The Actros returns to the Transport Info circuit equipped with the OM 470, Euro 6D engine. This variant of the Germanic maxi code is geared towards moderate charge rates without however sacrificing versatility. Sober and high-tech, the futuristic world of Mercedes Benz is in our hands.
Since 2018, the Actros has chosen to stand out with its use of cutting-edge technologies. For now, it stands out from the competition with its cameras instead of mirrors. It also offers the advantage of being able to disconnect some of its systems to fully appreciate the performance of its driveline. Because today's Actros MP5 is first and foremost a 10.7-liter engine and optimized driveline. The driveline still uses the Powershift 3 robotic gearbox. Without being the most responsive around, it doesn't like being rushed and encourages you to drive in a relaxed manner. This is how she delivers the best result with great discretion when changing. Coupled with the 2200 Nm of engine torque, it maintains the speeds between 1000 and 1300 revolutions for each report, not hesitating to go down to 900 revolutions in certain situations (flat, recovery …), which remains surprising for this type of displacement.
With 40 tons of PTR, the acceleration is not lightning but sufficiently sustained. The momentum is continuous in relatively appreciable comfort. The reverse occurs on hills where the capabilities of the OM 470 block are recalled at the transmission. When ascending the pass, "the 9e"Cannot be kept (40km / h at 1000 revs) and it is finally" in eight and at about 1800 revs "that I pass the usual mark. The revs are very high at this time, but the pace goes up to 44km / h. The running noise is bound to increase inside the cockpit and gives me the impression that the Actros is in "the rough" right now. I try to manually switch to higher gear which does not last long before the computer returns to its initial choice and downshifts. There is a real difference on this point with the OM 471 tested previously, but two liters of displacement separate these two blocks, in addition to different axle ratios.
Comfort driving undeniable
For the descent, the additional retarder (Voith) with 5 positions allows (programming or manual) to stabilize the pace with a maximum load. It is a must in terms of safety, whatever the type of transport … On the rest of the route, the 1846 is comfortable, I circulate on a net of gas and the RCEA is favorable to the economy fuel. In action, the German tractor shows great advances such as greatly improved visibility: without mirrors on the outside, blind spots disappear. The very low waistline also plays an important role with side windows that increase the view down to the sides. The driving position is relatively pleasant and the general ergonomics well thought out. The very precise steering immediately gives you confidence and "the feeling" is reliable as to the position on the road. With the flat floor, there is plenty of room for the feet, as can be the case with an engine cover.. I appreciate the flexibility and comfort of the suspensions as well as the improving sound environment in my opinion.
The regulator predictive is bluffing
To support the driver, the Actros offers several new aids such as the latest generation predictive controller (PPC). Its setting is sequential (turn, relief, approach to intersection) and makes it possible to determine the speed tolerances in relation to the programmed cruising speed. Activated automatically with the activation of the regulator, it is undoubtedly the most surprising of the on-board systems today. It certainly embodies what semi-autonomous driving is. I just have to hold the wheel and follow my path without touching any pedals. This step marks a change in the practice of traditional driving. The PPC accelerates or not, depending on the terrain but also when approaching bends and slows down upstream on roundabouts and other intersections. All this according to the rules of the art of rational driving and the application of physical laws (momentum, kinetic energy …).
It works, the truck is moving forward, downshifting, and throttling at the right time. Capable of initiating a roundabout and stop-sign approach without going to a complete stop, it takes into account the signaling and in particular the regulatory speed (a reminder of the limitations is present on the central screen). I focus on traffic and other users in particular. I only take control of a few situations (intersections with compulsory stops, traffic in roundabouts, etc.). Bluffing. I still remain attentive, because driving on a secondary road with the regulator engaged is not yet familiar to me. I would add that the GPS connection can sometimes be interrupted bringing the truck back to a standard situation. Coupled with the executive assistant (A.D.A), autonomy is at this point almost total.
News outlook in terms of security
The horizontal signs guide the truck as if it were on a rail. Spectacular, this additional assistance seems judicious to me on the motorway where deviations can be frequent. I feel the firmness of the steering wheel which resists when I drift slightly. The course is maintained, although I have sometimes noticed an imprecision in my positioning: a collapse between a factory setting and my personal feelings, no doubt. The rear surveillance now goes through the famous "MirrorCams" which I easily get used to. The materialization of the safety distance when I pass is an asset and this equipment opens up new perspectives for safety. However, I still have difficulty in accurately assessing the speed differential with other riders coming from behind. The cockpit is in line with the on-board technology. Composed of screens, I have a soft spot for this digital presentation and the ease of use of touch that goes with it.
Getting behind the wheel of the Actros with its multimedia cockpit is essential to perceive the revolutionary changes initiated by the star brand. Feeling the steering wheel steer the vehicle alone and watching the drivetrain manage the pace on all types of road without touching a pedal is a unique experience. The driving offered by Mercedes-Benz provides a certain education for drivers in many situations and allows this 1846 to perform well at the end of this test. Less comfortable with the relief than its predecessor (1851), it targets other customers with targeted needs and general transport.
Essay by Étienne Bayon
All the pictures © Wilfried-Antoine Desveaux