Technology & Competence

MAN HydroDrive®

MAN HydroDrive®

Ultimately, haulage companies’ key concern is to arrive safely and on time, even if the road conditions are less than ideal. Between the conventional rear-axle drive and classic all-wheel drive, MAN offers the innovative HydroDrive® hydrostatic front-axle drive, providing greater traction for road vehicles that occasionally need to travel off-road. MAN is the only manufacturer on the market to offer a HydroDrive® system both for vehicles with manual transmission and for those with an automatic gearbox.

When compared with a vehicle with conventional all-wheel drive, the HydroDrive® system is up to 750 kilograms lighter and uses less fuel. In addition, a powered front axle provides extra lateral guidance – an important safety aspect to consider in winter.

The driver decides for themselves whether HydroDrive® should provide additional power automatically or if they want to switch the system on whenever additional traction is required.



Instant traction

MAN HydroDrive® is the perfect drive for applications with occasional off-road sections and situations where increased traction at the front axle is required. Vehicles with MAN HydroDrive® are primarily road vehicles that are equipped with hydrostatic front-axle drive to extend their scope of use in terms of available functions.

Examples of typical driving situations where MAN HydroDrive® can be switched on include:

  • Unsurfaced roads, such as country lanes and construction sites
  • Slippery subsurfaces, such as sludge, ice and snow
  • Route profiles with hilly topography

MAN HydroDrive® display
MAN HydroDrive® central display

Rotary switch for MAN HydroDrive®
Rotary switch for MAN HydroDrive®

MAN HydroDrive®

The hydrostatic front-axle drive can also be switched on using the rotary switch when the loaded vehicle is in motion. It switches off automatically when the vehicle reaches a driving speed of approx. 28 km/h. If the speed drops below 23 km/h, it automatically switches back on. When the MAN HydroDrive® is active, an indicator light shows on the driver’s display.

With MAN HydroDrive®, a hydropump on the gearbox output supplies the wheel hub drives at the front axle. This ingeniously simple, robust and maintenance-friendly technology is comparable with the conventional rear-axle drive in terms of fuel consumption and wear, and offers a range of advantages over the classic all-wheel drive. The distributor gearbox, a typical feature of the classic all-wheel drive, is no longer required where hydrostatic wheel drives are used. In addition, with MAN HydroDrive®, only the rear wheels are powered in road traffic, and no friction is produced by the hydropumps or wheel drives. In contrast, with the all-wheel drive, the transmission elements of the front-axle drive continue to turn, even when they are switched off.

The advantages of the MAN HydroDrive®:

  • More favourable fuel consumption
  • Weight or payload advantage of roughly 750 kg when compared to the classic all-wheel drive
  • The vehicle does not need to be tall: the overall height and centre of gravity of the road vehicle remain the same
  • Greater driving safety thanks to improved traction and directional stability on unsurfaced roads and in wintry road conditions
  • Transfer of engine braking action to the front axle during coasting which leads to improved distribution of braking forces