MAN’s TGX is keen to satisfy the needs of regional and long-haul operators, Tim Campbell reports.
As everyone knows MAN is now part of Volkswagen’s Truck and Bus group, bringing together, among others, both the Swedish and German truck brands.
Over the coming years it will be interesting to see how this develops.
There are many rumours as to the direction the group will take under the guidance of Daimler Trucks’ renowned commercial vehicle boss – Andreas Renschler – who joined a couple of years ago.
All eyes are on both Scania and MAN in the heavy truck sector to see what the future will bring and, of course, in the case of Scania, we have seen the recent launch of its latest incarnation – the S series.
So, while MAN’s stablemate is busy introducing different variants of a new model, we thought it would be worthwhile looking at what MAN has to offer the UK truck operator looking for a regional or long-haul solution.
We took to the road in MAN’s TGX top offering with its 12.4-litre engine, the TGX 6x2 Midlift 26.500.
READ MORE: Driven: MAN TGS tractor truck review
Under the bonnet is MAN’s D26 engine which, although it experienced a few teething issues relating to the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler in the early days, has earned itself a reputation as a strong and reputable unit.
It has three power ratings 420PS, 460PS and the top of the range 500PS.
Our test truck was the highest output 500PS and, at this power, the D26 achieves its peak torque of 2,500Nm at just 930Nm.
It remains at that level up to 1,350rpm offering an important “wide torque plateau” of more than 400rpm.
As far as power is concerned, peak power of 500PS (373kW) is achieved at 1,800rpm, which is in-line with the ‘norm’ of today’s diesel engines.
Of course, we can’t talk about engines without mentioning after-treatment and the common rail Euro VI-compliant engine achieves this by way of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) via a 24-litre AdBlue tank.
Despite the fact that the D26 power ratings cover 80PS, the clutch and gearbox remain constant throughout.
The clutch is a single plate 430mm diameter and the gearbox is MAN’s TipMatic 12-speed automated with a direct drive on the top gear.
There just one wheelbase – 2,600mm (3,275mm front axle to mid rear bogie) – and, dependent on the exact specification of cab, suspension and the like, the kerbweight varies.
However, if we look at a XL cab, it weighs a competitive 8,375kgs with a full 450-litre tank of fuel and 24 litres of AdBlue.
The front and drive axles conform with the eight-tonne and 11.5-tonne industry standards with the midlift axle plated at a respectable 7.1 tonnes.
The front axle is suspended on the chassis via parabolic springs, the midlift is via a two-bag air system (including lift facility) and the drive axle via a four-bag electronically controlled air system (ECAS).
All axles feature hydraulic shock absorbers and anti-roll bars.
Braking is an art in modern trucks and the TGX with adaptive cruise control (ACC) and MAN’s BrakeMatic (EBS) matched with emergency brake assist (EBA2) makes light work of this requirement.
All the electronic braking to the wheels is managed by vented disc brakes all round complete with a two-line trailer brake system and wear pad indicators.
Matched to all this are the standard safety systems of anti-lock braking system (ABS), anti-slip regulation (ASR), electronic stability programme (ESP) and EBA2. But, interestingly, MAN has also included lane guard as standard.
We could spend all day talking about the various cabs and the options available on the TGX but it basically boils down to three cab sizes – the XL standard sleeper, XLX sleeper and the XXL sleeper.
It’s a bit like buying a shirt, the more Xs at the front, the bigger the cab.
They are all the same depth, that’s 2,280mm for driving and sleeping area and 2,440mm wide. But they vary in roof heights.
As you approach the TGX, the black onyx-style grill gives it a dominant presence, especially as our test truck was in silver with dark sun visor and four spotlights along the top.
Opening the driver’s door reveals three steps leading to the cab floor and it doesn’t take long to settle into the air-suspended seat.
In front of the driver is a very deep instrument cluster housing the most warning lights I have ever seen, 35 in total, plus six dials and an LCD panel. No wonder it’s deep.
The bright beige interior is contrasted by black and offers pleasant surroundings.
The full-width dashboard doesn’t intrude too much compared to competitors, a real benefit when using the single bunk at the rear.
To the left of the driver is the integrated media display featuring an optional sat-nav and two-camera system. Below are the heating and ventilation controls with climate control.
To the left down by the driver’s elbow is the parking brake and automated gearbox control.
Selecting ‘D’, releasing the park brake and pressing ever so gently the accelerator brings the 500 ‘horses’ into play.
It’s not long before we leave Trafford Park Industrial Estate in Manchester and let the TGX cruise along the motorway.
The deep windscreen and generous mirrors provide good visibility as we proceed at a steady 58kph (36mph).
The traffic was moderate so within a minute EfficientCruise2 and EfficientRoll were engaged.
These systems communicate with the sat-nav and look ahead to ensure the appropriate gears and speeds are selected.
This is matched to the adaptive cruise and all three systems provide a potential ‘foot-free’ driving experience helping drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
This style of driving brings further benefits with a lower engine noise and consequently lower in-cab noise, providing a decent driving environment.
The 6x2 midlift solution is the ‘staple’ for many UK hauliers operating three-axle tractors.
The TGX is aimed firmly at this market and features such as EfficientCruise2 and EfficientRoll help reduce the overall costs of operation. Matched with a comfortable cab such as the XLX, the TGX is a potentially cost-effective solution.
Model tested: MAN TGX Midlift 26.500