by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

The new Mercedes-Benz Atego Euro VI: The new benchmark in short-radius distribution

- Seven Euro VI engines with four or six cylinders and between 115 kW (156 hp) and 220 kW (299 hp), delivering significantly improved economy
- Redesigned comfort cab provides a workplace with perfect ergonomics for the driver in four different variants
- Stability Control Assist and daytime running lamps as standard
- New Mercedes PowerShift 3 eight-speed automatic transmission for engines from 175 kW (238 hp) to 220 kW (299 hp)
- Optional permanent magnet retarder provides wear-free braking as further support to new exhaust brake
- New suspension combines maximum handling safety with good comfort
- Extends benchmark position in the segment from 6.5 t to 16 t perm. GVW

The fourth and last member of the Mercedes-Benz truck family to undergo a complete makeover is the new Mercedes-Benz Atego with Euro VI, now coming on stage to continue its successful career as a bestseller in the short-radius distribution segment from 6.5 to 16 t permissible gross vehicle weight (perm. GVW).

This new version of the European market-leading Mercedes-Benz Atego retains its benchmark position in the light- and mediumweight truck segment with regard to quality, reliability, repair and maintenance costs as well as durability. Indeed, this lead has now been extended even further by the introduction of numerous innovations in relation to the drive system, chassis and cab.

High-tech drive units bring significant improvements in economy

At the heart of the new Atego drive system are two completely redesigned BlueEfficieny Power Euro VI engines with state-of-the-art design features that mark them out as representing the absolute pinnacle in engine design. A total of seven new Euro VI engine variants can be combined with a wide range of transmissions in either manual or automated versions to suit all power categories, so ensuring that the ideal match will always be found for any specific requirement profile that may arise in short-radius distribution operations.

In its light-duty variants, the Atego features the newly designed BlueEfficiency Power four-cylinder engines with a displacement of 5.1 litres from the OM 934 series, in a choice of four different power categories. These state-of-the-art four-valve engines with two overhead camshafts and adjustable exhaust valve timing perfectly cover the performance range from 115 kW (156 hp) to 170 kW (231 hp) needed in short-radius distribution. In addition, the Mercedes-Benz Atego is available with a choice of three newly designed six-cylinder OM 936 common rail units with a performance range from 175 kW (238 hp) to 220 kW (299 hp) and a displacement of 7.7 litres.

Offering exceptionally high torque even at low revs, these extremely responsive Euro VI engines consume significantly less fuel, despite particulate and NOx emissions that have been reduced by 90 percent compared with Euro V, whilst also benefiting from longer service intervals. They meet the forthcoming emissions standard thanks to a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system and a compact exhaust box that neatly integrates an SCR system as well as a closed-loop particulate filter. The use of sophisticated BlueTec 6 exhaust treatment technology has led to a 50 percent reduction in AdBlue consumption compared with the engine's Euro V predecessors.

ESP and automated transmissions as standard

The driving power of the new engines is transmitted via Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions with either six or eight gears – these are fitted as standard in Germany. The recently introduced eight-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission makes automated shifting available even with the largest engines. Power-assisted manual gear shifting with six or nine gears may be ordered for the new Atego as an option. The control lever for the manual transmission is ergonomically positioned directly on the slope of the instrument panel, making it highly accessible.

The drive system configuration of the new Atego includes Stability Control Assist – the system known as ESP in passenger cars – as standard. A newly designed, two-stage high-performance decompression engine brake, which in the case of the six-cylinder engine is optionally available with a power rating of up to 300 kW, works in conjunction with the electronically controlled disc brakes on all axles to deliver optimum handling safety. Uniquely in this application class, Mercedes-Benz offers the wear-free permanent magnet retarder with 650 Nm of braking torque for the new Atego on an ex factory basis, so providing powerful additional support for the complete braking system.

Visually, too, a member of the new generation of trucks

With the arrival of the new Atego, the medium-duty short-radius distribution truck in the 6.5 t to 16 t GVWR segment, the new truck generation from Mercedes-Benz is now complete. In appearance, too, the new Atego fits neatly into a line-up that already includes the Mercedes-Benz Actros, Antos and Arocs model series. A new bumper design with integrated daytime running lamps (an LED version is available as an option) defines the characteristic face of the Atego and, for all its clear individual identity, marks it out immediately as a member of today's Mercedes-Benz truck family.

Inside the Atego cab, the driver will find a completely redesigned interior with a cockpit design that, in terms of styling and functionality, has been aligned with that of the Actros, Antos and Arocs. The central instrument with its large, clear graphic display, a multifunction steering wheel as standard – optionally available in leather, seats in a new design featuring integrated head restraints and armrests (in conjunction with Mercedes PowerShift 3) and a one-piece 7-zone cold foam mattress as an option are just a few examples of what to expect in the new Atego. To cope with the challenges posed by the growing complexity of short-radius distribution operations, the new Atego offers the possibility of integrating multimedia devices, along with the added functionality provided by the new electric/electronics concept.

Broad range of variants for diverse applications

With a comprehensive range of improvements to its chassis, rear suspension and cab mounting, along with a new steering system, the new Atego sets new standards for driving dynamics, handling safety and comfort. A total of 42 different model variants, covering a wide range of wheelbase lengths, three cab lengths and all-wheel-drive versions, meet all customer needs and requirement profiles in the short-radius distribution segment.

II. The new Mercedes-Benz Atego: new benchmark in a vehicle class that calls for high level of versatility

- Excellent overall economic efficiency
- Service Intervals of up to 120,000 km

The new Mercedes-Benz Atego represents the logical continuation of a successful career as the European market leader in its segment for this medium-duty truck model series. Outstanding consumption figures for its completely re-engineered BlueEfficiency Power in-line engines, which cover an output range from 115 kW (156 hp) to 220 kW (299 hp), new Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions across all power categories and an overall vehicle concept that has been fully updated and optimised, make the new Atego the benchmark in the light-duty short-range distribution sector.

The new cab, which has been further developed to meet the requirements of light-duty short-range distribution operations and, in terms of design, perceived value and equipment and appointments, is absolutely on a par with the heavy-duty class. The systematic use of lightweight construction techniques, state-of-the-art engine technology and a drive system configured for specific applications, help the new Mercedes-Benz Atego to achieve record figures for consumption, performance and overall economic efficiency.

