Not long after Audi announced it has produced the 8th millionth car equipped with quattro all wheel drive system, Volvo makes also an important announcement. The Swedish manufacturer is celebrating 20 years of mechanical All­Wheel Drive (AWD) by putting some of its most capable cars through their paces on the frozen lakes around the Northern Swedish ski resort of Are.

As AWD technology has advanced, the weight of mechanical systems has come down and efficiency has improved. Since the introduction of efficient ‘Active On Demand’ technology, all four wheels are always engaged to allow for the instant distribution of torque to the rear wheels when needed. 

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The actual torque applied is controlled to constantly deliver the right properties regarding handling, stability and traction at any moment. Volvo Cars’ current mechanical AWD system is modular in design and used on all Volvo models.

All­Wheel Drive variants account for over 50 per cent of new 90 Series car orders for the Swedish carmaker. Across the wider Volvo Cars model range, the figure is over 40 per cent.

The first AWD Volvo car to go into serial production was the Volvo 850 Estate, launched in May 1996 with the 2.5l turbocharged I5T engine developing 193 hp and a five­speed manual transmission.