One of the most popular heavy trucks in the UK, the Mercedes Actros has been with us since 1996 when Mercedes-Benz stepped away from the old model numbering convention to giving their truck proper brand names.
True, the Actros replaced the SK (Schwere Klasse – or Heavy Class) models that were in production until 1998 – but we only knew these trucks as the 1835.
As Mercedes’ top truck, the Actros was originally designed for long distance transport – especially as a tractor unit in the UK.
In the UK, buyers of new trucks typically bought the Actros to use as a tractor unit. The numbers available in the used truck market therefore reflect this.
However there will be an increasing number of Actros rigid trucks coming onto the market as Mercedes dropped the Axor then also dropped its replacement, the Antos, preferring to use the Actros brand from 18 tonnes GVW right up to the SLT heavy haulage version whose design weight can be as high as 250 tonnes.
Whilst the tractor unit is the most popular format for the Actros, the most popular model variant is the 2545 which is streets ahead of all other power outputs. If you are looking for an Actros, you may find the best value in this model variant as they are so abundant.
After launch, the first versions were not well received and there was a view that the quality was not the usual Mercedes-Benz standard. The Actros was the first truck to get a name, followed by Mercedes’ light truck, the Atego and the Econic and the Axor arriving in 2001.
Fitted with a 12-litre V6 engine with power up to 480 and the OM502 V8 which took the top power Actros to more than 650hp.
The choice of cabs was wide, prior to the launch of the smaller Axor that bridged the gap between the Actros and the Atego. Available as a day cab, the S-cab also had a construction version, (to be replaced by the Arocs much later on). The ‘M’ cab was for local distribution, although the accommodation was less roomy than the larger ‘L’ and later ‘LH’ MegaSpace cab with its high roof.
The Euro 3 truck had some visual changes to the outside of the cab with additional streamlining and the inclusion of some new headlights. However, you would have to look closely to tell the MP2 version apart from the older sibling the MP1.
By the time that the third version was launched, Mercedes-Benz had sold more than 550,000 Actros trucks worldwide.
Mercedes claimed that there were 37 major changes to the third version launched in 2007. The automated ‘Powershift’ gearbox became standard equipment – the first time this was seen for any European truck manufacturer.
The MP3 Actros was powered by Mercedes ‘BlueTec’ engines with power outputs from the compact V6 engines starting at 320 going right up to 480hp and the mighty Mercedes V8 with outputs of 510 to 600hp. These engines met the Euro 4 standards at launch, but greener operators could also buy the Euro 5 versions of the trucks a whole two years early. There were no financial incentives in the UK for operators to buy Euro 5 trucks early ahead of the 2009 deadline, so you won’t see many 2007 (57) reg Mercedes Actros at Euro 5 in right hand drive in the UK.
Mercedes’ boast at the time was that these BlueTec Euro 4 were 3% better on fuel economy than the outgoing Euro 3 trucks. Not only this, as a swipe against fellow German manufacturer, MAN, they claimed that fuel economy was up to 7% better than those using exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems (MAN & Scania) as opposed the the SCR system used by Mercedes-Benz.
The MP3 Actros was available with two levels of ‘economy packs’ – the basic and the classic. The basic included, automatic cut outs and adjustable air deflectors, whilst the classic included a retarder, (not very handy in the relatively flat UK).
Following the same ‘package’ principle, the Actros MP3 also offered three ‘comfort’ packs, basic, classic and top. These range from getting a blind, sunroof and speakers in the basic through leather steering wheel and sun blinds on the classic to a fridge, climate control and – wait for it – an illuminated three pointed star on the front grille!
On a more serious note, the MP3 was the first production truck to receive active brake assist as an option – it will slow the truck down – even slamming the brakes on if the truck gets too close to the vehicle in front.
More safety tech such as lane assist, stability control, roll control were all available in this brand new truck. Mercedes were certainly leading from the front regarding safety systems. It helps to share the passenger car multi million Euro R&D budget, no doubt. Read the full information about the third generation Actros published at launch time here.
It’s horrible to see businesses struggling along for R&D investment. Take Mercedes, for example. A paltry one billion Euros to develop the Euro 6 Actros revealed as early as 2011 for a launch in 2012. You won’t see too many of these trucks on the used market registered much before 2014, however, as UK truck operators were not falling over themselves to invest in Euro 6 trucks early, unlike in Germany where Government incentives were being offered.