With longer service intervals of up to 120,000 km, made possible by the new dynamic maintenance calculator, cost-effective service and maintenance offers, plus the proverbial reliability of any Mercedes-Benz truck, the new star in the light-duty truck segment is able to deliver a significant impact on overall economic efficiency in demanding distribution operations.

III. The new cab: sophisticated Mercedes-Benz design with persuasive inner values

- High recognition factor for new vehicle design
- Ensuring and improving the driver's wellbeing: state-of-the-art ergonomic workplace with top-grade equipment and instruments
- New berth concept with one-piece cold-foam 3-zone mattresses
- Numerous optional extras and pre-wired interfaces make further individualisation possible

The Mercedes-Benz Atego is a fully fledged member of the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz trucks. The exterior styling reflects that of the heavy-duty model series, while the interior of the new Atego offers a cab concept that is unrivalled in its high quality appeal, ergonomics and practicality. A wide range of available options means that the vehicle can be further customised to suit individual tastes.

The signals sent by the exterior of the new Mercedes-Benz Atego are unequivocal: the new benchmark in the short-range distribution class has now arrived on the international market for light- and medium-duty trucks. From the very first glance it is clear that the new Atego is a typical Mercedes-Benz: the contemporary-looking, aerodynamically optimised front end of the new Atego cab resembles that of its brand colleagues in the heavy-duty class, the Antos, Arocs and Actros, without losing any of the individual character of the successful Atego.

The ornamental grille on the front, dominated by three dynamically downward-pointing horizontal louvres, sports a conspicuous central Mercedes star with an impressive diameter of 280 millimetres.

The dynamic design of the completely redesigned front apron incorporates the re-drawn front headlamps, into which the indicator lamps and standard daytime running lamps (LED version as an option) have been integrated. Air deflector panels on the side, incorporated to cope with the specific demands made on short-radius distribution vehicles, complement the overall aerodynamic appeal of the Atego while at the same time ensuring that the side windows remain clear at all times, even in poor weather conditions.

Full practicality for everyday use in the demanding distribution sector

For all such stylistic refinements, the designers made sure they did not lose sight of the practical aspects in their work on the cab of the new Atego. A particularly broad step frame at the front, for example, offers a secure footing when cleaning the windows. The wide steps on the side, which merge seamlessly into the front apron, provide further evidence of the new Atego's particularly practical orientation. The stepped form of access used here makes getting into the cab especially easy.

Further assets in relation to boarding the European bestseller Atego: for numerous variants of the 6.5 – 16.5 tonne perm. GVW Mercedes-Benz Atego, one step is still sufficient for entering the cab – an indisputable ergonomic benefit to someone who has to get in and out of the vehicle up to a hundred times a day in inner-city operations. The redesigned doors, which open to an angle of up to 90 degrees, allow plenty of freedom of movement, so adding to the convenience for both driver and co-driver when getting into or out of the cab.

The new Atego cab heralds a whole new era for short-radius distribution trucks. With a perfectly coordinated mixture of fast, unobstructed access through to the co-driver's side when fitted with automatic transmission, outstanding ergonomics for the driver's workplace and an interior design that is geared towards practical needs, Mercedes-Benz is entering new territory in an application category where normally sober functionality holds sway.

All new Mercedes-Benz Atego models sold on the German market feature Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions as standard, operated by an ergonomically positioned steering-column lever. Those customers who take the manual transmission option are also able to benefit from further improved ergonomics in the cockpit: the new cable-operated and power-assisted shift lever in the new Atego sits in a high-quality leather gaiter located on the slope of the instrument panel adjacent to the steering wheel. The new gearshift configuration thus takes drivers' differing heights into account and remains outstandingly user-friendly.

New driver's seats with integrated head restraints, swivelling armrests and a generous adjustment range ensure that all drivers, whatever their stature, can sit comfortably.

High-quality interior in the style of the Actros and Antos

The cockpit, with its dark design tone throughout and high-class appeal, also picks up numerous design cues from the heavy-duty model series.

The instrument panel, in night black with a centrally positioned clear graphic display, white back-lit analogue instruments, steering column shift lever and ergonomically optimised buttons and switches, reflects current thinking in terms of Mercedes-Benz design. The new trim and colour concept, involving yellow illumination for the control switches, chrome trim for the radio and speedometer, and chrome-look door handles, adds striking visual highlights to the vehicle interior.

The new multifunction steering wheel is a standard feature on all variants, with a leather-upholstered version that is more pleasant to the touch as an optional extra. Vehicle checks are undertaken directly from the driver's seat via an on-board computer that is also part of the standard specification of all new Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks. The functionality of the new built-in radio, which includes CD player, Bluetooth interface (although not on TCC Low, only TCC Mid) and USB socket can be extended with the addition of a preinstallation kit that allows audio playback through the vehicle loudspeakers from multimedia devices and smartphones connected this way.

Navigation devices and/or MP3 players may be connected via a 12 volt socket and a connecting jack for the on-board loudspeaker system located on the instrument panel. Follow-me-home lighting, adaptive brake lights and one-touch turn signalling are among the new convenience features that are now possible with the new Atego central electronics system. A connection to the FleetBoard transport management system is also simple to set up through a corresponding preinstalled interface.

Comfortable driving even on long trips

Four different cab variants in three different lengths add up to a multitude of options that provide the scope to configure the new Atego for any specific area of operation. Available cabs include the ClassicSpace S-cab in normal and long versions, the ClassicSpace L-cab and the BigSpace L-cab – all four in the ideal width of 2.30 metres – perfect for the restricted traffic situations in which distribution vehicles so often have to operate. For special applications such as firefighting, municipal use or highway services, the Atego is also available with a six-seater crewcab.

Atego drivers are, of course, not only to be found undertaking day-to-day deliveries in inner-city areas. Around a third of all journeys undertaken in the Atego segment are on motorways and often involve longer trips, sometimes over several days. Providing comfortable accommodation for those drivers who sleep in their vehicles, a new berth concept has been developed for the new Atego. A one-piece berth with a 7-zone cold-foam mattress ensures that drivers can relax in comfort, even when away from home. The optionally available upper berth is easy to put in place thanks to a very straightforward levelling system and the integrated spirit level.

