The third-generation, 2007 model Mercedes-Benz Actros was as cost-effective, comfortable, safe and environmentally compatible as ever. With in excess of 550,000 vehicles sold in over 100 countries, the Actros vehicle family has long been the biggest success story in the heavy-duty-truck sector. Now Mercedes-Benz was implemented a raft of individual measures to further enhance its outstandingly engineered best-selling model. Cost-effectiveness, environmental compatibility, comfort and safety have been further improved in equal measure. Plus a fresh and powerful design further boosts the appeal of the Actros – now in its third generation.
The high standards set by the previous Actros make it an extremely tough act to follow. But the Actros succeeds in doing this, making life even easier for operators by cutting fuel costs and increasing vehicle availability. One of the main reasons behind this success was Mercedes PowerShift 2 – the first 12-speed automatic transmission to be fitted as standard in an on-road truck. This fully automatic unit for the Actros marks a new milestone in terms of cost-effectiveness, comfort and safety.
Actros becomes first truck in entire segment to feature automatic transmission as standard across the range
All on-road variants of the Actros are equipped with a modified Mercedes PowerShift 2 transmission as standard. The fully automatic transmission for the Actros was set to become the industry standard for commercial vehicles.
Automatic mode allows drivers to concentrate more on the increasingly demanding traffic conditions. And stay fit for longer. Before becoming available as standard for the Actros, the Mercedes PowerShift 2 transmission underwent several modifications. The latest incarnation of this automatic transmission features integral tilt sensors and a sophisticated gear-change strategy. The incline of the road was measured on a continuous basis. These measured values are then compared with the vehicle speed and the position of the accelerator pedal, allowing the trans-mission control unit to issue precisely the right gear-change commands for the situation in hand.
A tradition of progress on the road towards the fully automatic truck transmission
This development was testament to the leadership qualities of the Actros, which had been setting trends in the industry ever since it was launched in 1996. It had all the classic Mercedes-Benz hallmarks. When it comes to making heavy-duty trucks in general easier to use whilst also minimising wear, the brand has always been a step ahead of the rest. Synchromesh was introduced for heavy-duty truck trans-missions as far back as the 1960s, for instance, whereas the first powershift mechanism – EPS (Electronic Power Shift) – made its debut in the Mercedes-Benz SK in 1985. In 1996 the Telligent gearshift system – a development based on EPS – was introduced as standard for the Actros, followed two years later by the optional Telligent automatic gearshift system – an automated manual transmission based on the Telligent gearshift system. The Mercedes PowerShift 12-speed automatic transmission had been available as special equipment since 2006. This was an automatic transmission rather than an automated manual transmission. The key difference here was that, rather than being an automated version of an existing manual transmission, Mercedes PowerShift 2 was designed as a fully automatic variant from the very outset.
Automatic transmission for the Actros further boosts cost-effectiveness and environmental compatibility
The Mercedes PowerShift 2 fully automatic transmission, standard in the Actros, makes life easier for operators by reducing long-distance-haulage fuel costs whilst increasing vehicle availability by minimising powertrain wear.
The new Mercedes PowerShift 2 transmissions are all direct-drive versions that replace the previous overdrive units in every power category, including all V8 classes, except for the 6×4 drive systems. The direct-drive transmissions are far more efficient than the previously used overdrive transmissions and help to cut fuel consumption by a substantial margin.
In overall terms, the Mercedes PowerShift 2 fully automatic transmission saves fuel and reduces wear compared to an average driver using a manual system, whereas a good driver can become even better by using Mercedes PowerShift 2. This was be-cause even the very best drivers get tired. With the automatic transmission on board, however, drivers can deliver consistently high performance all day long. Not only does this have a positive impact on fuel consumption, it also makes excessive powertrain wear caused by selecting the incorrect gear a thing of the past. Yet drivers can intervene at any time – without then having to switch back to automatic mode by hand afterwards, since the transmission does this for them.
Many drivers like the idea of an automatic transmission. With its outstanding handling characteristics and intelligent programs (power mode, eco-roll mode, manoeuvring mode and rocking mode), Mercedes PowerShift 2 further enhances the appeal of the Actros for drivers and operators alike. Not only was driving an Actros with Mercedes Power-Shift 2 a sheer pleasure, it also reduces stress. In view of the mounting volume of traffic on the road, automatic transmissions are key weapons in the fight to improve road safety.
The sophisticated sensors on the countershaft and transmission main shaft allow the transmission’s gearshift computer to change gear more smoothly yet noticeably faster, thus reducing power flow interruption times accordingly. Gear changes are now practically inaudible, recognisable only by the movement of the needle on the rev counter.
