They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This beholder is struggling to see the beauty in the new Actros L model’s ProCabin. It is no doubt an excellent truck; it simply looks a little sad. We understand that the truck is designed to look like the new eActros, which may make the acceptance of a battery electric truck easier for operators to handle. Mercedes have worked hard on the aerodynamics for their electric truck, so why should the diesel version not benefit as well? If the fuel economy improves from the attractive existing Actros model then why should it matter if it has fallen from the ugly tree?

The new Actros L with ProCabin can be ordered from April 2024 and will go into production in December 2024.

Rainer Müller-Finkeldei, Head of Development at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said: “We always aim to provide our customers with the best vehicle solutions for all drive technologies. The traditional diesel-powered truck will also continue to be indispensable in the various regions of the world for some time to come. With the new Actros L, we have further optimized our tried and tested flagship in many aspects. This is already reflected in the revolutionary cab design.”

Mercedes Actros L Procabin in White at Launch
The new Actros L with ProCabin can be ordered from April 2024 and will go into production in December 2024.

New Aerodynamic Design Saves 3% on Fuel

According to Mercedes, the completely new exterior appearance of the Actros L “already catches the eye”. The entire shaping of the ProCabin, which was first unveiled during the world premiere of the battery-electric eActros 600 in October 2023, has been completely designed for particularly efficient aerodynamics: From the pre-spoiler on the roof in front of the actual roof spoiler, to the A-pillar deflector panels around the side windows and the large, flat front-end flap of the cab to the optimised bumper with minimal air inlet openings for cooling and its new underbody panelling. The airstream therefore meets an aerodynamically favourable front extended by 80 millimeters and continues to be guided around the vehicle as optimally as possible. This is ensured by a streamlined entrance, improved wheel-arch trim and optimized side trim. There are virtually no gaps or spaces left in favour of an optimized airflow.

Extended side deflectors have been designed like sails to ensure a good transition between the semitrailer truck and the attached semitrailer. The use of various seals to decouple the engine compartment from external airflow rounds off the aerodynamic concept.

High Levels of Driver Comfort

With its futuristic cab design, Mercedes Trucks hopes that it looks good and is comfortable for the driver. Externally, features include the full cab paintwork, including the Mercedes-Benz logo and lettering in Dark Chrome as well as the aluminum step plates. All lighting in and around the vehicle also feature LED technology. This applies to the main headlamps and indicators as well as the side and tail lights. Matrix LED headlamps are also available as an option for maximum lighting performance.

In the interior, ProCabin, available in three variants – StreamSpace, BigSpace, or GigaSpace – offers numerous comfort features such as optimised seat heating, new premium flat-woven seat covers, or bunks with full slatted frames and a new, thick premium mattress. The extended range of functions of the switch panels on the bunks as well as the ambient lighting and the additional gooseneck LED reading lamps are also new. In addition, there are other equipment features such as additional USB-C sockets in the side walls, a high-quality curtain in two-tone design, a second refrigerator, a 230-volt socket or the SoloStar Concept, which is now available in two new seat cover variants. Starting in April 2025, Multimedia Cockpit Interactive 2 will also be available with a revamped menu design, voice control, further improved connectivity and new applications such as Connected Traffic Warnings.

Third Generation OM 471 Engine

In addition to the aerodynamic optimisation measures, Mercedes Trucks is introducing the third generation of the 12.8-litre OM 471 diesel engine. The OM 471, available alongside OM 470 and OM 473 diesel engines, is designed to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) without compromising on performance, driving dynamics, or comfort in terms of fuel-efficient driving, reduced CO2 emissions, lower operating costs, and higher returns.

With the third generation of the OM 471, Mercedes-Benz Trucks has introduced two new turbochargers. In the variant destined for long-haul transportation, the focus is on achieving the lowest possible fuel consumption. In combination with the revised exhaust gas after-treatment system, this exhaust gas turbocharger enables a maximum fuel saving of up to four percent over the previous generation.