The consistently high quality of the equipment and appointments on the new Atego is not only beneficial in terms of the long-term retention of the vehicle's value. It is also clear evidence of the importance given to the role of the driver in light-duty short-radius distribution operations.

The various measures undertaken to enhance comfort and improve the ergonomics of the vehicle – e.g. air conditioning, noise reduction, seats, berth – help to counteract the early onset of drowsiness on the part of the driver and ensure that he remains physiologically fit.

IV. The new engines: BlueEfficiency Power units in Euro VI for a wide range of applications

- Fuel consumption in Euro VI version up to five percent lower in conjunction with significantly improved performance
- Finely graduated range of compact four and six-cylinder engines matched to specific applications
- Effortless performance with high-torque engine characteristics
- Robust high-tech construction extends operating life by 20 percent
- Innovative BlueTec 6 exhaust gas technology with optimised AdBlue consumption and automatic filter regeneration
- Engine braking effect improved by 50 percent
- Service intervals extended to as much as 120,000 km (in long-distance haulage operations)

At the heart of the new Mercedes-Benz Atego models are two completely new BlueEfficiency Power engines with four and six cylinders respectively, delivering an output that ranges from 115 kW (156 hp) to 220 kW (299 hp). These state-of-the-art drive units combine low fuel consumption with extremely low emissions. The higher output and torque are impressive but so, too, is their significantly improved responsiveness across the full performance range.

Both the new basic engines, the OM 934 four-cylinder unit with a displacement of 5.1 litres as well as the 7.7-litre six-cylinder OM 936, have been newly developed from scratch. The advantages of developing a new BlueEfficiency Power engine series rather than further developing the existing basic engines to meet the forthcoming Euro VI standard are obvious: an uncompromising engineering focus on meeting the relevant emissions standards and at the same time on achieving optimum performance in terms of drivability, performance, economy and operating life.

While the smaller of the two engines, the OM 934, is being premiered in the new Atego, the OM 936 is already to be found in the Actros, Antos and Arocs.

BlueEfficiency Power engines from a state-of-the-art modular system

The new in-line engines score top marks in their class in every respect right from the word go. Their undisputed benchmark position has been made possible by the use of sophisticated technology that had, until now, only ever appeared in this form in the heavy-duty classes of truck. With a dry weight of less than 500 kilograms, the exceptionally weight-optimised OM 934 four-cylinder unit is, like its larger equivalent the OM 936, based on a modular system involving a significant number of common parts.

Particular features of the design, such as the composite camshafts with shrunk-on cams, forged and bolted conrods, as well as a crankshaft designed to be exceptionally rigid, reveal not only their genetic links to the large engine series but also make very clear: these engines are designed for a long, successful and efficient working life.

Savings of two percent from the engine alone

The design, involving two overhead camshafts, four valves and two intake as well as two outlet ducts, arranged in parallel in each crossflow cylinder head, marks out this new generation of engines as a highly sophisticated example of automotive engine design. In terms of output and engine characteristics, the new engines have been specifically designed to perform well across their normal operating range involving a mixture of urban and inter-city driving. High ignition pressures of more than 200 bar in conjunction with a state-of-the-art common rail injection system with an operating pressure of 2400 bar help the two Euro VI in-line engines to deliver significantly improved fuel consumption figures, with savings of two percent from the engine alone compared with the previous engines.

Variable injection timing furthermore facilitates immediate cold starting even when the temperature outside is positively arctic.

The use of newly developed sophisticated technology at every opportunity has resulted in record figures for performance, emission characteristics and economy hitherto unseen in this application class. The new solenoid valve injectors with ten-hole nozzles allow optimum injection, so that a precisely measured quantity of fuel is injected at the ideal moment into the stepped recesses of the splash oil-cooled aluminium pistons. With a specific output of up to 33.8 kW/l (46 hp/l) these new drive units, with their long-stroke configuration and cooled exhaust gas recirculation, can be counted among the most efficient of all diesel engines.The new 5.1-litre four-cylinder unit, for example, even in the entry-level version with 115 kW (156 hp), offers impressive top torque of 650 Nm, which is consistently available right across the main operating range of between 1200 and 1600 rpm. Above this, in the engine speed range from 1600 to 2500 rpm, around 90 percent of the peak output is available.

The high torque in the lower and mid engine speed range is thus complemented by the maximum output available above this point and up to the rated engine speed to ensure optimum driving power across the full operating spectrum.

Finely graduated output for the weight-optimised four-cylinder unit

The new Mercedes-Benz Atego is thus faster and more dynamic in the way it goes about its daily business, and significantly more economical as well. The light-duty truck segment demands a high level of versatility and the engine range offers a variant to suit the requirements of a multitude of different applications. A finely graduated range of BlueEfficiency Power four-cylinder units with four power ratings – 115 kW (156 hp), 130 kW (177 hp), 155 kW (211 hp) and 170 kW (231 hp), covers all the horsepower variants most commonly sought in short-radius distribution operations with either a solo unit or a light-duty drawbar combination.

The constant availability of impressive torque of between 650 and 900 Nm offered by the OM 934 at engine speeds over 1200 rpm qualifies the new Mercedes-Benz Atego as the torquiest representative of its application class. The overall performance of the new four-cylinder engine thus even manages to match the figures for the six-cylinder unit in the 900 engine series that has been available until now.

The Mercedes-Benz OM 934 is available in four output and torque categories:

Output / Torque

115 kW (156 hp) at 2200 rpm / 650 at 1200 – 1600 rpm
130 kW (177 hp) at 2200 rpm / 750 at 1200 – 1600 rpm
155 kW (211 hp) at 2200 rpm / 850 at 1200 – 1600 rpm
170 kW (231 hp) at 2200 rpm / 900 at 1200 – 1600 rpm

Powerful six-cylinder with robust response from the lower engine speed range

Picking up seamlessly where the very compactly built four-cylinder engine leaves off comes the output spectrum offered by the 7.7-litre OM 936 six-cylinder in-line unit. With three closely graduated ratings of 175 kW (238 hp), 200 kW (272 hp) and 220 kW (299 hp) and peak torque of between 1000 Nm and 1200 Nm, the dual-camshaft engine finds its place in all important output categories relevant for light-duty distribution operations and, in some cases, even for the particularly demanding medium-duty distribution sector.

