With the announcement of a new set of models from Western Star, Diesel looks at the X-factor which is now part of a new Star rising.
The release of the Western Star 49X sees the brand in the US bring all of the latest technology from the Daimler group into the design of this one truck.
The announcement took place, virtually, launching the truck onto the US market, with a new look and a new model classification. Immediately after this global launch, Diesel got an exclusive interview with David Carson, Senior Vice President Vocational Segment Western Star to get the latest on this new model and when it’s likely to arrive here in Australia.
The 49X is a radical overhaul of the Western Star platform and sees all of the major components either replaced or upgraded significantly throughout the truck. The 49X has a new, stronger, but lighter, chassis design and also includes a new modular cabin design, which is likely to be included in the upgrades of other Western Star models down the track.
Another radical change is the inclusion in the new models of the Detroit DT 12 automatic manual transmission. This is the US development based on the Daimler group’s AMT, which is also used in the Mercedes-Benz Actros and the Freightliner Cascadia. This means that the Western Star will be coming into line with the Daimler policy elsewhere in the group of having a driveline available, which is sourced from within the group itself.
The DT12 Vocational series of transmissions include side PTO capabilities that allow for added flexibility, and application modes and shift map strategies for all types of terrain. There is a Rock-Free Mode allowing the 49X to free itself from wheel stuck situations, an Off-Road Mode enables smooth driving on extreme terrain, Power Launch provides powerful takeoffs while protecting the clutch and driveline, and a Paver Mode which allows the truck to shift from Neutral to Drive without depressing the brake pedal when pulling away.
The new model also includes what is known as Detroit Assurance 5.0, the complete electronic safety package, which has been developed by Daimler to be offered in all of its trucks. This system included features new to the brand like Side Guard Assist (SGA), Active Brake Assist 5 (ABA5), Tailgate Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to zero km/h, Lane Departure Warning, Video Capture, Intelligent High-Beam and Automatic Wipers and Headlamps.
The main engines on offer are the DD16 and DD13, which have had a successful run in both the Freightliner Cascadia, and also, in a European guise, in the OM473, which is fitted in the high power Actros models. This engine is renowned for its fuel economy and smooth application of power, especially when coupled with the group’s AMT.
“We’ll offer multiple options in transmissions, where we have invested $100 million in development of our DT12 vocational transmission,” says David Carson. “We will also offer other engine options which come from outside of the Daimler family. There will be other engine and transmission options like Cummins, Allison and also different features which the market in Australia is accustomed to using.”
However, the test trucks which are going to be brought to Australia to test out the functionality of the new models in our conditions, will all have Detroit engines, DD13 and DD16, and the Detroit transmission, although some may use the Allison auto box. Currently, there is quite a large proportion of Western Stars being sold with Cummins engines on board, but the Penske organisation in Australia expects the DD16’s performance to sway a number of those Cummins loyalists across to the new engine.