This road test of the latest Superliner from Mack looks at the more sophisticated electronic architecture in the Anthem, which comes as part of the package. There is not just the new Mack Anthem model itself, but it is also modernising the rest of the Mack offering in Australia.
The Superliner has become a popular model in the conventional heavy prime mover market, finding favour with operators looking for the high power option of the 685hp MP10, driving through the M-Drive AMT.
This truck on test is set up exactly as a Mack enthusiast would want it. On the bonnet it a gold bulldog (in this instance, replaced with a black dog to go with the paint job) and this denotes the full Mack proprietary driveline.
The MP10 engine in the the Superliner and Titan has delivered the kind of engine Mack buyers are looking for. Any initial skepticism about an engine coming from the Volvo Group stable has disappeared with a set-up which delivers good torque and power at the right rpm in the right amount.
The ability of the engine to hang on at relatively low revs and continuing to push through when needed, has got the engine over the line. When it first arrived in Australia, the mDrive was also met with a similar skepticism, much of which has dissipated in the last few years.
Any doubters may be brought into the AMT fold by the latest transmission fitted in this Superliner. By going to the latest version of these electronics, Mack can now access the HD mDrive AMT as well as the XHD, with the benefit of deep reduction gears. By introducing the crawler gears now available, the truck gets a much improved startability performance, for that low speed high mass work these kinds of trucks may well be used for. The communication between driveline components and the rest of the truck is much improved and much swifter.
The 685 hp (504kW) 16 litre engine may sometimes give the impression it may be a little bit lazy, but that impression is soon dismissed as it holds on at high masses while still relatively low on the tachometer. Torque comes out at 3186Nm (2350 ft lb) of torque and feeds into the Volvo Group rear end, with 3.78:1 ratio final drive ratio, all sitting on the group’s eight bag rear air suspension.
This particular model is rated up to 90 tonnes GCM, and running out on the roads around Boulia and Winton, the engine deals with the undulations in this country pulling over 80 tonnes, in top gear at 90 km/h and at 1350rpm. There’s plenty left under the driver’s right foot when an injection of power and torque were needed to get up and over the undulations. without missing a beat and rarely dropping down a gear.
For higher mass rating, up to 150 tonnes, the truck would probably go out to a heavier rear end, but would still only need to use a single reduction transmission, avoiding the need to go to a hub reduction on the drives.