Would you ever use an 18t heavy-duty truck as your daily?
A mid-engine, 6-cylinder vehicle for daily use. Well, sort of
A few months ago, before the world exploded once again, I got a call from a friend asking me if I wanted to go to Modena to drive a "mid-engined 6-cylinder Mercedes" on the track. I said yes and when I got there I found an 18-ton truck waiting for me. "Well," my friend said. "It technically is a mid-engined 6-cylinder Mercedes". Very funny.
This is the latest (3rd gen) Mercedes Actros, apparently called the '1848', and it is indeed powered by a 6-cylinder engine mounted between the cabin and the rear wheels. The engine in question is a 12.8-litre diesel, putting out 450 hp and 1,623 lb-ft of torque and paired to a 12-speed automatic transmission.
The top speed is electronically limited to 56 mph and it is theoretically designed to accomodate 6 people, which makes it the perfect family vehicle. I've no idea how it compares with any other truck 'cause it's the only one driven but I can tell you that it is packed with technology and ADAS designed to make life easier for the driver. I know this is the most cliche of all cliches that ever cliched but it makes all the difference in the world with a truck like this because the average driver of this big-a*s thing is going to spend long hours at the wheel. This thing needs to be comfortable and user-friendly.
Wing mirrors have been replaced by MirrorCam cameras streaming live images of the outside world on two 15.2-inch displays on the A-pillars, including blind spots and wide angle areas. When you select reverse, 360-degree cameras will show you the surroundings and even when you're turning the wheel, cameras will follow your inputs showing relevant images. The system also shows you things like optimal entry range when you're turning the wheel, distance lines including lines that mark the end of the trailer.
There's a new Multimedia Cockpit with two interactive displays, 12.3'' and 10.25'' respectively, to replace the standard cluster integrating DAB radio, sat-nav for the route ahead, and Remote Truck App for operating many some of the features with your smartphone.
There are several stowage compartments. There's a 332-litre compartment above the windscreen, another beneath the bed with a capacity of up to 558 litres and an optional 26-l refrigerator. There's also a 2200 mm bed.
Private transport is defined by personal choice, you can go out there and buy whatever you like, but at the end of the day, geography and context make all the difference. There's no point buying EVs if the region you live it doesn't have a proper infrastructure, and there's no point buying big cars if you live in a country with small roads.
These days a lot of people are buying SUVs and crossovers, which is fine, and obviously you can't buy this truck unless you do this for living, but you can buy a van, which is the next best thing. And if you do buy an Actros, well, you can always tell people you drive a mid-engined, 450-PS Mercedes-Benz. It's what I keep telling everyone about the Actros.