Many people have a misconception regarding AWDs and 4 wheel drives. It is commonly considered that AWD technology is the same as 4 wheel drive. Remember that both are different in terms of the individual wheel controls and power supplied to the axles. The 4 wheel drive technology can only be used in automobiles with four wheels; whereas, AWD may be used in trucks, carriers and other vehicles which have multiple axles and many wheels. In an AWD system, there is a center differential which provides power to front and rear axles separately. On the other hand, in a car with a 4WD system, the front to the rear axles are locked with a transfer case.
2011 Audi R8 Spyder
Well, granted this car, priced at $128,950, isn’t for everyone. But it definitely deserves attention from everyone. This 6-speed demon is one of the best sports cars around that’s intended for all weathers, including snow. You get to choose between a 430-bhp V8 or 525-bhp V10 and it comes with the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive-system.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is probably the best all wheel drive sports car around. The AWD system of this car reacts to the driver’s power and handling requirements significantly. It is backed up by a powerful 2 liter 291-horsepower turbocharged engine. It comes at a base price of $35,290. You also have the base Mitsubishi Lancer that comes with its 152-bhp 4-cylinder engine at $16,090.
2012 Acura TL SH-AWD
This luxury sports sedan has a 305 horsepower, V6 engine which is powerful and responsive. The ‘SH’ in the name is short for ‘super handling’, which is true owing to the car’s AWD technology. It also has a voice-activated audio system that lets you select songs by speaking to the system. What the car does seem to lack, is efficiency and on-board components that you get in other cars in the AWD category. Starts at a base price of $39,155.
Although this car has a 3.7-liter V6 engine (compared to the V8 on other cars), it still gives substantial acceleration and efficient handling with the AWD. It is incorporated with an ‘active torque split’ AWD system that is controlled by the computer. It’s the most affordable midsize SUV and still ends up looking great. Starts at a base price of $28,336.
2012 Subaru Impreza
A perfect example of why smaller numbers aren’t always weaker. The car is downgraded to 148 horsepower from its previous 170, but is still faster due to the new variable automatic transmission. The body is lightweight and durable. It is a great choice if you’re looking for an all wheel drive with all-weather driving capability. Its only problem is its fine tuned suspension, that may put off some people who won’t be comfortable driving the Impreza in tough conditions. Tagged at a base price of $17,495.
2011 Buick LaCrosse
In two words – comfort and silence. This is one all wheel drive vehicle that comes with both, power and stability. It also comes in a front wheel drive version, with the all wheel drive boasting of a 280-bhp V6 and a base price of $27,990.
Other All-Wheel-Drive Sports Cars and SUVs
Here are more all wheel drive cars for you to choose from.
Infiniti G37x AWD
Volvo V50 T5 AWD
Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport AWD
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
BMW 335i xDrive
Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic
Toyota Land Cruiser
Infiniti EX35 w/Journey AWD
BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon
Cadillac CTS w/AWD
Knowing the detailed working of the all wheel drive technology can be interesting. Considering the benefits of using AWD systems in vehicles, car manufacturers have started offering optional AWD models to consumers. However, you also have to pay extra for buying an AWD car. Nowadays, along with AWD, cars also have other effective handling systems such as power steering and anti-lock braking systems.