Accident Prevention Features

In order to make an even better contribution to preventing accidents, Daimler Truck has developed a new electronics platform that enables an even larger view to the front and side with so-called sensor fusion, i.e. merging radar and camera data. The electronics platform offers 20 times faster data processing, and the total of six installed sensors – four lateral short-range radars at the front and rear, both on the right and left, one long-range radar at the front in the centre and the multifunction camera in the windshield – can now cover an angle of 270 degrees around the vehicle. Thanks to the significantly enlarged viewing angle, the installed assistance systems can make even better use of their strengths.

Active Brake Assist 6 with multi-lane monitoring

An example of how efficient the 270-degree fusion technology is and what going beyond GSR stipulations means is the already sixth generation of Active Brake Assist (ABA). The latest emergency braking assistant from Daimler Truck can now perform automated maximum full-stop braking to a complete stop at speeds of up to 60 km/h ahead of crossing, oncoming traffic, or other road users in the same lane. GSR calls for the extended response to pedestrians and cyclists for new trucks and buses/touring coaches only as of July 1, 2026. At speeds up to 80 km/h, the system can react ahead of stationary vehicles with maximum full-stop braking, as had previously been the case. A further added value of ABA 6 is multi-lane monitoring at distances of up to 250 metres for even better hazard detection.

Active Sideguard Assist 2 with extended functionality on the driver’s side

The second-generation Active Sideguard Assist (ASGA) also demonstrates the extent to which equipping the vehicles with six sensors and the associated increased viewing angle increases road safety. ASGA 2 monitors traffic on both the driver’s and front passenger sides and with its two-stage warning system it can alert drivers to potential dangers so that timely intervention can mitigate a critical traffic situation. The active warning zone extends up to 30 meters behind and seven meters in front of the vehicle, operating at speeds of up to 30 km/h. Additionally, the system can initiate automated braking to bring the vehicle to a complete stop within the red warning area up to its own turning speed of 20 km/h, should drivers fail to respond to an earlier audible and visual warning. This function also goes beyond the requirements of GSR, which only stipulates that Sideguard Assist must issue a warning if necessary. Furthermore, ASGA 2 features an intelligent lane change warning concept based on the vehicle’s own position within the lane.

Front Guard Assist monitors traffic in front of the vehicle

The new Front Guard Assist can be a helpful feature to prevent accidents with pedestrians or cyclists who may be directly in front of the truck when it moves off. The assistance system monitors the traffic in front of the vehicle and supports the driver when the vehicle is at a standstill, when moving off and at intersections. If the system detects stationary or moving objects in front of the vehicle, it supports the driver in driving situations up to 15 km/h by sending warning messages as part of the two-stage warning system. The 270-degree fusion technology covers the blind spot in front of the vehicle from 0.8 meters to approximately four meters across the full width of the vehicle.

With all the assistance systems, Daimler Truck pursues across its entire product portfolio the objective of supporting and relieving drivers as much as possible during their trips within the system limits. However, the systems are unable to shift the boundaries of physics – even as good as they are. The driver therefore remains fully responsible for driving the vehicle safely at all times, as stipulated by law.

Harmonious overall package for relaxed assisted driving

In addition to the traffic safety-focused assistance systems, the well-coordinated interplay of features such as Active Drive Assist 3 (ADA) and the intelligent transmission and cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) is noteworthy in the new Actros L. The ADA has allowed for semi-automated driving (SAE Level 2) in a series production truck since 2018 and is now being launched in its third generation. Beginning in June 2021, the second generation of ADA has been enhanced by the emergency stop function. ADA 3 now further improves support for drivers in both longitudinal and lateral guidance of the truck. Forward-looking PPC, on the other hand, contributes to relaxed driving by automatically taking into account topography, road layout and traffic signs for the most efficient driving style possible. Starting in April 2025, route information from the navigation system will also be integrated to enable better detection of upcoming route events. This allows drivers to avoid unnecessary braking, acceleration and gear changes.