The new Mercedes-Benz Actros: Cockpit and interior - A new dimension in comfort, space and wellbeing

With the advent of the new generation of the Actros, Mercedes-Benz is ushering the entrance of the heavy duty truck into a class of its own, not just by means of the sensational exterior design, but also by admiring the fashionable and practical interior which offers multiple stowage compartments and is available in two trim lines: Home line for cosiness, Style line for dynamism. This is another aspect that sets the new Actros apart from its direct competitors. The modular system is one of the many key points of the cabin and it offers a choice of up to seven different long-distance cab variants. As the prime clients of the truck will be busy drivers, one of the major tasks was to create two distinct areas inside the vehicle: the working place and the living place, which are visually separated using colour and geometric form. When they are driving, truckers will appreciate the new cockpit perfectly designed around them and the comfy seat equipped with massage function for the first time. After a hard day's work, drivers will be able to rest and feel at home in the relaxation area entitled SoloStar Concept.

The new Mercedes-Benz Actros is custom-designed for long-distance transport like no other truck, setting new standards in terms of use of space, interior design and unerring attention to detail. The newly developed cab presented an opportunity to introduce a concept incorporating completely new interior ideas focussed on what drivers want and expect. For them, the cab is a workplace, a lounge and a bedroom all in one. The new Actros impressively shows how this can be achieved in an area of barely six square metres. At the heart of the interior concept are the easy-to-use cockpit and the comfortable living area, which are visually separate for the first time. With the new Actros, companies can offer their top drivers a top truck – with obvious results. After all, satisfied drivers are good drivers.

Modular system: seven long-distance cabs

A width of 2.3 or 2.5 metres, four roof variants and, without exception, the maximum possible length of 2.3 metres: behind these matter-of-fact figures lies the perfect modular system for the new Actros, with a choice of seven long-distance cabs. No other truck offers as many cab versions for long-distance transport.

Here, a cab has to meet different and in some cases contradictory requirements. The driver needs a functional workplace behind the wheel, a further space for writing when on the road, room for relaxing during breaks and when waiting around, and a comfortable bed for trips lasting several days and sometimes several weeks.

The new Actros offers a custom-designed cab for practically any eventuality – whether it be regional long-distance transport with occasional overnight stops, national long-distance transport involving several days of absence from home or international long-distance transport with trips sometimes lasting several weeks. The new Actros is the very first truck with a compact, 2.3-metre wide cab and a flat floor. It offers the full practicality and comfort of the 2.5‑metre wide cab – yet it is 50 kg lighter.

Dream space: flat floor in five of seven cabs

Whereas a flat cab floor was previously the reserve of flagship truck models, five of the seven cab variants for the new Actros feature a flat floor for the first time. In other words, every Actros for international long-distance transport can offer this impressive comfort feature, which gives the driver maximum room to move. A dream space becomes a reality in the new Actros.
Almost exactly the same is true of the two cab versions with an engine tunnel, although the term 'engine tunnel' is a slight exaggeration, as it is only 170 mm high and therefore hardly obstructs movement inside the cab.

Actros with GigaSpace cab – a new dimension

In terms of height, the only thing that limits the new Actros is legislation: the previous MegaSpace cab is replaced by the spectacular GigaSpace cab, which opens up a new dimension in space. It is all but four metres high and, when it comes to spaciousness, trumps its predecessor by some 920 litres – almost a whole cubic metre. This extra space is reflected in a headroom of 2.13 metres throughout and a noticeably larger stowage capacity. The total volume of 11.6 cubic metres is a record for a European truck cab.

The new range of seven cabs

The seven cabs for the new Actros in detail:

- The long ClassicSpace cab with a standard roof. 2.3 m wide, engine tunnel 170 mm. Headroom on the engine tunnel 1.46 m, in front of the co-driver's seat 1.59 m.
- The long ClassicSpace cab with a standard roof. 2.3 m wide with a flat floor. Headroom on the engine tunnel 1.64 m.
- The long StreamSpace cab. 2.3 m wide, engine tunnel 170 mm. Headroom on the engine tunnel 1.79 m, in front of the co-driver's seat 1.84 m.
- The long StreamSpace cab. 2.3 m wide with a flat floor. Headroom 1.97 m.
- The long StreamSpace cab. 2.5 m wide with a flat floor. Headroom throughout 1.97 m.
- The long BigSpace cab. 2.5 m wide with a flat floor. Headroom throughout 1.99 m.
- The long GigaSpace cab. 2.5 m wide with a flat floor. Headroom 2.13 m.

