a range of technologies, such as torque vectoring, sensors, and algorithms to provide enhanced traction, stability, and manoeuvrability. Additionally, i-AWD can help improve fuel efficiency, as the system can direct power to the wheels that need it most, reducing unnecessary power to the rear wheels and improving overall efficiency.

Overall, i-AWD is becoming an increasingly popular feature in modern cars, with many automakers recognizing its benefits for drivers across a range of vehicle segments and driving conditions.

Share this Article
Leave a comment