We often come across vehicles with flashy 4×4 badges here and there and many of us ‘non-automobile’ people often wonder what it probably means. While in layman terms, a 4×4 (4 by 4) vehicle is simply referred to as a ‘4wd’ or a ‘4 wheel drive’ vehicle but there’s actually more than this.
A drivetrain (the system in a motor vehicle which connects the transmission to the drive axles) is usually represented by a naming term ‘AxB’ wherein ‘A’ refers to the total number of hubs/wheels on a vehicle (4 in case of a car) and ‘B’ refers to the number of live (engine driven) hubs in the vehicle (2 in case of a normal passenger car).
For instance, a 4×2 configuration vehicle is a two-axle vehicle with power going to just one of the axles or simply only two of the four wheel positions are powered by the engine.
So, going by this nomenclature, a 4×4 is a two-axle vehicle with both the axles powered by the engine or simply, all four of the wheel positions are engine powered. Seen in SUVs and off-road vehicles.
Similarly, a 6×2 configuration is a three-axle vehicle with power going to just one of the axles or simply only two of the six wheel positions are powered by the engine. Normally seen in a truck.
Therefore a 6×6 is a three-axle vehicle with all axles being engine powered. As seen on Mercedes Benz G63 6×6.
Next time you see a vehicle with a configuration badge on it, you’ll surely be able to recognize the drivetrain on it.