Magic Magnets Give Buick Crossovers AWD Refinement

Drivetrain technology making all-wheel drive lighter, smoother and more responsive 

2013 Buick Encore

Buick’s all-new luxury small crossover, the Encore, features an “Active On-Demand” all-wheel drive system similar to Enclave, which makes its operation imperceptible to the driver. It’s designed to give Encore the fluid drive characteristics and sure-footed traction by using a magnetic charge to engage a clutch at the rear axle preemptively when the vehicle is at rest.

When snow inevitably starts falling over the General Motors Proving Ground in Michigan this winter, Buick engineers will use the conditions to put the finishing touches on the Encore luxury small crossover. It arrives early next year at Crotty Chevrolet Buick in Corry, PA as the brand’s first entry into the burgeoning small crossover segment.

Encore’s “Active On-Demand” all-wheel drive is designed to give the vehicle the fluid drive characteristics and sure-footed traction Buick drivers expect but in a smaller, lighter package. Unlike traditional systems that engage all four drive wheels after slip is detected, Encore uses a magnetic charge to engage a clutch at the rear axle preemptively when the vehicle is at rest because slippage is most likely to occur just as the vehicle begins to move. If no slip is detected, a computer control automatically disengages the preemptive torque to the clutch once the Encore is underway, returning the system to a primarily front-drive operation.

“A Buick all-wheel drive system has to deliver the best traction possible, and it has to do it in a way that’s totally imperceptible to the driver,” said Robert Crotty of Crotty Chevrolet Buick. “Buick has engineered the Encore’s lightweight, responsive and refined system to deliver on the expectations of demanding luxury buyers.”

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