The old adage about the fact that there is no replacement for displacement used to be a very useful indicator. A truck would need a big block and plenty of horses to get up to speed and to hold speed. However, those engines did not have the kind of torque curves we are seeing in the modern electronically controlled engine.
However, the new Scania 540, which PowerTorque tested pulling a fully loaded B-double may make truck buyers think again. The torque available on the 540 hp 13 litre engine, at 2700 Nm, equates to 1991 ft lb, above the old gold standard for torque, set by those old big block US engines which were the making of Australian trucking, at 1850 ft lb.
Scania has released a higher horsepower version of its 13 litre Euro 6 engine this year. This new engine represents an upgrade on the original engine fitted with the release of the latest Scania range a couple of years back. With the new 540 hp engine’s introduction, it is now possible to get a Scania prime mover with an extra 40 hp and 150 Nm of torque, coupled with the weight and cost savings of the 13-litre engine, when compared to the heavier V8 at 500 hp.
Going on the experience of this test drive, it would not be a stretch for a set up like this to be able to cope with HML running at 68 tonne GCM for a good proportion of its working life. With peak torque available between 1000 and 1300 rpm, there is no sense that the drive train is anywhere near its capacity limit, when driving this particular combination.
The other indicator that a truck is nearing its limitations is when it fails to keep up with the truck traffic around it. Again, this B-double was hanging in there with the best of them on the undulating Hume Highway heading south out of Sydney and then back north on the homeward leg.
This is a familiar feeling in this truck, one of the whole combination doing it easy. Of course, this is not just a Scania thing, modern trucks, especially when they have enough torque, coupled with well adjusted AMT transmissions to handle the task don’t appear to be struggling.
Letting the truck do its own thing, i.e. turn on all of the automatic systems at the same time, may be anathema to some of the truck driving brethren, but it is the way to get the best out of a truck like this. This also makes driving a much more relaxed experience overall.
Getting on Board
Sitting in the driver’s seat is the driver is confronted with an intelligent cabin layout. On which appeared a couple of years ago in these models. Many of the features will be well known to anybody who has driven a Scania, but improvements like the repositioning of the drivers seat to improve visibility show that the Swedish truck maker continues to move forward.
From the driver’s seat one of the first things catches the eye is the large screen for the infotainment system. These kinds of things are becoming normal features it all new trucks on the market with interfaces with the online maps, telephone, cameras and other safety systems already built-in.
One of the aspects of Scania design is its consistency. Over many years, from driving trucks made by the company in the 80s, most of the commonly used switches and controls are in a similar geographical location, going back in the days of the old 140 models. This appears to be part of the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ philosophy which is common across the Scania brand.
The only major control which has moved in this latest model are the light switches, which have migrated from the dashboard to the top of the driver’s door. This means that Scania remain number one in the competition to achieve the most switches situated on a truck door in the Australian market.
This is a modern truck and therefore there are plenty of USB sockets around on the dashboard and around the cabin.
The dashboard directly in front of the driver is well designed and very clearly readable. Speed is available both from a speedometer and from a digital readout. There is also a number of customisable areas at the top of the display, where the driver can pick the kinds of information they would like to have available to them all of the time.