Top-range Mercedes-Benz safety technology gets heavy
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Eight hours after a group of Mercedes-Benz Truck engineers walk off a plane from Germany, one of them walks straight into the path of a massive Mercedes-Benz Arocs truck, thundering down the Hampton Downs straight at 50km/h.
“Our slogan is ‘Safety, it’s in our DNA”, he says, just as the five-tonne truck comes to a standstill, mere metres in front of him.
His confidence comes from new safety systems Mercedes-Benz Trucks has just rolled out across it’s heavy Actros Distribution transport range — technology that not so long ago was reserved exclusively for Mercedes’ flagship cars.
The updated safety credentials of the Actros Distribution now includes Electronic Braking System, Stability Control Assist and Traction Control and includes Active Brake Assist 4, which automatically performs emergency braking for most obstacles, including pedestrians.
Five years ago these features were found only on Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan, but in 2018 the technology is available across all Daimler's brands from the smallest A-Class hatch, all the way up to the largest the Actros Distribution Truck range.
Daimler Truck and Bus New Zealand’s senior manager, Pieter Theron said the company added Active Brake Assist 4 as standard on all new 2019 trucks because they are often used in suburban areas and congested cities.
“The Actros is a very safe truck with a strong cab and a long list of safety features, but we have gone a step further with the Actros Distribution range,” said Theron.
“To have a truck that can automatically perform emergency braking for objects such as cars, and even begin braking for pedestrians, is of immense value to the driver, the fleet operator and other road users, especially
in the highly populated areas where many of these trucks will operate.”
Theron stressed that safety technology not only affected truck drivers, other road users and pedestrians, but also transport companies’ bottom line.
“The real cost of ownership not only includes fluid consumption, uptime and reliability,” he said. “Accidents, injuries and ultimately driver retention, need to be accounted for, too.”
Targeted at the metro market, the 18- to 26-tonne models also feature improved fuel economy, reduced AdBlue consumption and new levels of comfort and refinement.
All Distribution models meet the Euro 6 standard, which requires trucks emit 99 per cent less particulate matter and 97 per cent less nitrogen oxides than Euro 5 allowed. Mercedes-Benz say these improvement can equate to a saving of $800,000 on fuel and AdBlue over a 100-unit fleet, in five years.
“The highway-focused range of new generation Mercedes-Benz trucks has been extremely successful in New Zealand and our customers love them.” says Theron.
“Now we are excited to introduce the new generation Actros Distribution models that will deliver new levels of comfort, efficiency and safety for our customers on shorter runs.”
Mercedes-Benz developed the range after consulting Kiwi operators about their varied requirements. The range features no less than 10 models, from the 1824L through to the 2643LS, with customers able to choose from 4x2, 6x2 or 6x4 configurations. Mercedes-Benz Distribution models feature new generation 8-litre or 11-litre engines. They feature asymmetric turbocharging as well as X-Pulse high pressure direct injection technology, which both help generate more usable torque and assist with low speed drivability.
They also feature a powerful new engine brake with up to 340kW of power, although a water retarder can increase the available braking force to a total of 750kW. The 8-litre six-cylinder engine is available with either 240hp, 300hp and 350hp, while the 11-litre unit is available with ratings of 400 or 430hp.
Fully automated transmissions are standard across the rigid range, in either eight or 12-speed configurations. They feature faster shifting times and a new creeper gear for low speed work such moving into loading bays.
Mercedes-Benz has developed new cabs and chassis for the rigid range, delivering better stability and road-holding as well as improved refinement and comfort, something we tested first-hand on the skid pad at Hampton Downs.
The new driver-focused interior delivers a big improvement in refinement levels with controls located well within reach, including steering wheel controls.
Mercedes customers can also option up the cabins with interior style packs and are able to choose the wood-look/velour Home Line treatment or the metal-look chrome Style Line treatment.
Truck or luxury sedan? The lines are beginning to blur when it comes to technology and equipment. And that’s good news for road users big and small.