The Mercedes-Benz OM 936 is available in three output and torque categories:

Output / Torque

175 kW (238 hp) at 2200 rpm / 1000 at 1200 – 1600 rpm
200 kW (272 hp) at 2200 rpm / 1100 at 1200 – 1600 rpm
220 kW (299 hp) at 2200 rpm / 1200 at 1200 – 1600 rpm

Like its bigger brothers in the OM 47x engine series, the six-cylinder single-turbocharger unit relies on an asymmetric turbine. Common to all engines is the use of an electronically controlled wastegate valve to regulate the charge pressure. Precise control of the charge pressure improves engine response during acceleration as well as during engine braking.

Optimised coolant circuit

Both engine series are ideally equipped for technically demanding operations as fully fledged Euro VI units by an optimised coolant circuit that uses a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system to keep the higher operating temperatures efficiently under control. Because the water pump is now mounted on the side of the engine, while the mechanism for the valve control and oil pump has been moved further back, both these BlueTec 6 engines manage to retain the compact exterior dimensions of the predecessor units despite their larger displacement and coolant circuit.

Saving space

Saving space was also a priority when it came to the emission control system necessary to comply with the Euro VI standard that comes into effect on 1 January 2014. Quite apart from the in-engine exhaust gas recirculation, this system involves an oxidation catalytic converter, a closed-loop particulate filter, AdBlue injection and an SCR catalytic converter with so-called slip catalytic converter, operated in sequence. The BlueTec 6 filter systems, compactly installed in an exhaust box, are controlled via an electronic system that regulates the emission control system as needed according to a multitude of engine and operating parameters.

The Aftertreatment Control Module (ACM) finds its counterpart in the Motor Converter Module (MCM), which is responsible for controlling all important functions of the engine from injection through to the engine brake. This extremely precise engine management system is an important factor in the improvement of two percent that has been achieved, despite Euro VI exhaust gas technology, in the fuel consumption of the BlueEfficiency Power engines compared with their Euro V predecessors from the successful and proven 900 engine series. Taking all optimisation measures into account, the new Mercedes-Benz Atego delivers a reduction in fuel consumption of up to five percent compared with its tried and tested predecessors.

Improved economy through reductions in fuel consumption

The quantity of AdBlue that needs to be injected has also been reduced by half to just 2 to 2.5 percent of the fuel consumed, thanks to the low engine emissions and the intelligent exhaust gas aftertreatment. This lower consumption also plays its part in the impressive overall economical performance of the new Mercedes-Benz Atego. The systematic focus on achieving optimised economy, in conjunction with significant improvements in performance, takes the two new BlueTec 6 in-line engines under the Atego cab to a clear benchmark position in this application category as a whole.

One example of the rigorous integration efforts made with respect to the engine and exhaust gas aftertreatment is the regeneration of the diesel particulate filter, in other words the regular burn-off of soot particles filtered out of the exhaust gas. In order to achieve this, the engine temporarily increases the temperature of the exhaust gas. An injection of fuel is then made downstream of the engine via the HC doser. In a catalytic combustion process within the oxidation catalytic converter, this fuel causes heat to be released. This in turn raises the temperature of the exhaust gas once again, taking it to the temperature needed for the burn-off of the filtered soot particles. In order to achieve this, the various measures relating to the engine (camshaft adjustment with VCP plus multiple injections to increase the temperature of the exhaust gas) and to the exhaust gas aftertreatment system (HC metering and mixing with the exhaust gas, plus selection of the surface finish and precious metal coating of the oxidation catalytic converter) have been perfectly coordinated with one another. The result: automatic regeneration of the particulate filter is possible in virtually every conceivable operating mode, even at outside temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. This therefore practically eliminates the need for forced regeneration of the particulate filter involving the vehicle standing with its engine running – an invaluable benefit for vehicles operating in the urban distribution sector. The Atego driver can simply get on with his round, without being held up in any way by the regeneration process.

World premiere in a diesel engine: adjustable exhaust camshaft

The adjustable exhaust camshaft, or VCP (Variable Camshaft Phaser) is used here in a series-production diesel engine as a world-first. The hydraulically operated, variable camshaft adjuster allows the exhaust valves to open earlier if so required. Hotter exhaust gas escapes into the exhaust duct, thus also helping with the regeneration of the particulate filter while on the move or at outside temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. No impact is therefore felt during driving.

A new maintenance monitor contributes to ensuring that there are fewer interruptions to productive transport work. This calculates the necessary service intervals by taking into account the specific working and operating conditions of the vehicle. In long-distance operations, it is possible for the new Mercedes-Benz Atego to run for up to 120,000 kilometres before needing its next scheduled service. This is 20,000 kilometres more than was the case for its predecessor and the best in this class. In terms of oil consumption, too, the new Atego is emphatically frugal. The sophisticated BlueTec 6 engines require only half as much lubricant as their predecessors from the 900 series.

But it is not only with their economical and dynamic traction that these latest Atego engines achieve top scores. Their engine braking performance represents a further highlight in the short-radius distribution class. Just as in the case of the larger-displacement OM 470, OM 471 and OM 473 units, the new OM 934 and OM 936 Atego engines feature a double-synchronised decompression engine brake. The four-cylinder variants offer retarding performance of 145 kW or, as an option, 170 kW. The six-cylinder models, with a displacement of 7.7 litres, can mobilise a retarding performance of 235 kW in the standard specification and as much as 300 kW in the optionally available premium variant. The maximum engine braking effect in the 93x engine series surpasses that of the constant-throttle engine brake in the previous series by some 75 percent. In the lower engine-speed range the advantages of the new system are even significantly greater. The performance of the engine brake of the new four-cylinder unit exceeds that of the Euro V six-cylinder unit, while the new six-cylinder moves into a dimension that until now has been the sole territory of large-displacement heavy-duty engines.

