ITOY Mercedes-Benz refreshes Atego & Axor
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At the forthcoming IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany Mercedes-Benz will introduce face-lifted versions of its Atego and Axor models that cover the mid-to-heavy duty segments. At the end of June, members of the ITOY jury got a sneak preview of the redesigned models as well as an exclusive first drive of the all-new second generation Atego Hybrid Blue Tec.

As the successor to the well-established LK range, the Atego made a high-profile debut into the marketplace back in 1998. At that time a total of 25 different basic types and 240 model variants were offered. In its initial years the Atego family stretched from just over 6 tonnes to 36 tonnes, which in effect took over the higher weight MK range also. Then in 2001, a change of strategy saw the Axor emerge which covered the upper segment of the heavy-duty distribution and fleet sector with gross vehicle weights of 18 to 40 tonnes. What it was, and remains really, is that the long Atego cab is paired with the chassis of the Actros. Axor has quickly gained a large following thanks to its reputation as both economical and powerful rigid and tractor-unit. The supermarket chains and petro-chemical distributors testify to this.

In 2004, after chalking up production figures of over 170,000 units a new edition of the Atego was launched. Apart from the cab modifications, a 6-speed Telligent automated gearshift was offered featuring class-leading Hill-hold - roll back lock. Visually, the Axor adopted an appearance similar to that of the heavy-duty Actros series and by 2006 both Blue Tec Euro 4 and Euro 5 engine emission controls were met.

The 2008 IAA Show saw the premier of the Atego Blue Tec Hybrid adding an interesting addition to the line-up that had already exceeded 250,000 units (since 1998).

A new chapter has now opened in the success story that is the Mercedes-Benz Atego. The multi-variant best seller in the 6.7/12/16 tonne distribution sector is continuing on this career path by offering a broad range of features and innovations.

The main characteristic visually of the new Atego is the new frontal design which falls in-line with the Actros – broad bar radiator grille that can be colour-coded ex-factory. When it comes to the interior of the driver‘s cab, which again is available in four sizes, all versions now feature a multi-function steering wheel as standard with remote controls for on-board info-display, telephone and audio. The instrument cluster has been revamped too, with chrome edges around the dials as well as instant connections to telematics or Sat-Nav systems. As per the Actros, new seat fabrics and integrated head-rests as well as a clothes rail are installed. Different types of storage options that include a fold-away table (for writing or eating), cool-box, as well as numerous cup holders and bottle holders are on the provisions list.

Customers can also choose from three Blue Tec Euro 5, 4 and 6 cylinder engines that cover from 129 hp to 286 hp. Stop/Start technology, which transfers over from the previous series can now be automatically engaged and to date over 3,000 operators are saving up to 3% in fuel consumption with this system.

Coinciding with the visual upgrades ala Actros and Atego, the new Axor gets the proven Mercedes-Benz Powershift automated transmission as standard. The 12-speed gearshift not only saves on fuel consumption but also lessens wear and tear on vital drive components. Axor‘s interior has been upgraded along the same lines as the Atego with the exception of the multi-function steering wheel, which is optionally available in leather. Engine power output ranges from 238 hp to 428 hp in Blue Tec Euro 5 form.