Mercedes-Benz’s Actros, built for long-distance haulage and heavy-duty distribution, was recently voted Truck of the Year for the fifth time by the European commercial automotive press. Here’s a closer look at this technologically advanced German workhorse.
The Actros is available in a broad array of configurations. Its 18- to 33-tonne line of rigids come in 4x2, 6x2, and 6x4 editions and variations thereof, with wheelbases ranging from 3,250 to 6,700 millimetres. Actros tractors come in similar weight ratings and axle/drive offerings with wheelbases of 2,650 to 4,000 mm. All feature rear air bags and either air or steel spring front suspensions.
Mercedes manufactures the Actros with 17 cab variants in two widths. The company refers to its five roof shape options as CompactSpace, ClassicSpace, StreamSpace, BigSpace, and GigaSpace, in order from lowest to highest ceiling. The cab can have a level floor or a 170-mm or 320-mm engine tunnel, depending upon the truck’s engine and drivetrain.
The six-cylinder Euro VI engines available in the Actros come in four displacements: 7.7, 10.7, 12.8, and 15.6 litres. The motors range from 238 to 625 horsepower (175 to 460 kilowatts) and from 1,000 to 3,000 newton-metres of maximum torque. The engines use EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to curb emissions, along with DPF (a diesel particulate filter) and AdBlue DEF (diesel exhaust fluid).
A 12-speed automated gearshift applies engine torque intelligently to the drive wheels. Mercedes’ fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control technology now comes with additional topographical map routes to tell the electronically controlled transmission to use the most efficient gears for the road ahead. A new electronic parking brake comes with a convenient hold function. Available brake-related aids for the Actros include Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking and Stability Control Assist.
Comfort & Convenience
Inside the cab, the Actros presents the driver with a high-resolution, 10.25-inch colour display of digital instruments and gauges. A second screen and control buttons on the steering wheel provide more means of control over the truck’s many features. The lauded MirrorCam system mounted on the A-pillar gives the driver visibility through what is normally a blind spot, as well as a rearward view without the drag associated with an external side mirror. MirrorCam digitally shifts the camera view when the truck is turning or changing lanes. The optional Sideguard Assist feature alerts the driver to objects and people alongside the Actros.
To see and be seen, the truck comes with bi-xenon headlights and LED tail lamps and running lamps. Mercedes-Benz Uptime telematics provides the full gamut of wireless fleet management services. The Actros also enjoys a comprehensive selection of standard and available technologies. These include (but are not limited to) Traffic Sign Assist road sign recognition, Active Drive Assist, Proximity Control Assist to maintain distance from vehicles ahead, Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, “follow-me-home” lighting, and Cornering Assist lights.
Mercedes makes more than one type of Actros. For example, a limited edition of 400 Actros Edition 1 trucks come with special interior design and lighting. The Actros NGT runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) and biogas, featuring a six-speed Allison automatic transmission. The Actros SLT tractor for heavy haulage, meanwhile, is available in chassis configurations of up to 250 tonnes. The SLT uses a Mercedes PowerShift 3 16-speed automated transmission and includes the Wear-free Turbo Retarder Clutch to help keep the heaviest loads under control.