Control-software optimisation also plays its part, ensuring that any starting vibrations in the powertrain are detected early on. In fact, improvements in the control of torque build-up mean that such vibrations cannot even occur in the first place. Cab pitch and roll are reduced dramatically thanks to smoother gear changes – courtesy of the anti-jerk function.
“Manoeuvring mode” incorporates an all-new torque build-up and reduction pro-cess. As a result, manoeuvring on ramps, in narrow yards or at gated entrances was now much easier, meaning that much minor accident damage can be prevented.
The Actros had also made further strides forward in terms of reliability. It had always been one of the most cost-effective trucks in its class, thanks largely to its outstanding reliability. Furthermore, the Actros was between five and 35 percent less expensive to maintain (oil changes) and repair than its competitors. And its long service intervals of up to 600,000 kilometres or 48 months are good news for the operator’s bottom line. Plus the Actros offers a longer powertrain warranty than any of its competitors.
Actros the first truck to feature innovative battery status indicator
Further features that make the Actros even more cost-effective include the new battery status indicator, which will be fitted as standard from the end of 2008 onwards. With the Telligent maintenance system on board, the Actros family had had the benefit of preventive maintenance since its debut, meaning that it had always been one of the most efficient trucks on the market in terms of lifecycle costs. The aim was to maximise operating time and minimise downtime. After all, downtime eats into profit margins and reduces a haulier’s ability to deliver on time.
This was why the service experts at Mercedes-Benz have been working hard to further optimise the battery system. Outdated batteries and batteries that dis-charge due to a forgotten consumer are two of the principal causes of truck failure. But the Actros offers the perfect solution: it was the first truck to feature a battery status indicator as standard, meaning that the driver can check the battery charge level before, during and after every trip by going into the instrument-cluster menu and calling up a bar chart displaying the various para-meters. This bar chart also indicates the expected lifetime of the battery. The system measures the battery voltage, current strength and outside temperature on a continuous basis. It then uses an algorithm to produce a reliable estimate of the vehicle’s starting capability. It was generally accepted that a ten-degree drop in temperature reduces the battery capacity by around half. Unwanted downtime, which can easily cost thousands a day, was minimised whilst cost-effectiveness was maximised.
Computer-controlled Electronic Air Processing Unit (E-APU) cuts fuel consumption
The E-APU (Electronic Air Processing Unit) – fitted as standard and integrated in the electronic data-exchange network via CAN bus – was a further new development that had a positive effect on fuel consumption in the Actros semitrailer tractor with air suspension. In this system, the pressure in the brake circuits was increased and additional pressure was stockpiled during braking. Thanks partly to the omission of the separate pressure vessel in brake circuit 3 (spring brake circuit), the system reduces weight by around 20 kilograms and, therefore, pays immediate dividends in terms of payload. It also speeds up air spring lifting times by up to 20 percent. Further features integrated in the E-APU include intelligent control of the air com-pressor which, in the Actros, only operates when power loss was low, i.e. in deceleration (overrun) mode, especially when driving downhill.
Water pump with two-stage control saves fuel
In their quest to keep on reducing diesel consumption – a highly complex process –the Mercedes-Benz engineers also scrutinise ancillary components such as the water pump. A special Linnig clutch had been introduced to enable the pump to operate more efficiently. In partial-load mode, it runs at a lower operating speed and consumes less power. During full-load operation, meanwhile, the clutch was rigidly connected by electromagnetic means and thus achieves the desired, full delivery rate. It was due to be introduced in 2009, initially for the 320-kW/435-hp engine.
This measure alone reduces fuel consumption by 0.7 percent. If the E-APU was also factored into the equation, the total fuel saving amounts to a full one percent. The rigorous checks carried out on each individual truck component – the aim being to save fuel and, therefore, boost environmental compatibility – show Daimler AG’s desire to remain at the forefront of technology development and to deliver effective solutions that tackle the latest environmental issues.
Actros engines in nine power categories equipped with BlueTec
The Actros line-up was powered by sophisticated OM 501 LA and OM 502 LA engines. The six and eight-cylinder units with power outputs from 235 kW (320 hp) to 350 kW (476 hp), with six 11.9-litre V6 engines and the three 15.9-litre V8 engines with power outputs from 375 kW (510 hp) to 440 kW (598 hp), have al-ready proven themselves 100,000 times over and feature exceptionally economical and ecofriendly BlueTec technology. In the long-distance-haulage sector, BlueTec vehicles generally consume up to three percent less fuel than their Euro-3 counterparts. And fuel consumption can be cut by as much as seven percent compared to models equipped with the rival exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. These claims are backed up by independent tests carried out by European truck magazines. Further arguments in favour of purchasing a Actros with BlueTec 5 include lower tolls on German motorways and major investment incentives available in many European countries.