Use of the new engine brake has a clear positive impact on the disc brakes that are fitted on all axles, in terms both of brake lining wear and of thermal management. Compared with the previous model, the engine braking power of the new decompression brake has increased by around 50 percent, while it also helps to enhance safety and ride comfort considerably, as well as minimising wear and tear. For heavy-duty operations, where a trailer is frequently attached, Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer in the distribution-vehicle sector to offer a permanent magnet retarder with additional wear-free braking torque of 650 Nm. The advantage of the retarder over the engine brake, apart from the further improved retarding performance, lies in the increased comfort as a result of being able to drive at lower engine speeds.

The pronounced dynamic temperament of the new high-tech engines with their robust performance even at low engine speeds also means that longer rear-axle ratios can be applied as standard, with a concomitant positive impact on the overall economic efficiency of the vehicle. All in all, the new state-of-the-art in-line engines demonstrate overall performance characteristics that until now could only be achieved by engines with a significantly larger displacement. The new Mercedes-Benz Atego sets new standards in its class in this respect.

V. New transmissions and drive system: automatically good at changing gear

- New Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions (as standard for the German market) with shortened shift times and application-oriented transmission modes
- Manual transmission with power-assisted cable shift as an option
- Flat-built transmission with creep mode for use in municipal vehicles
- EcoRoll coasting mode on all Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission variants reduces fuel consumption
- New power take-off points on the front end and on the flywheel side
- Permanent or manually selectable all-wheel drive with new transfer case

The introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz Atego also marks the arrival of a new generation of transmissions with six, eight or nine gears. The standard specification for the German market of Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions in all output and weight categories makes the new Atego Euro VI a trendsetter in the light-duty truck sector.

For specific applications in the municipal sector or in off-road operations there is the possibility to choose between permanent and manually selectable all-wheel drive. Power take-off points at the front of the engine as well as at the transmission end turn the Atego into a multifunctional operator.

The new Mercedes-Benz Atego also sets new standards for its class as far as transmission technology is concerned. As the only manufacturer to do so, Mercedes-Benz has equipped the new all-rounder in the short-radius distribution sector with an automated manual transmission in all output categories as standard in Germany. This innovative step brings more than simply added convenience for hard-stretched drivers operating in an urban context. The consistently high standard of gearshifting offered by the automated transmissions, even in stressful inner-city traffic, ensures that the vehicle is always in the correct gear. The various transmission modes, matched precisely to the characteristics of the new engines with even shorter shift times, also bring direct benefits in terms of operating costs thanks to fuel savings and to reduced wear and tear on the clutch and drive system.

Mercedes PowerShift 3: six or eight gears changed automatically

Up to the 175 kW (238 hp) power category, the new Mercedes PowerShift 3 G70, G71 and G90-6 automated transmissions include six gears. The segment above this uses a completely newly developed eight-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission. The addition of these two further gears makes the most powerful Atego models over 175 kW (238 hp) eminently suitable for optional use as part of a drawbar combination.

Like the six-speed transmissions, the new eight-speed version features four different programmes, each with three driving modes. Included as standard is the "Economy" mode, configured for early upshifts and a low-rev style of driving in the interests of optimum economy, along with the "Manual" mode. Depending on the specific application, the "Power" driving mode can be supplied, in which the new transmission is specifically configured for performance, allowing the engine to operate well into the higher engine speed range. Ideal for off-road applications is the alternative "Offroad" programme, whereby the gears are held longer on an incline so as to avoid interruptions in tractive power. A special "Fire Service" programme, reflecting the Atego's popularity as a firefighting vehicle, is available as a further option from Mercedes-Benz. When used as a firefighting vehicle, in situations where very often seconds count, the G140-8 transmission changes gear particularly quickly in order to maximise performance.

The choice of four different transmission programmes gives customers the opportunity to determine the ideal configuration for their Mercedes-Benz Atego before it is put into action. The gearshift strategy behind the intelligent, automated transmission can also be reprogrammed at a later date by any authorised Mercedes-Benz truck dealer to suit changes in operating conditions. All automated transmissions in the new Mercedes-Benz Atego feature the EcoRoll function already familiar from the heavy-duty class. This coasting function, automatically activated during deceleration, uses the excess momentum to achieve further reductions in fuel consumption.

The new automated gear shifts are operated, as in the larger Actros/Antos/Arocs model ranges, via a steering column control lever located in an easily accessible position just beside the steering wheel. This same lever is also used to activate the new decompression engine brake and the optionally available permanent magnet retarder. A new rear axle ratio of i=3.417 rounds off the broad range of ratios that can be selected for the driven hypoid axles.

New cable shift handily located in the slope of the instrument panel

For those customers who explicitly require a manual transmission, the range includes two manually operated transmissions with six and nine gears respectively. The gears are changed using a shift lever handily located in the slope of the instrument panel via a cable system connecting it to the transmission. Detaching the shift mechanism from the engine has led to a reduction of the vibrations in the shift lever and of the noise level inside the cab, since there is no longer any need for a physical opening through to a corresponding engine-mounted mechanism. Pneumatic shift force assistance on the transmission ensures that, even in demanding short-radius distribution operations involving frequent changes of gear, the operating effort required from the driver remains low and ergonomically acceptable, while gear changes are both smooth and precise.

Specially designed for use in municipal applications is the nine-speed ZF 9S 1115 manual transmission. The extremely short-ratio crawler gear used here gives the Atego outstanding slow-driving performance. For this sort of application, the new Atego Euro VI can be ordered ex factory with a special road-sweeping package, specifically put together to allow conversion to a road sweeper. Another option that lends itself particularly to such special applications is the fully automatic, five-speed torque converter transmission from Allison, which is ideally suited to vehicles used for municipal services such as waste collection, street cleaning or indeed firefighting.

Power take-off delivering up to 600 Nm

With the new Mercedes-Benz Atego, it is possible to drive additional implements via a newly designed power take-off positioned on the flywheel side of the engine, which provides up to 600 Nm of drive torque even at low engine speeds. For particular areas of operational use, for example firefighting, it is also possible to mount special attachments, such as a tandem pump, at the front.

Similarly attractive when it comes to its potential use as a firefighting vehicle or for off-road purposes is the recently-added option to choose between permanent and manually selectable all-wheel drive. While the manually selectable all-wheel-drive system is primarily suitable as an efficient solution for municipal services, agricultural operations or use by utility companies, the permanent all-wheel drive, incorporating the front axle, is conceived for use in more challenging situations away from surfaced roads. A new weight-optimised transfer case in a robust aluminium housing performs the task of distributing the power between the driven axles.

