In an exclusive first drive of the special edition Mercedes-Benz Actros1, Matthew Eisennegger finds out what drivers can expect.
With just 100 Actros1 units being produced by Mercedes-Benz, those lucky enough to get their hands on one will be part of an exclusive club. The new truck is targeted very much towards the owner driver market, or operators who are looking for a flagship vehicle for their fleet.
Available with the top-of-the-range flat floor GigaSpace cab – and configured as a 6×2 – the Actros1 is bristling with extras. The interior gets the Comfort leather seats complete with massage function for both driver and passenger and a row of extra lockers that provide an extra 50 litres of stowage, on top of the 1,044 litres available in the standard Gigaspace cab. These lockers sit above a single bunk that features a luxury comfort mattress, complete with Duralay topper and exclusive Actros1 bedding – all supplied in an Actros1 holdall. A nice touch and – to further enhance the exclusivity of the vehicle, each one has a plaque in the cab – from one to 100.
Each Actros1 is also supplied with a certificate of authenticity and a branded wrist watch. Apple’s CarPlay function has been added – allowing drivers to take their own entertainment with them and played though a seven-speaker sound system with a 100w subwoofer.
Available in either Actros Black or Actros Silver and adorned with exclusive stylish Actros1 livery, the truck does look pretty special. The exterior gets roof-mounted air horns, colour-matched side guards and, for owner drivers and operators that have a penchant for light bars, the Actros1 is already pre-wired to avoid any unnecessary cutting.
Engine-wise, there is a choice of the 15.8-litre OM473 with 630bhp and 3,000Nm of torque at 1,100 rpm, or the smaller 12.8-litre OM471 (530bhp and 2,600Nm at 1100rpm). Both of these engines are mated to Merc’s PowerShift 3 transmission.
Taking the wellbeing of drivers to heart, the Actros1 is supplied with the safety pack and features enhanced safety-related technologies such as in-cab smoke detectors, tyre pressure monitor systems and – last but not least – Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA4), which detects the movement of pedestrians supplying partial braking at truck speeds of up to 30mph.
Mercedes-Benz Actros1 – On The Road
The CVDriver test route starts on the northbound side of Charnock Richard services on the M6 before heading north to the M65, then east and climbing towards Blackburn. We then dropped off the M65 at J8 and headed up the long drag on the A56 (Ramsbottom) before picking up the M66 south towards Simister island. Then onto the M60 for a clockwise lap of Manchester and onto Stockport and the M56 heading west out towards Lymm before heading back onto the M6 northbound back to the services.
The Mercedes-Benz test vehicle, as you would expect, was the higher-powered 15.8-litre, 630bhp lump. With the push of a button, the OM473 sprang to life with nothing more than a distant hum. Once ticking over, ‘Drive’ on the PowerShift 3 transmission is selected by simply turning the stalk mounted switch to ‘D’ and it’s brakes off and away we go. Actros1 is very quiet – some would argue too quiet, as some drivers don’t want to feel detached from the vehicle. But for us it’s like a little piece of tranquillity, allowing greater levels of concentration.
Once clear of the slip road and onto the main carriageway, we get a chance to set the vehicle up with the Proximity Control Assist. With a little bit of practice you can sync the assist system to the cruise control, setting a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front. Another really handy feature of Proximity Control Assist is in traffic, when the system automatically lets the truck creep along and stops when the vehicle does. When the vehicle in front starts to move again, the Actros1 moves away by itself. Another system put to good use was Predictive Power Control, which is linked to GPS and uses topography of the road ahead to ensure the vehicle is always in the correct gear relative to speed and the inclination of the road.
The test route offered a real mix of weather from bright sunshine to near blizzard conditions, but on the higher parts of the A56 going over the West Pennines, the 630 horses made light work of the long climbs. Activated by the right hand column stork the engine brake offers sure footed additional braking without the aid of the service brakes.
In order to ensure vehicle reliability, the Actros1 also benefits from Mercedes-Benz Uptime, an on-board live diagnostic system that offers a permanent link to the company’s Customer Assistance Centre, to which Information is constantly been delivered from 400 sensors on the vehicle, so if a problem is beginning to manifest itself it can be diagnosed, reported and corrected well before it starts to affect the reliability of the vehicle.
The Actros1 is provided with a Mercedes-Benz Complete with Uptime Service Contract for a period of two years or 340,000km, whichever comes first. The Service Contract includes a full repair and maintenance provision, with the Mercedes-Benz uptime product and zero tolerance on downtime promise.
The Actros1 is a very special piece of equipment and with only 100 being built, it adds to the vehicle’s exclusivity. It drives well and is an absolutely cavernous cab – you would have to look long and hard to find a driver that didn’t like the big space. The important thing to remember is that the Actros1 showcases the very latest in product development from Mercedes-Benz and its many of the ‘unseen’ features that make the vehicle special.