USA had their problems in qualifying but once in the final they showed their sheer class by powering to an emphatic defence of their Olympic title from the tight inside lane.
A quartet of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie proved too strong for Jamaica, anchored by two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, to record a blistering 41.01, the second fastest time in history,
Jamaica, the 2013 and 2015 world champions, had to settle for a second successive Olympic silver - albeit in an impressive 41.36, the fifth fastest time ever posted.
Bronze went to Great Britain, who trimmed 0.04 from their national record set in London last month to register 41.77 and bank their first Olympic medal in this event since the 1984 Olympics.
After their scrappy heat run on Thursday, which only saw them qualify after a protest and a solo re-run, this US made no mistakes as they defied the inconvenience of running in lane one to produce three rock solid exchanges.
Bartoletta, the Olympic and world long jump champion, gave USA a blistering start.
On leg two, Jamaica fought back with the help of double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson, who was up against Felix.
However, it was the third leg which was to prove decisive as a magnificent bend by English Gardner gave USA a clear three-metre advantage from Jamaica, who had the vastly experienced Veronica Campbell-Brown with the baton.
The final leg matched Rio 2016 100m silver medallist Tori Bowie against Fraser-Pryce, the bronze medallist on this occasion, but the gap remained the same as USA – containing half the team with Bartoletta and Felix which won gold and set a world record in this event at the London 2012 Olympics Games – striking gold again, and becoming the first team to win from lane one since the very first time it was held in 1928.
Jamaica followed with an impressive GB quartet of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita completing the medal-winning teams.
Germany were rewarded with fourth in 42.10, 0.02 clear of Trinidad and Tobago, while sixth place was taken by Ukraine, the London bronze medallists, who crossed the line in 42.36.
In a significant footnote to the event, Felix became the first woman in history to win five Olympic athletics gold medals.
The American sprint legend moves one clear of fellow sprinters and compatriot Evelyn Ashford and Sanya Richards-Ross, Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands, Barbel Wockel of the former East Germany and Australian legend Betty Cuthbert.
Steve Landells for the IAAF