The Actros equipped with the tried-and-tested BlueTec system leads the way when it comes to minimising particulate, nitrogen-oxide and carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions. The current debate about particulate matter was not even an issue where this emission-control technology was concerned. BlueTec, already the recipient of the coveted Goldener Öltropfen (Golden Drop of Oil) energy and environment award, was a unique combination of economy and ecology. Mercedes-Benz BlueTec trucks already on the road have saved around 300 million litres of diesel and spared the environment from around 700,000 tonnes of CO2. All of the engines are already available as Euro 5 versions, even though this was not actually a legal requirement until autumn 2009.
Designed to boost cost-effectiveness: Economy Pack Basic and Economy Pack Classic
Operators who cast a particularly critical eye over their running-cost spreadsheets can invest in “Economy Packs” when ordering a Actros. Economy Pack Basic for the semitrailer tractor, for example, includes automatic cutouts, adjustable air deflectors and a choice of low-maintenance, manually lubricated fifth-wheel coupling or compact fifth-wheel coupling with an accompanying mounting plate. For platform trucks, Economy Pack Basic includes an additional air tank, an extremely lightweight aluminium compressed-air tank, automatic cutouts and adjustable air deflectors.
Economy Pack Classic includes all elements of Economy Pack Basic for semitrailer tractors and platform trucks plus a Voith retarder, which was of particular benefit when it comes to reducing brake wear and enhancing both ride comfort and safety on longer downhill stretches. The Economy Packs will be launched in Germany and the Netherlands initially. Economy Pack Basic will then be made available in Spain before being introduced in other European markets later.
Actros raises the comfort bar once again
In terms of comfort, too, the outgoing Actros model was way ahead of the chasing pack, as confirmed in numerous cab comparison tests performed by leading European truck magazines. Praise was reserved for the luxury beds, the flat cab floor, the heating, the air conditioning, the intelligent stowage concept, the high-grade materials, the excellent build quality and, as the pièce de résistance, the ventilated comfort air-sprung suspension seat.
Rather than resting on these laurels, however, the Actros had raised the bar once again by offering an even higher level of comfort. A wealth of practical details made the driver’s job easier and ensure that he or she remains fit and relaxed whilst at work. For the first time in a truck, an infinitely variable level control system with retaining straps ensures that the (top) luxury bed remains horizontal at all times – so even the bumpiest of roads are unlikely to disturb sleep. The new retaining straps allow a comfortable sleep in a horizontal position, even if the vehicle was parked on a slope. All of which means that the chocks for the front axle, most of which are home-made, can be left at home.
Like the top bed, the bottom bed now also features a flexible slatted base with an adjustable head section, so those who prefer to sleep down below do not miss out on the exceptional comfort.
Access to the top and bottom bed as well as to the stowage compartments beneath the bed had also been improved – thanks to the new seat unlocking mechanism on the upper side of the air-sprung seat’s backrest.
Actros the first truck to offer safety and comfort-enhancing lights and wipers on a par with those of a passenger car
The optionally available rain and light sensors, a world first in a truck, are the same as those used in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class passenger car and proven to be an invaluable driver aid. The rain sensor was also a key safety-related component. A European driver spends a considerable part of the year on wet roads. In poor weather conditions especially, the driver should be able to concentrate on the road and other road users instead of being distracted by the need to keep switching the windscreen wipers on and off. When driving in convoy, the system plays an important part in enhancing road safety. If the stalk on the steering column was in position one, the rain sensor activates the intermittent wipe function as soon as the first drops of rain are “sensed” on the windscreen. Meanwhile the light sensor switches on dipped beam automatically if visibility was poor or once a certain degree of darkness was reached. If visibility improves or the journey was interrupted, the lights switch off again automatically without the driver having to intervene.
A comfortable climate and an effective sunscreen
The Actros was an extremely pleasant place to be at night and during breaks – not least thanks to the optionally available, temperature-controlled auxiliary air-conditioning unit, which ensures a constant interior temperature and had the benefit of digital control. In the L and megaspace cabs, the new sunblind (standard on the driver’s side and optional on the co-driver’s side) prevents dazzling by the sun whilst driving and during breaks. Plus the new, equally elegantly finished exterior-mirror units, with all-seeing wide-angle mirrors attached at the bottom, also help shield the eyes from the sun – but not at the cost of rear visibility.