With a further one billion Euros invested in manufacturing facilities, the beautiful new generation Actros looked like a favourite to continue with the Actros success – already more than 700,000 of them sold worldwide by 2011.
In automotive design terms, if something looks right, it usually is. Thanks to plenty of wind tunnel work, the fuel consumption for the Actros was better by 3-4% comparing the new, Euro 6 model to the previous Euro 5 model. Pitch the new Euro 5 vs the old one and savings of 7% were possible!
Using EGR and SCR with a new injection system to achieve these levels, the systems have already been available elsewhere on Daimler trucks for some while.
Launched in the midst of a credit crunch crisis – this new truck had the benefit of 20% longer service intervals -now as much as 150,000kms with savings of up to 6%.
The Actros at launch was available 421 to 510hp and – cleverly for Mercedes – was available either at Euro 5 or Euro 6.
The start of 2014 saw the launch of the heavy haulage version of the Actros – the Actros SLT. These top-end Euro 6 trucks have a huge gross train weight (GTW) potential of up to 250 tonnes.
Available in many configurations – operators can choose from a 6×4 or 8×4 tractor unit with air suspension and an adjustable fifth wheel or two heavy duty couplings. If an operator opts for steel springs then the axle configuration choice extends further to an 8×6, a 6×6 or even an 8×8!
There is a choice of the full-width Actros cab at 2.5 metres wide or the narrower Streamspace cab at 2.3 metres. The rear of the cab is loaded with the cooling and air tank equipment, as the chassis is usually full of axles, wheels and tyres.
Not content with making just a top end heavy haulage Actros, Mercedes have also produced a semi-heavy version which will cope with up to 120 tonnes GTW. This comes with no retarder or extra cooling system.
Fitted with the Mercedes 15 litre OM473 in-line 6 cylinder, the power ratings start at 517hp and rise to 625hp using a turbo compounding system linked to the 16-speed Powershift3 automated gearbox – Mercedes are the only manufacturer that do not fit a manual gearbox to their heavy haulage tractors. Special programming for a ‘heavy’ mode means that the gearbox has been specifically designed to carry out the heavy haulage tasks.
A revised set up sees the Mercedes 6 cylinder in-line engine available with three percent fuel savings and top power from 420hp up to 530hp. With twin overhead camshafts in the 12.8 litre engine and Mercedes’ X-Pulse common rail injection system where maximum rail pressure has been increased from 900 to 1160 bar, resulting in a maximum injection pressure of 2700 bar.
According to Mercedes, since 2011, following the introduction of the Euro 6 Actros, the Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) cruise control system and the new engine generation, average consumption has dropped by up to 13 percent compared to the predecessor Actros model.
No huge changes to the exterior of the Actros – evolution, not revolution this time, the largest difference is the removal of external mirrors and replacing them with mirror cameras as standard.
The differences were primarily under the skin. Fuel savings of some 5% have been quoted by Mercedes – mainly due to some aerodynamics but also the predictive powertrain control and new axle ratios.
Safety and autonomous driving featured strongly in the 2018 model – plus some new, large screens in the cab plus other internal upgrades to make the driver’s life easier.
