In 1900, the Lohner-Porsche with electric motors in each wheel hub was the first all-wheel drive car in the world.

All-wheel drive (AWD) for roadgoing cars may seem like an idea which appeared in recent decades (Audi’s quattro system having been introduced in the early 1980s) but 118 years ago, it was already invented by Ferdinand Porsche. The system was used in the Lohner-Porsche, a racing car with electric motors behind each wheel.

Since then, the drivetrain has been revisited again and again, enhanced, and has been a feature of various Porsche models for 30 years. It’s known as Porsche Traction Management (PTM) and the latest generation of the system is a used in the 911 Carrera 4, 911 Targa 4 and 911 Turbo, the Cayenne and the Macan, as well as most Panamera models.

The principle philosophy for any Porsche with active PTM is the same: Enhanced driving dynamics, improved driving safety, increased traction for an even sportier driving experience. It distributes drive torque between the front and rear axles actively and very quickly. Permanent monitoring of driving status means PTM can be actively pre-set to respond to different driving situations. For example, sensors continuously monitor the speeds of all four wheels, the longitudinal and lateral acceleration of the vehicle, as well as the steering angle.

By evaluating all sensor data, it is possible to adjust the distribution of propulsion force to the front axle as quickly and effectively as possible. For example, if the rear wheels are at risk of spinning when accelerating, more propulsion force is transmitted forwards. On bends, however, propulsion force is distributed to the front wheels only to the extent that lateral support of the tyres on the front axle is not negatively impacted. The advantage of PTM is most evident in wet and snowy conditions.