VI. Chassis and suspension: holding the road with added ease

- Significantly improved handling and added ride comfort
- Stability Control Assist as standard
- Weight-optimised design with high payload capacity
- Frame concept with 15 wheelbase lengths offers good body-mounting ability
- Specific sector solutions as well as complete vehicles ex factory

With its completely redesigned chassis, the new Mercedes-Benz Atego manages to reconcile two apparently contradictory aims: exceptional ride comfort and precise handling, whatever the vehicle load. Meticulous engineering work undertaken on the chassis, steering and suspension has achieved the ambitious objective of securing the lead in the light-duty truck sector with respect to handling, too.

A great deal of detailed work is required on every aspect from the front axle through to the rear end if a vehicle is to offer the best handling in its class. The demands made on the Atego cover a far broader spectrum than, for example, in international long-distance transport operations, where the vehicle always operates with a defined load status. The new Atego faces up to this challenge with a suspension that conveys to its driver a sense of exceptional driving dynamics, safety and comfort, whether the vehicle is empty or fully laden up to its maximum permissible weight.

The comprehensive package of measures begins with a newly configured front axle which, in conjunction with a new recirculating-ball steering system, gives the vehicle exceptionally precise steering. The development objective when designing the new steering system was to achieve optimal precision around the central position along with direct feedback from the road, although without transmitting irregularities in the road surface to the steering wheel. The heavy-duty series Actros and Antos have already set extremely high standards in this discipline, which the Atego then set out to match.

Direct response, without compromising on comfort

The newly developed four-point cab suspension has been more tightly tuned to match the optimised steering precision, with tangible reductions in the tendency to pitch and roll. Here, too, the Mercedes-Benz suspension engineers have achieved a careful balancing act between direct response from the road surface and outstanding ride comfort. The new rear-axle linkage optimises the handling of the new Atego by virtue of improved understeer/oversteer characteristics during fast lane changes.

Stability Control Assist – the system known as ESP in passenger cars – ensures that the vehicle remains well under control, even in extreme situations. All in all, the many different optimisation measures result in handling characteristics that are very convincing in terms of steering precision, driving dynamics and comfort and that bear up well to comparison with the qualities of the heavy-duty truck class from Mercedes-Benz.

High payload and variable configuration

Good payload capacity is one of the most valuable attributes in the short-radius distribution class. The structural modifications made to the chassis of the new Mercedes-Benz Atego more or less offset the additional weight that is an inherent feature of the emission control technology. For applications in which every kilogram of extra load counts, the new Atego can be fitted with a lighter 80-litre plastic tank instead of the 120-litre diesel tank, with some springs on the rear axle in single-leaf parabolic design, with weight-optimised side protection (up to 10.5 t), or with aluminium wheels, which are available across the full wheel-size range from 17.5 to 19.5 inches.

The excellent body-mounting ability of the previous models remains a feature of the new Mercedes-Benz Atego. As well as numerous complete bodies that are available ex factory, among them the latest generation of Meiller tipper bodies, the new Atego can look forward to a long and successful career with variants such as a six-seater crewcab, a carrier vehicle for a road sweeping machine or a firefighting vehicle chassis with a total weight increased to 9.8 tonnes. A total of 15 different wheelbase lengths, ranging from 3020 mm to 6260 mm, provide plenty of scope for a wide variety of bodybuilder solutions. A tractor unit for use with lightweight drawbar combinations is also part of the model range for the new Atego.

VII. Costs, service and value retention: the economical miracle on wheels

- Outstanding fuel efficiency, environmental compatibility and cost efficiency
- Broad range of finance, leasing and full-service contracts
- Sector-specific FleetBoard services
- Extended service intervals as well as significantly longer operating life
- Lower repair and replacement part prices than all competitors
- Lowest breakdown and failure rate in its class
- Higher value retention and resale values than the entire competition

In the distribution sector, the overall economic efficiency of the truck used is a key factor when it comes to operating successfully. And it is not only through its low costs in daily operations that the new Atego is able to support the success of its operator's business. With repair and maintenance costs that are among the best in the market, a sophisticated FleetBoard fleet management system and a high level of value retention for this class, the new Mercedes-Benz Atego represents a safe investment across its full operating life.

The new Mercedes-Benz Atego stirs emotions. The stylish, sophisticated design and a driver workplace that is perfectly put together for the very varied requirements faced in short-radius distribution operations, combined with hitherto unrivalled figures for economical running, make it a popular choice with drivers, company owners and shareholders alike. The accountants, too, are among the fans of this new truck in the light-duty segment.

On average, Atego customers cover between 60,000 and 90,000 kilometres a year with their vehicle. Fuel consumption is therefore – as in the long-distance transport sector – the most important criterion, even ahead of the original purchase and personnel costs, to determine the cost structure of a vehicle over the long term.

Thanks to the new BlueTec 6 engines it has been possible to reduce the average fuel consumption of the new Atego by up to five percent altogether, compared with its Euro V-compliant predecessor – despite the increase in consumption that is an inherent side-effect of the exhaust gas aftertreatment system. Consumption of the AdBlue additive has even been reduced by 50 percent. The new BlueTec 6 engines, the highly fuel-efficient Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions and, in some cases, generally longer overall ratios in conjunction with improvements in performance, are the basic pillars underpinning the new Atego's leading position in the distribution truck sector. The resulting clear advantages in fuel consumption compared with the competition directly benefit not only the daily balance sheet.

Cost-effective high performer with marathon qualities

Its proverbial reliability, with the lowest failure rate among all competitors in the short-radius distribution sector, establishes trust in a vehicle concept that, thanks to its low costs, makes a long-term positive contribution to a company's success throughout its operating life. Service intervals extended by 20 percent up to a maximum of 120,000 kilometres, along with the lowest repair and maintenance costs (3.82 ct/km) and the most favourable prices for replacement parts in its class, ensure that the new Atego remains a rare and therefore budget-friendly visitor at Mercedes-Benz service outlets.

