It wasn’t too long ago that 325-400 bhp was deemed more than adequate for an eight wheeler but market demands have moved on and most offerings in this sector have at least the number ‘4’ at the front of their horsepower nomenclature.
Of course, MAN Trucks have recently launched a new range of models across the board from 7.5 tonnes GVW to 44 tonne tractor units. In the middle of this group are the four axle rigid models which boast a number of upgrades in the cab and on the chassis as well as driver assist packages.
At a recent event we had the opportunity to drive a number of rigids from the new MAN ‘stable’ and without doubt the most popular model was the top of the power range the TGS35.510 Tipper.
Whilst the TGS range is very diverse and comprehensive covering two, three and four axles from 4x2 right up to 8x8, in every day’ use it has come to represent their offering in the multi-axle sector and, in particular, tippers.
The TGS driveline is powered by two engines providing six power settings, three from each engine. The six cylinder D1556 nine litre starts the proceedings with an entry 330 bhp followed by 360 bp and then finally a 400bhp. The latest development of the six cylinder D26 12.4 litre provides the top of the range power starting at 430bhp, then 470 bhp and ultimately 510 bhp.
There are three cabs available on the TGS which all are described as ’slim’ in the MAN brochure and have an external width of 2240mm and internal width of 2070mm, leaving the engine tunnel height at 280mm the only other common major dimension between the cabs.
The entry level cab is the day cab ‘NN’ described as ‘ Practical’ it has an external length of 1880mm resulting in an internal width of 1770mm and a standing height on the engine tunnel of 1410mm. The ‘TN’ can best be described as a short sleeper and is 400mm longer externally resulting in 375mm interior length. A single bed is 1.96m long and at its widest is 800mm although behind the seats this is reduced to 700mm. Storage is not a problem with a total of 624 litres available across the cab including roof and rear racks and central storage below the bed.
The largest cab is the ‘TM’ which is the same as the ‘TN’ but features a higher roof allowing for a standing height of 1930mm above the engine tunnel in front of the co-drivers seat. Twin bunks come as standard with the lower bunk dimensions as the ‘TN’ and the top bunk 1900mm longer and 700mm wide. This cab has an additional 184 litres provided by an extra roof luggage rack.
There are five media / sat nav systems, all feature a seven inch screen ( other than the top of range with 12.3 inch) and SD card reader and gradually add various media upgrades until the top of range model which includes Truck Navigation with online traffic function, DAB/DAB+, Hands free Bluetooth for two mobiles, preparation for two cameras and USB/Aux interface.
Our vehicle featured the Driver comfort package and this included the 12.3” digital instrument cluster , Climatronic air conditioning system, MAN Easy Control and finally a leather multi-function steering wheel. This is in addition to the 12.3” Infotainment and satellite navigation system as outlined earlier.
As might be expected with such a diverse operating environment that any multiwheeler encounters there’s a range of chassis types and strengths, our particular truck made the N3G off road classification which features 8 mm chassis members.
The straight beam front axles are connected to the chassis by parabolic springs complete with shock absorbers and anti-roll bars with 385/65 super single tyres. The rear axle is a hypoid single reduction with 295/80 tyres and again attached to the chassis via parabolic springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars.
Electronic Braking and Anti-Lock braking is, of course, standard but the 35.510 we drove also had the Basic Safety Package which includes Automatic Cruise Control with Stop and Go and emergency braking signal with hazard light activation. MAN also has a light and visibility package which came with this particular eight wheeler, meaning all the external lights are LED, there are automatic headlights and wipers, main beam assist and headlight washers.
The 35.510 was fitted with a Thompson Loadmaster Lite tipper body with an Edbro CX15 front mounted ram featuring a 5mm floor and 4mm sides and 1.5mm galvanised wings, there was also an auto-loc tailgate and CM1000 sheeting system.
Climbing into the NN day cab of the 35.510 is perhaps one of the highest climbs you’ll undertake but it’s made relatively easy with well positioned grab rails and well spaced steps. One nice little handy touch is the positioning of four buttons just at the side of the door pockets ( they are at head height) allowing the driver to start / stop the engine, turn the hazard warning lights for instance. Once inside there’s a large clean looking instrument panel with two large dials and two smaller dials covering all the basic data of speed, revs, fuel and adblue levels. In the centre is a LCD screen controllable via the steering wheel or a dial in the centre console and provides various information such as time, temperature, gear selection and cruise control as well as an overview of the safety systems etc.
The semi-wrap round dashboard has all the controls easy to hand with the 12.3” infotainment system seating on top of the centre console under which is the climate control and various buttons for features such as the diff locks and body controls as well as the electronic handbrake.
Once on the road, unsurprisingly this 510 bhp truck is very responsive and quick on the turn although there is no noticeable change in in-cab noise even under relatively harsh acceleration. For a tall cab, visibility is good out of the windows and the wide angled mirrors and it’s further enhanced by the on-board camera system.
Our road route took us through a mixture of dual carriageways, A and B roads and even when driving through a small village with the typical tight restrictions, the steering responded perfectly.
Verdict: As would be expected with an eight wheeler powered by a 510 bhp engine, performance was pretty spritely but perhaps biggest surprise was the lack of in- cab noise making for a very pleasant driving environment. Match this to a very smooth 12 speed Tipmatic automated gearbox and a vast array of driver assistance features, means the 35.510 should be a valued addition to the UK Construction industry armoury.