The design of new engineering materials resistant to both wear damage and corrosion degradation becomes increasingly demanded in complex service conditions such as biomedical implants, hydraulic systems, nuclear power plants, marine and offshore industries. Unfortunately, many engineering metals are strengthened at the expense of reduced corrosion performance. Superlattice coatings, i.e. metallic multilayers with individual layer thickness below ~ 10 nm, offer great potential to overcome the long-standing dilemma of wear–corrosion resistance trade-off in commercial alloys. In this work, we show that reducing the individual layer thickness of Al/Ti nanostructured metallic multilayers below 5 nm dramatically improves their strength, wear and corrosion resistance. Advanced material characterization and computational models are coupled to understand the roles of key microstructural parameters on wear and corrosion resistance.