Practical new features include an adjustable and retractable shaving mirror – fitted as standard on the upper stowage compartment – and the equally easy-to-stow folding table – available as an option on the co-driver’s side. Both the L cab and the megaspace cab for the Actros feature a built-in towel rack with coat hooks, which can also be used for drying washing.
Compressed-air gun for a cleaner cab
A clean cab was a more pleasant place to be. Hence the Actros cab was equipped with a compressed-air connection as standard, allowing it be cleaned using a compressed-air gun. The gun was available ex factory as special equipment, although it was of course standard for construction vehicles. Other special equipment includes a fitted rubber mat that was both hardwearing and oil-resistant. As well as making it easier to keep the cab clean, the mat blends in perfectly with the high-quality interior of the Actros.
Ease of operation had also been further enhanced in the Actros variants with air suspension: the vehicle can now be moved to the preset ride height at the push of a button thanks to the new “normal ride height” switch. Plus the control panel for the air suspension was presented in the proper light thanks to white LEDs which make it easy to read at night.
Optimised steering enhances ride comfort and directional stability
The Actros also goes one better with its chassis and suspension system. Optimised steering further improves handling in semitrailer tractors with air suspension. Thanks to a smaller-diameter torsion bar, modified control arms, a new valve opening curve and a reduced steering ratio, the steering was now even more direct. This fine-tuning of the steering system for the Actros makes for more direct handling with better “feel” as well as further improved directional stability.
Comfort Packs: Basic, Classic and Top
Customers who attach great importance to comfort can choose from a range of Comfort Packs when ordering the Actros. These packages lend the Actros even greater driver appeal – a crucial factor in times such as these, when drivers are in short supply and many companies are finding it difficult to hold on to the good ones. Comfort Pack Basic includes built-in two-way loudspeakers, pleasant blue interior nightlighting, a two-part electrically adjustable blind, an extended central locking system with remote control and an electrically operated tilting/sliding glass sunroof. In addition to these features, Comfort Pack Classic also includes a leather steering wheel, a sunblind on both sides, air horns on the cab roof and, for the German market, a FleetBoard pre-installation and a communications interface. The range-topping Comfort Pack Top had the same contents as the Comfort Pack Classic, plus a 25-litre refrigerator box in the drawer, an automatic climate control system and, as the crowning glory in the centre of the radiator grille, an illuminated Mercedes star. The Comfort Packs are only available in Germany and the Netherlands initially, apart from Comfort Pack Basic, which was currently available in Spain. The Comfort Packs will be launched in other markets later, as necessary.
Actros and road safety: unique progress and social responsibility
Loaders are paying more and more attention to the environmental and safety standards of the haulage companies they use. These aspects are therefore becoming increasingly important for truck operators as well. As well as having a bearing on a company’s image, they have tangible economic benefits. By way of example, trucks equipped with certain safety equipment can be entitled to insurance discounts.
Like its predecessor, the Actros was an undisputed leader in the safety stakes. To actively prevent accidents, the new Mercedes-Benz Actros was equipped with a wealth of safety systems, all of which were introduced for the predecessor model (which, even several years on, still more than holds its own against the competition). These systems help the driver to remain in control in critical situations. They include “Telligent proximity control”, which can be further upgraded by adding “Active Brake Assist”, the “Lane Assistant”, “Telligent stability control” (for 6×2 semitrailer tractors) and “Telligent roll control” for two and three-axle trucks with air suspension.
Active Brake Assist initiates emergency braking if there was a risk of a head-to-tail collision
The Actros was the first and, to date, only standard-production truck to offer Active Brake Assist as an option. Active Brake Assist was based on the Telligent proximity control system although, in contrast to a straight proximity control system, which automatically keeps a set safety margin between the truck and the vehicle ahead, Active Brake Assist initiates emergency braking automatically if there was an acute risk of a head-to-tail collision with a vehicle in front.
A radar system detects moving obstacles in front of the truck whilst continuously calculating the difference in speed between the Actros and the vehicle in front. If the traffic situation does not change and an accident seems unavoidable, the driver first receives a visual warning, followed by an audible warning. If the risk of a collision increases, partial braking was initiated, that was to say 30 percent of the full braking power was applied. If the driver still fails to react, the system applies the full braking power automatically.
