The Amazing World of Four Wheel Drive

by Leo O., Age 12 , Grade 7, St. Francis of Assisi, Louisville, KY USA
Teacher: Ms. Reinhart

            So many cars, trucks, SUVs, and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) these days use four wheel drive, also called 4x4 (four wheels x four wheel drive). Four wheel drive comes in many different forms, from supercars that use computers to measure the car’s status to decide how much power goes to each wheel to the 4x4 that gives trucks and Land Rovers the ability to tackle mud, snow, and anything else.

            Lots of car companies use four wheel drive. Audi use a squadron of computers in their cars to control their four wheel drive, called Quattro. Mini uses All4. BMW use XDrive. Alfa Romeo use Quadrifoglio. Along with these, Mercedes, Porsche, and Lamborghini also have four wheel drive to give their cars better handling. Most contain gyroscopes and computers to measure cornering speed, steering input, and g-force. They also use computers to track where the car will go on the corner. In addition the computers decide how much power and torque should go to each wheel at any given time. This helps with understeer or oversteer while cornering. Understeer is when, on Rear Wheel Drive cars, to turn the steering wheel all the way really fast and the car doesn’t turn. Oversteer is when, on Front Wheel Drive cars, the steering wheel is turned all the way and the back wheels slide around.

            Ford, in their trucks, SUVs, and in the illusive Ford GT, use four wheel drive. Ford’s F-150 has been the bestselling pickup since it came out 41 years ago. Land Rovers are also luxurious, yet they have insane capabilities. Land Rovers disconnect the anti-rollbars, dissipate the power and torque, alter the ride height, and have a Terrain Response system. But Mercedes have a vehicle to crush any other off roader, the Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6. Land Rovers are close. But this one is better in the great outdoors than its twin brother, the G55 AMG 4x4 and not just because it has 531 horsepower or 5 differential positions.

            If you like good handling or good off road capabilities, consider getting a vehicle with four wheel drive. They are safer in snow, have better handling on the track, and are more fun when you decide to leave the roads behind.

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