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.
If you are a fan of the Mercedes Actros, then read on... The company has released a series of images of the Actros over the years to celebrate 25 years of the truck's availability in the UK. So, if you don't know your second generation from your third generation, this is the article for you. Almost making it into the Truckpages ‘Classic Truck’ section, the Mercedes Actros was first unveiled at the IAA show in Hanover on 21 September 1996, the dawn of a new era in truck design, efficiency, safety and comfort. That was then: The gaudy colour scheme…>
We’ve read plenty about customers taking delivery of the earlier Actros Edition 1 tractor units, but the first of the new limited edition is now carrying Tiptree jams around the UK’s Roads. A limited edition of 400 worldwide with just 12 sold in the UK, the Edition 2 club is an exclusive one. At the wheel of this flagship truck is not the seasoned and loyal driver, rewarded for their effort, but a newly-qualified driver having passed their class 1 test just a month ago! The Edition 2 has lined up alongside another limited-edition Mercedes-Benz Actros Edition 1 owned by…>
Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ ability to supply a 26-tonne chassis with the low frame height that allows customers to maximise load volumes meant that when it needed a second truck to stay ahead of growing customer demand, PRM Green Technologies had no hesitation in choosing another Actros. The company, which operates from headquarters in Cannock, Staffordshire, provides specialised IT equipment recycling and secure data destruction services for customers from across the commercial and public sectors. Like its three-year-old predecessor, the new vehicle was supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. Once again, the operator chose a 2540 LnR model with ClassicSpace L-cab,…>
With a near-exclusive Mercedes fleet, waste management specialist Select Environmental Services is well on the path to making their fleet as green as can be. Lithium powered compactor bodies and electric vans running around is a solid start. The company is waiting for the factory-built eEconic to arrive in 2022 to start replacing their all Euro 6 fleet. The latest additions are the first front-end loader and a 6x2 Actros that has a lithium-powered compaction body, arriving via City West Commercials, an established supplier to the Reading-based operator. Family-owned Select provides bespoke recycling, waste management and confidential shredding services across…>
With no fewer than 1,200 trucks made up evenly of three different manufacturers, Intermodal logistics leader Maritime Transport is well-placed to compare the relative performance of the vehicles. With 100 new generation Actros trucks now on the fleet, Maritime Fleet Director Paul Heyhoe has been impressed with the improvements in fuel economy enjoyed by the Actros 2545 tractor units. The 100 truck order was the company’s first from Mercedes-Benz trucks since 2017. The Felixstowe-based operator placed its order following successful trials of a demonstration unit supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van, which proved impressively fuel-efficient and popular…>
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...>
The Actros 1842 has only been used since the 2013 model year trucks hit the UK's roads. This 4x2 truck will be configured either as a 4x2 tractor unit for operation below the UK's maximum 44 tonne limit or as a 'motor and drag' drawbar.
Used Mercedes Actros 1842
With 420HP on tap, it should have enough power for anything thrown at it on the UK's roads, although buyers could consider the Actros 2548 for additional payload (thanks to the extra axle) and power (480HP).