Although Active Brake Assist cannot always actively prevent accidents, the application of the full braking power at least reduces the collision speed and, therefore, the severity of the accident by a considerable margin. In recognition of its pioneering achievements in the field of truck safety, the system received the Gelber Engel (Yellow Angel) award from the ADAC (German Automobile Association) and the “Safety Award” from the Belgian Association of Motoring and Commercial Vehicle Journalists in 2007.
Telligent Lane Assistant warns of impending lane departure
The Telligent Lane Assistant warns the driver by issuing an audible signal if the vehicle looks like leaving its marked lane. It was able to do this thanks to a digital camera that monitors the road in front of the truck and, if the lane was marked, detects dangerous lane departures. Hence the Telligent Lane Assistant was of particular benefit to long-distance drivers on motorways. It can help to reduce the risk of accidents or, at the very least, mitigate the consequences of an accident.
Telligent stability control reduces the risk of skidding in semitrailer rigs
Telligent stability control was an active safety system that reduces the risk of skidding when a semitrailer rig was cornering or performing an evasive manoeuvre. In dynamically critical situations, the system controls the braking power specifically at each individual wheel, for example if the vehicle tends to oversteer or understeer when cornering. In addition, the engine was throttled back. Possible jack-knifing of the semitrailer rig was prevented by simultaneous, measured braking of the semitrailer, even if it was only equipped with a conventional, pneumatic braking system.
Telligent stability control also detects a semitrailer’s roll-over tendency at an early stage. If the semitrailer reaches the tipping threshold without the driver noticing – on a long bend of the type seen at some motorway junctions or when changing lanes at speed, for example – the speed of the semitrailer rig was reduced automatically until full directional stability was restored. This reduces the risk of the semitrailer overturning significantly, within the bounds of physical possibility of course. Telligent stability control was the truck equivalent of ESP, as seen on passenger cars, albeit with functions that have been adapted and extended specifically for trucks.
Telligent roll control ensured the right level of vehicle damping for the situation in hand
The Telligent roll control system, available as an option for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros, ensures a level of vehicle damping in keeping with the current situation on the road. Ride comfort and driving safety are often uneasy bedfellows in the chassis and suspension set-up. Conventional shock absorbers, with their fixed characteristics for the compression and rebound stage, cannot always cover the wide spectrum of requirements associated with everyday operation. Luckily there was a way around this: Telligent roll control for two and three-axle tractors. This system adapts and varies the damping hardness automatically in order to suit the current driving situation and road conditions. Sensors monitor the vertical movements at the front and rear axle, brake pressure, vehicle load, accelerator movements and road speed. These values are recorded and evaluated by the central electronic control system before being sent, in the form of control signals, to the shock absorbers, which are equipped with electrically controllable valves.
Insurance industry offered discounts on premiums if Safety Packs are specified
Starting with the German market, the Actros will be available with a choice of “Safety Packs” – Safety Pack Basic or Safety Pack Top – each of which includes specific safety and assistance systems. Safety Pack Top includes all available systems, including the Active Brake Assist system which remains unrivalled despite having already been on the market for two years.
Allianz takes part in the SafetyPlus scheme and offers a ten-percent discount on its insurance premiums – equivalent to a saving of around 800 euros per year.
To tie in with the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks, Mercedes-Benz Bank AG was also offering truck insurance that rewards operators who install safety systems. Mercedes-Benz truck insurance was aimed specifically at freight traffic and own-account transport. If safety systems are installed, the insurance customer receives a discount on the premium for third-party liability insurance and fully comprehensive insurance from Mercedes-Benz Bank AG. Discounts of five or ten percent are available if the customer specifies Safety Pack Classic or Safety Pack Top respectively, while customers who only order Active Brake Assist can expect a five-percent discount on their premiums.
If the insured party also takes out a leasing or finance agreement with Mercedes -Benz Bank AG, the premium for the first year was reduced by a further ten percent, providing the customer orders the new 2008 Actros. This amounts to an annual saving of up to 948 euros if a Safety Pack was installed.
Truck design also means creating a comfortable working and living space
It was the renowned American architect Louis Sullivan who came up with the concept of “Form Follows Function”. Raymond Loewy then made the famous saying popular in the field of automotive design. It highlights the need for design to ensure correct functioning of a technical entity. And in industry, this applies wholeheartedly to the exterior and interior design of a truck cab. After all, the dimensions need to comply with statutory requirements whilst the aerodynamic form must offer money-saving potential. Plus the needs of drivers, who can spend up to 24 hours a day working and living in the cab, have to be met.