The proven Atego spends just half the time of its competitors in the workshop. When it comes to the breakdown statistics, it clearly takes first place in the reliability rankings for light-duty trucks, with figures that are a third of those for the other representatives of its application class.

FleetBoard EcoSupport: controlled economic success

Additional services, such as a customised FleetBoard EcoSupport driver feedback system in the instrument cluster, designed specifically for distribution operations, help to keep daily operations running as effectively as possible. The comprehensive FleetBoard transport management service package, available as an option, encompasses a multitude of tracking and support services such as barcode scanning, bidirectional data exchange between depot and driver, truck navigation, monitoring and workflow analysis. As a special welcoming offer, the FleetBoard service is offered free of charge for the first four months. After this initial period, customers can pay for this comprehensive service in very reasonable monthly instalments.

Reflecting the strong case made here in relation to economy, repair costs and breakdown rates, the costs for the services available from Mercedes-Benz have been similarly adjusted to match the outstanding overall economic efficiency of the new Atego. Costs for the CharterWay Service Complete maintenance contract, for example, have been reduced by five percent. At the same time the validity of this attractive all-inclusive service and maintenance contract has been automatically increased from 80 to 96 months.

And the prospects are also bright when the time comes to say goodbye to your new Atego after its successful working life with you: it is a well-known fact that the Atego, even as a used vehicle, ranks extremely high in terms of resale value.

VIII. An important chapter in truck history: from the LP 608 to the new Atego

- LP 608: 1965 marks the dawn of a new age
- LK and MK: remarkable diversity
- Atego: range restructured for the distribution truck sector

It may have been small, but it certainly packed a punch: the launch of the LP 608 light-duty truck in Brussels in 1965 marked, in several respects, the beginning of a whole new chapter in commercial vehicle manufacturing at Daimler-Benz. The vehicle fitted perfectly into the company's agreed strategy at the time, with a key focus on the executive class and above on the passenger car side will opearting as a high-volume all-rounder covering all classes on the commercial vehicle side.

The new truck plant at Wörth played an important part right from the beginning. The preproduction run of the LP 608 had just started up there. This was followed, in the summer of 1965, by the first series-production vehicles leaving the plant on their way to customers.

Important step on the way to becoming a full-range supplier

With the LP 608, Mercedes-Benz now also had a presence in the light-duty truck category, with a nimble vehicle designed specifically for this sector. It marked an important step along the way to being represented right across the truck sector with modern, forward control cabs. The "P" in the model designation, by the way, stood for "Pullman cab" and was the term that had been used by the Mercedes-Benz model range since the 1950s to differentiate it from the conventional cab-behind-engine design that was also available.

It was as if customers had just been waiting for something like the LP 608: in no time at all it had conquered the segment of 6.5-tonne vehicles that could be driven with a passenger car driving licence and had very soon claimed a 45 percent share of the market. The forward control cab of the LP 608, with its boxy appearance and large expanses of window, bore a resemblance to the heavy-duty trucks with cuboid cabin that Mercedes-Benz had brought onto the market back in 1963.

Unlike in the heavy-duty class, the headlamps on the LP 608 in these early days were set within the radiator grille, while the door was situated behind the front axle, itself positioned well forward. Just one low step provided sufficient height for the driver to access the short-haul cab, which at this stage, however, could not yet be tilted.

This particularly low and convenient access – of vital importance in short-haul transport operations – would go on to become a recurring feature in the history of light-duty and medium-heavy trucks from Mercedes-Benz, right through to the new Atego of the present day.

The OM 314 helped to keep the weight low

The ideal complement to the slim-line appearance of the LP 608 was the new OM 314 engine, the fundamental elements of which could be traced back to the legendary and particularly lightweight six-cylinder OM 312 of the post-war period. The OM 314, however, was one of the first direct-injection diesel engines from Mercedes-Benz and made do with four instead of six cylinders.

Initially, the four-cylinder unit delivered an output of 59 kW (80 hp), increased to 63 kW (85 hp) in 1969. The first 7.5-tonne truck, the LP 808, joined the product line-up in 1967. With a load capacity of 4.5 tonnes, this vehicle offered an extra tonne of payload compared with the junior of the range.

Gross weight increased to eleven tonnes

In 1970 the light-duty LP series was joined by two further and more powerful models, the LP 811 and LP 913. Despite using the 5.7-litre six-cylinder OM 352 (81 and 96 kW/110 and 130 hp) from the medium-duty class, these also featured the basic low-mounted cab of the light-duty LP series. Over time, the range of the light-duty LP models would be extended up to a gross vehicle weight of eleven tonnes, with a traction weight of 21.6 tonnes.

The line-up of the light-duty LP models with their compact, cuboid cabs would undergo two facelifts over the course of their almost 20-year career: 1977 brought a flatter design for the front end, whereby the headlamps moved down from the grille into the bumpers. The LP 608 thus became the uprated LP 708 with 63 instead of 59 kW (85 instead of 80 hp) and with another half tonne or so of payload. Finally, in 1979, all maintenance access points on the light-duty LP models were moved to the outside of the vehicle, so compensating for the shortcoming that the cab could not be tilted.

Parallel production of medium-duty models in Mannheim

In parallel to the light-duty LP models, the Mannheim plant continued to build medium-duty trucks, produced as both conventional cab-behind-engine and forward control models. From 1965 onwards, a new, more contemporary-looking medium-duty cab replaced the old, rounded cab to plug the gap between the large and small cuboid LP cabs.

Overlapping clusters

The light- and medium-duty trucks from Mercedes-Benz had thus, in a relatively short time, achieved remarkably dense coverage of the market, especially since the large short-nosed vans of what would later become the T2 range were, for their part, also making inroads into the realms of 6 tonnes – and later even 7.5 tonnes - permissible GVW. More was still to come: when the medium-duty Mannheim models ceded to their equivalents from the New Generation of trucks produced in Wörth, in 1975, this presence on the market intensified still further.

The four-model line-up behind the basic modular structure of the Mercedes-Benz "New Generation" from 1975 onwards comprised units with 10, 12, 14 and 16 tonnes permissible GVW – from this point on with tilting cabs for the medium-duty range. Along with the in-line six-cylinder engines from the 300 series, this now also included V-engines from the new 400 series.

