Contrary to popular belief, All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) are completely separate systems. They’re similar in the fact that they optimize driving dynamics, but the overall functionality of each is what sets them apart. Our staff at BMW of Birmingham is here to tell you the basics as you explore new transportation.

  • An AWD system is most common in sedans, performance cars, and small SUVs. This system is always "on," meaning it constantly optimizes your drive. AWD sends power to all four wheels, implementing traction and stability between the tires and the road.
  • A 4WD system, on the other hand, is prevalent in large SUVs and trucks. This is because it’s most effective when off-roading and hauling heavy loads. 4WD also provides power to all four wheels, but it does so via the two differentials and transfer case.
  • Whereas AWD is always "on," 4WD systems are either full-time or on-demand. The latter is usually accompanied with a standard Two-Wheel Drive system, and 4WD can be manually switched on as needed.

If you’re looking for additional traction in your everyday commutes or off-road excursions, choosing an All-Wheel Drive or Four-Wheel Drive vehicle is your best bet. Contact our dealership in Irondale, AL today for more assistance.

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