How best to mark the conclusion of your 10th year in business? Maze Logistic Solutions found its way to Motus Truck & Van for the answer – a Mercedes Actros Edition 2. The Ipswich-based operator has relied on highly specified Mercedes trucks since it was established by Joint Managing Directors Jimmy Simmonds and Steve Snelling in 2011. Today, Actros tractor units with top of the range GigaSpace cabs account for all but nine of the 26 trucks on a fleet that is set for further, significant growth next year. Maze Logistic Solutions specialises in container movements and works for several…>
Long-standing Mercedes-Benz operator Haulaway has brought down the curtain on its 30th anniversary celebrations by commissioning a limited edition Actros Edition 2 tractor unit. The East Sussex-based operator provides a portfolio of waste management services to trade and domestic customers. Its fleet of 22 skip-loaders, tippers, tipper-grabs and tractors is dominated by the three-pointed star. The latest addition to that line-up arrived via Dealer Sparshatt Truck & Van. The Edition 2 is a showcase for the fifth-generation Actros. Just 400 have been built for customers worldwide, and of these only a small handful have reached the UK. External features that…>
Having a dedicated ADR lane in a workshop requires a significant investment in space, equipment and training. That’s what West Midlands-based Mercedes-Benz dealer, Midlands Truck & Van are undertaking with a view to having the lane fully operational in the New Year. Midlands Truck & Van only began trading towards the end of 2020 from its new, purpose-built, £7-million Dealership in Cornwall Road, Smethwick. Since this time, the company has been developing its offerings from the site. The new Pet Reg bay will operate on a round-the-clock basis, from 6am on Mondays until Saturday lunchtimes and is located at the…>
Giving us an indication of the shape of things to come, BP and Mercedes Trucks have successfully tested the first digital in-truck fuel payment system in the UK, after running a successful pilot trial with Wren Kitchens. The new app-based system, bp In-Truck Pay, makes fuel purchasing and management faster, more efficient and more secure for both truck drivers and fleet managers. The app has been developed for the latest Mercedes-Benz Actros, which can be specified with Multimedia Cockpit, Interactive. This incorporates the Truck App Portal, an open platform that can be used by fleet managers to assign apps to…>
As well as looking towards the future of commercial vehicles with no diesel engines, Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK has marked the 125th anniversary of the motorised truck by presenting a replica of the vehicle that gave birth to a global industry. The ‘first truck’ took pride of place on the company’s stand at the Freight in the City Expo in September at London’s Alexandra Palace, alongside a low-entry Mercedes-Benz Econic tractor unit and a battery-powered FUSO eCanter. Daimler’s heritage trucks of 1896, left, and 1898 are pictured with a zero-emission FUSO eCanter and the exclusive Mercedes-Benz Actros Edition 2 The World’s…>
The Actros 2545 is the most common model variant of all trucks advertised for sale at Truckpages.
The 44-tonne Euro 6 trucks for sale at Truckpages are typically from the years around 2015 to 2016.
All 2545 Actros trucks have 6x2 axle configurations and are fitted with the 450HP Mercedes engine and often with the Mercedes Powershift transmissions.
All types of cabs are available - ClassicSpace, StreamSpace, BigSpace and GigaSpace.
Used Mercedes Actros 2545
These 1824 Actros trucks are the workhorses of the range. 18 tonne rigids at Euro 6 (after 2013) are used mainly for local distribution.
The Actros took over from the discontinued Antos brand at the 18-tonne weight range around 2015/16 so if you are looking for a slightly older model, you should consider the Antos (from 2013 to 2015/6).
If you are looking for an older-still 18-tonne Mercedes truck, then the earlier model was called the Axor. this was phased out in 2013 to make way for...
Used Mercedes Actros 2543
The Actros 2543 is the workhorse of the range. This is the tractor unit you will buy for hauling containers, general transport and logistics.
Neither over- nor under-powered, the 430hp is plenty for the job - although perhaps not enough to tempt the owner driver used truck market? They may be heading for the 480hp 2548 or 510hp 2551 version to help them feel contented behind the wheel.
This Actros model number was used in the pre-Euro 6 Actros before 2013 as well as the later version. In the UK the truck will usually be configured as a 6x2 tractor unit, although you will see the odd drawbar combination featuring a 6x2 rigid and drawbar trailer.
Thanks to the 460hp output of all Acros with this model number the 2546 should be up to any job it encounters.
These 26-tonne rigids are top-powered and are typically specified with cranes or drawbar couplings for work at higher gross train weights. The 320hp engines are available in the earlier generation as well as the current model range.Read More Info & View Mercedes Actros 2532 Trucks for sale...>
Available from launch - even as Euro 5 versions - the 2551 was the top power Mercedes Actros at the time. This has since been eclipsed by the 2553 with 530hp and the 630hp range topper 2563.
In the UK, the Actros 2551 is primarily a 6x2 tractor unit - now mainly available at Euro 6 with a more than ample 510hp available.
Used Actros 2551 Trucks
You will find models with the StreamSpace, BigSpace and GigaSpace cabs - the BigSpace being the most common.
The Actros 2548 is a great set up for a tractor unit with 480HP of Euro 6 power on tap and Powershift gearboxes too.
Choose from StreamSpace, BigSpace, MegaSpace or GigaSpace cabs. Post 2018 models come with the MirrorCam technology that replaces the rear view mirrors.
Used Mercedes Actros 2548
Not as common as the lesser-powered Actros 2545, examples can be found from 2016 onwards, whereas the more common 450hp model stared from launch of the current model range back in 2012.