The Actros had always been a design pioneer. It all began with the introduction of the V-shaped radiator grille, followed by the integration of clear-glass headlamps and a series of design studies and special editions exhibited at shows in recent years, from the exclusive Black Edition to the Concept Truck Cruiser with its elegant wood panelling and the visionary SpaceMaxx model. The Actros reflects certain ideas expressed in these concept vehicles and small-scale production models. The new exterior mirrors and the headlamps with chrome surrounds, for instance, are reminiscent of those on the Black Edition, while the new instrument cluster and the larger grille with diamond-shaped perforations was inspired by the front end of the SpaceMaxx.
The new Mercedes-Benz Actros boasts an appealing and practical design, including a front end that positively exudes dynamism. The most eye-catching new feature on the Actros – at night at least – was the Mercedes star, which was illuminated by subtle LED backlighting. This feature was available as an option and can be turned on and off using a switch on the control panel. More so than any other detail, the illuminated star highlights the fact that the Actros appeals to the emotions as well as being close to perfect in terms of cost-effectiveness and comfort. When it was switched on, there was no more shining example of how the driver identifies with “their” Mercedes-Benz brand.
The Actros design: dynamism and superiority
The front end of the Actros impresses with its dynamism yet also expresses serenity and effortless superiority. The new front flap with its sweeping V-shape was harmoniously integrated in the distinctive front section of the Actros. The line continues harmoniously up to the sun visor with a slight curve. As a further feature, the number of louvres used for the trim grille on the radiator had been reduced, while the form of the louvres had been further accentuated. They are now “airier” and feature upwards pointing “wings” at their ends, lending them dynamic contours.
This impression of power and dynamism was further reinforced by the new sun visor which appears to be split into three parts and blends in perfectly with the V-shape. The two angled, transparent outer sections of the sun visor round off the unmistakable “face” of the Actros. The centre section in stainless steel emphasises the impression of quality and lightness. Moving downwards, the front end practically rests on the new front apron, underlining the impression of strength and road holding – like a discreet spoiler – with three openings and an opposed tangent.
These new elements are complemented by special corner panels with optimised air-ducting components. As well as improving the aerodynamics of the Actros, they blend in harmoniously with the smooth yet dynamic lines. The same applies in the case of the new, two-part exterior mirrors, whose design was inspired by the Black Edition and whose covers are optionally available in the vehicle colour or chrome.
If the worst comes to the worst, the new, powerfully sweeping main headlamps can now have their clear-glass lenses replaced separately. So not only do the vehicle’s “eyes” look good, they are also economical to repair, since it was no longer necessary to replace the entire headlamp module. Special equipment includes bi-xenon headlamps that ensure even better illumination of the road when set to either dipped or main beam. The Actros was also the first truck to be equipped with these. Finally, the front flap now boasts the Mercedes-Benz badge with its own unique surround, the V8 emblem and the “Actros” signature.
Interior design for more enjoyable living
The Mercedes-Benz truck design and development team met with drivers on numerous occasions, to discuss their needs and the hardships of living and working on the road. These discussions lead to the ideas for many of the product enhancements, minor and major, which have been introduced for the Actros based on the “Form Follows Function” principle. New developments that make the driver’s life a lot easier include a towel rack and the integration of an infinitely variable bed with a slatted base.
Although the previous Actros model left practically nothing to be desired on account of its elegantly curved instrument panel and high-grade materials, the interior design for the facelifted Actros displays further new touches. Four chrome rings now surround the dial-type gauges on the new instrument cluster, which now features a three-dimensional design and had dials with new fonts and colouring.
The new seat covers and upholstery in the cab create a high-quality and functional atmosphere. The covers are available in a choice of flat-weave fabric, velour or, as special equipment, man-made leather.
Standard equipment includes a new key with an ideally matched plastic grip and chromed Mercedes star. This new “designer” key was a symbol of the Actros generation. When hung on the keyboard at the depot, it was sure to arouse the envy of the other drivers.
Design as an expression of quality
In the harsh reality of day-to-day haulage operations, however, design was not an end. In the case of the Actros, it was based on the practicality that a major investment such as a truck simply had to deliver. It was also a question of creating an unmistakable look that was the ideal embodiment of the brand values. Take the issue of quality, for example: every bolt, every fastening and every gap dimension on the Actros was the logical consequence of a technical necessity – always in the right place and always in the right proportion to its surroundings. The result was a level of quality that was immediately apparent to everybody who sets eyes on the Actros.