1984: the arrival of the light-duty class

In the mid-1980s these medium-duty vehicles of the New Generation had to face up to strong competition from a rival from within the Group – the LN2 series, launched in Rome in 1984 and also known as the LK, representing the German words for 'lightweight class'. Covering a weight range of 6.5 to 11 tonnes, these vehicles were not only the heirs to the light-duty LP models, but also quickly made advances into the heavier segments that included vehicles with a permissible GVW of up to 15 tonnes.

The arrival of the LK vehicles in 1984 brought a tremendous leap forward in terms of technology: tilting cabs were now available from 6.5 tonnes GVW upwards and, for the first time, low-profile tyres became available. Air suspension on the rear axle for the pickup models could now be ordered as an option. The new light-duty models were also equipped as standard with power-assisted steering as well as with a dual-circuit compressed-air braking system. As had been the case with the original LP models, the engine range initially comprised four- and six-cylinder units from the 300 series, but was extended over time to include outputs of up to 176 kW (240 hp).

Premiere for long cabs in the light-duty segment

Characteristic features of these cabs included the downward-sloping line of the side windows towards the front and, once again, the low-access entrance in front of the cab's front axle. A complete innovation for the light-duty range was the availability of a long cab fitted with a berth as an option for all models. The slightly rounded front end, along with the wide radiator grille that is such a classic feature of Mercedes-Benz trucks, ensured its visual recognition as a member of the New Generation of vehicles.

The LK underwent two facelifts, ensuring that it remained 'state of the art' in more than just technical respects: the transition to Euro II in 1994 marked the introduction of a cab that had been lengthened by five centimetres and featured a more convenient steering wheel. From 1996 on, the light-duty class then featured a more imposing radiator grille with broader fins.

Change of guard for the engines

In addition, a comprehensive overhaul of the engine range took place in 1996. In the power category up to 125 kW (170 hp) the engineers replaced the OM 364 LA completely, and to some extent also the OM 366 LA, with the four-cylinder unit from the new 900 series of engines offering outputs of 90, 100 and 136 kW (122, 136 and 170 hp).

It was not until the new Atego series took over from the LK in 1998, however, that 900-series engines became the norm right across the light and medium-duty ranges of Mercedes-Benz trucks. A good 300,000 LK models had come off the line in Wörth over the 14 years of its production by the time the Atego arrived to redefine completely the light- and medium-duty class. Its characteristic feature was a frame that was offset at the front, allowing the cab to be mounted even lower and making access to the cab easier than ever before.

Atego brings new structure for the light and heavy-duty segment

Right from the start, the Atego was available with a choice of four cabs, covering the range from the short cab for local-distribution transport through to the high-roof L-cab that offered the ideal solution for long-distance haulage operations. The design was soft and cuboid in shape, while the radiator grille was set low and incorporated a three-pointed star that extended over the maintenance flap. Adding to the attractive appeal of the interior were a comfort-grip four-spoke steering wheel, a newly developed engine-mounted gearshift mechanism and a variety of stowage compartments.

The OM 904 LA for the Atego was joined at this point by its six-cylinder equivalent, the OM 906 LA, which made its debut in output variants of 170 kW (231 hp) and 205 kW (279 hp). The three-valve technology and individual unit pumps that were features of both these engines meant that they were ideally prepared to comply with the Euro III emissions standard that came into effect at the turn of the millennium.

The weight range still covered the spectrum from 6.5 to 15 tonnes perm. GVW, while the sheer number of specification possibilities was impressive: 25 different basic models and a total of 240 variants were available from market launch. The variants included everything from classic short-radius distribution and municipal services vehicles right through to tractor units and construction site tippers.

Anything among the medium-duty trucks that exceeded a gross vehicle weight of 15 tonnes or ran on more than two axles was generally considered, from this point on, as belonging to the Atego heavy-duty (1998 to 2004) or Axor (from 2001) ranges. That the long Atego cab also had what it takes for use in long-distance transport operations was not only ably demonstrated by the Axor series in Europe: in Brazil, for example, long-distance Mercedes-Benz trucks are still to this day, almost without exception, equipped with Atego cabs.

Second-generation Atego shows affinity with the Actros

The second generation of the Atego made its debut at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in 2004. Its design, as well as numerous new technical features, demonstrated its affinity with the heavy-duty flagship Actros model. The ergonomic design of the interior concept, with a cockpit arranged around the driver, resembled that of the much-lauded Actros 2.

This concept, which became known as the "Global Cockpit", would go on to be used all over the world, for example also in Mercedes-Benz's Brazilian-built trucks. Also celebrating their premieres in the short-radius distribution sector here were an automated six-speed transmission, as well as a "hill holder" system integrated into the Telligent braking system.

The most successful hybrid truck in Europe

At the IAA in 2008 Mercedes-Benz showed the Atego as the pioneering best-in-class of the short-radius distribution sector. On display were not only the Euro IV- and V-compliant BlueTec engines with SCR technology, but also a hybrid variant with a gross vehicle weight of 12 tonnes. Since it came onto the market in 2010, well over 100 units of this model have been sold.

2010 saw the launch of the third generation of the Atego. The characteristic features here included a design that incorporated an even more distinctive grille, so aligning it with the third-generation Actros, a further-upgraded interior with a multifunction steering wheel, and a redesigned instrument cluster. Moreover, the quality of the materials used for the interior appointments was improved and the stowage concept optimised further.

The trio is now complete: the new Atego

In retaining the same offset frame at the front and thus the uncompromisingly functional configuration in relation to cab access, the new Atego still offers the same key advantages as the previous model. At the same time it fits neatly into the structure of Daimler Trucks' Strategic Future Truck Program (SFTP). Commonality between the products extends from the new engines through to upholstery fabrics, materials, switches and instruments in the interior, and even to the exterior styling.

All in all, the new Atego shares a considerable number of design elements with its larger brothers. Whether it is the front-end flap with the Mercedes star protruding up into it, the arrow shaped and apparently free-floating radiator grille, the cab access, the corner panelling or the distinctive mesh behind the radiator grille: all these very typical features place the new Actros very clearly in the same line-up as the Actros and the Arocs construction vehicle range and mark it out unmistakably as the third member of the SFTP family.

Credits: Daimler AG

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