It’s not often a major truck manufacturer launches a whole new line-up covering the entire heavy truck weight range from 7.5 tonne to 100 tonnes+. In the case of MAN Trucks, it’s 20 years since its last major update and perhaps it’s a little unfortunate it has picked 2020, considering the unusual nature of this year.
Having said that, the team has obviously been working hard behind the scenes over the past few years, designing, researching and producing four new models covering the TGL, TGM, TGS and top of the range TGX.
A quick look at the key features confirms the new trucks are a major step forward in both technology and lower operating costs compared with outgoing models.
A great example of the technology advancement is the newly-developed turn assist which helps to prevent accidents in urban traffic and, importantly, this is four years before it is legally required. On operating costs, MAN claims the trucks offer potential fuel savings of 8%, and this is matched to significant reductions in CO2 emissions.
“The demands made of drivers while driving are high,” says Manuel Marx, head of Total Vehicle Development at MAN Truck & Bus SE. “As a result, our aim was to make working with the truck simpler, safer and even more ergonomic.
“We have made further improvements to its user friendliness by providing greater clarity and standardisation across the operating elements, as well as introducing intuitive handling – thanks to controls that are easy to grasp. We have also added new assistance systems and safety systems.”
Recently, Commercial Fleet had the opportunity to take the TGX for a quick drive along a stretch of motorway and ‘A’ roads.
The TGX 26.640 with the GX high roof cab is the top of the new TGX range and features a whole host of safety features linked to a new level in comfort compared with the outgoing generation.
The 640 is powered by the D38 in-line six-cylinder Euro 6D engine which has three power ratings starting with the 548PS, rising to 588PS and finally the 649PS, which is developed at 1,800 rpm. The 3,000Nm of torque is rated between 900 to 1,400 rpm, allowing for a very flat curve giving the engine the ability to produce a better driving experience and assisting fuel economy.
Interestingly for MAN Trucks, the D38 features exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR), but its all-new D15 engine, which along with the D26 engine is available on the TGX, does not feature EGR at all.
Behind the D38 is a revised MAN 12-speed TipMatic automated gearbox with a direct drive top gear linked by the propshaft to an all-new HY-1344 lightweight hypoid rear axle, with 30kg less weight and an improved oil pump for better emissions.
Braking systems are more about electronic systems rather than mechanical and the new TGX takes this to a new level with both the braking and safety systems.
The D38 engine features MAN’s multi-stage Brakematic engine braking system and the chassis has anti-lock braking, anti-slip regulation and an electronic stability programme.
The safety systems, more often referred to as assistance systems, are numerous and read like a menu from a prestige passenger car list. The vehicle on the road test had adaptive cruise control including ‘Stop & Go’ function, emergency brake assist, emergency stop signal and lane guard Assist. It also had MAN Attention Guard which continuously evaluates the number of times the vehicle strays from the lane as well as the steering interventions, evaluating the driver’s alertness, and provides an optical warning in the display.
Other assistance aids available include turn assist, which uses radar to monitor the hard-to-see side area next to the vehicle on the co-driver’s side at driving speeds of up to around 20mph. If the system detects a potential critical situation, three LED modules fitted on the ‘A’ pillar will flash and a warning signal will also sound.
Lane change support uses radar sensors and monitors the side areas to the left and right of the lane of the truck. If, when changing lanes, the sensors detects a vehicle approaching from behind, it warns the driver early on – also via the LEDs in the A-pillars. Finally, lane return assist (LRA) always keeps the vehicle in its lane.
The TGX is as much about the new cab as it is about the use of new technology and digitisation.
There are eight different cab types in the new MAN truck range with widths at 2,240mm and 2,440mm and roof heights staged at 1,645mm, 1,737mm, 2,035mm and 2,260mm, offering up to 1,100 litres of storage space.
The entire interior has been re-designed and improved. For instance, the controls for the TipMatic gearbox have been repositioned with a stalk switch on the right of the steering wheel. The semi-wraparound dashboard has a new optional digital 12.3-inch instrument panel which is matched with seven-inch sat-nav and infotainment display (12-inch as an option). This can be controlled via a new and very handy SmartSelect touchpad with a convenient hand rest.
Behind the driver are revised bunks and mattresses up to 110mm deep with lights, locks, heating and windows controlled via a remote control and the MAN driver’s app can operate the infotainment system.
The exterior has also been completely revised featuring a distinctive radiator grille with the lion symbol longer and extended into the bumper area. Together with the drawn-down bumper, the flat main headlight unit comes with integrated daytime driving lights and turn indicator and is available with LED lights.
Even before you step into the GX cab, the extra thought MAN has put into the design is obvious. By the driver’s door pocket at head height is the MAN EasyControl system, comprising four buttons that control key functions such as the central locking and hazard warning lights. The door opens up to 89 degrees and the two entrance steps are mounted on the chassis, with wider steps arranged in a staircase-style, helping you make it to the revised and 50mm longer new driver’s seat.
Starting up the 649PS engine produces hardly any noise into the cab. Select D for the TipMatic box and a slight press on the accelerator automatically releases the electronic park brake and the TGX is on its way.
Going along a mixture of motorway and A Roads the TGX takes everything in its stride, the new seat offers one of the best driving environments on the market. There’s hardly any in cab noise and the visibility is first class, via the mirrors or front and side windows.
While MAN has let the competition get ahead of it in terms of cab environment, technology and fuel efficiency over the past couple of years, the new TGX takes a step beyond many in all those areas and more.