Extensive equipment and appointments for all cabs

Even the 2.3-metre wide ClassicSpace version includes the new colour concept for the interior, a multifunction steering wheel and a manually operated roof hatch as standard. All cab versions from the StreamSpace onwards also have an electrically operated tilting sunroof or, as an option, a tilting/sliding glass sunroof.

All versions of the new Actros with a flat floor also include comfort suspension for the cab, which can also be tilted electro-hydraulically. The steps are illuminated, while the door sections are extended downwards. Roller sun blinds, air conditioning and a compressed-air connection for cleaning the cab are likewise part of the extensive standard-equipment package.
In addition to all of this, the large BigSpace and GigaSpace cabs for the new Actros feature a comfort suspension seat, carpet between the seats and a sun screen. Plus the GigaSpace variant incorporates a tool stowage box under the cab, fog lamps, an additional drawer in the centre console and stowage flaps above the windscreen.

Working and living areas visually separated using colour and geometric form

The new approach results in highly practical concepts. For instance, the new Actros not only has plenty of stowage space, this stowage space is also precisely where the driver needs it. The same is true when it comes to room to move around: the designers have left plenty of space in the areas where the driver has to move or stand.

One new aspect is the visual separation of the workspace and living area by using different colours and geometric forms, developed specifically for the new long-distance Actros: the functional area around the cockpit is finished in practical anthracite whilst the rear, ceiling and area around the co-driver's seat are appointed in a light almond beige colour. As well as looking welcoming and cosy, it makes the space appear larger and creates a pleasantly airy and roomy feeling. Another advantage is the fact that the light colour shade heats up less in sunlight. The Actros shares this contemporary colour with top-of-the-range passenger cars such as the Mercedes‑Benz S-Class, CLS and SL.

Further enhanced material quality

The cab designers have further enhanced the already renowned and exemplary material quality. All the components have been designed with the utmost care, with one eye on practicality and the other on looks. The soft feel and the in-house-developed grain of the plastic surfaces in the upper area of the instrument panel as well as on the door linings, A-pillars and roof stowage boxes are reminiscent of leather. Many of the materials used in new Actros would not look out of place in a luxury passenger car, such is their quality. Longevity is also assured thanks to a robust, scratch-resistant and easy-care design.

In-house-developed driver's seat, with massage function for the first time

The driver's seat was likewise developed specifically for the new Actros. The width of the seat cushion has been increased by 40 mm compared to the previous version and, with an exterior width of 550 mm, is by far the largest in this class. The range of the now two-stage fore/aft adjustment system has also been increased: 190 mm or 250 mm after the lower bunk is folded up, meaning that drivers of any size can find their optimum sitting position. The seat height adjustment range has likewise been extended – by 20 mm. Further aspects developed specifically for the new Actros include the controls for the many adjustment options, which are now intuitive as well as being visible from above.

There are four different versions of the driver's seat available (rigid seat, suspension seat, comfort suspension seat and climatised suspension seat) as well as three versions of the co-driver's seat (regular seat, comfort suspension seat and climatised suspension seat). The top-of-the-range seat with a massage function (available from 2012 onwards) is unique: at the push of a button, seven air cushions arranged one on top of the other in the backrest pulse for ten minutes. This function helps to relieve tension on very long trips.

Buyers can choose from a wide range of seat covers: flat-weave fabric, velour, artificial leather, leather and the particularly soft and smooth Dinamica Star covers in black or almond beige. The latter, which will be familiar to Mercedes-Benz passenger car drivers, has a surface structure reminiscent of Alcantara, while the leather seats in the new Actros have a diamond pattern and double-lapped felling in a contrasting colour.

A new cockpit perfectly designed around the driver

The all-new cockpit promotes focussed yet relaxed driving. It is designed based on the latest ergonomics research and focuses on the driver, with all the controls lying within easy reach. Its asymmetric form curves towards the driver, conveying a feeling of self-assurance and safety. The instruments and all the controls are new developments and, in terms of looks and feel, are on a par with those seen in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Thanks to their intuitive design, they allow direct access to all the relevant information.

The standard-fit multifunction steering wheel with an easy-grip rim is reminiscent of the one used in the current generation of Mercedes‑Benz passenger cars in terms of both its look and its control buttons. A foot-operated switch is now used to adjust the steering wheel, while the steering wheel itself has a far greater adjustment angle than in the already tried-and-trusted previous Actros model.

Easy-to-read circular instruments, informative colour display

The newly developed instrument cluster incorporates the speedometer and rev counter in the form of large, circular instruments, while smaller circular instruments are integrated for the fuel and coolant-temperature gauges.

Between the instruments, a large colour screen with graphics capability and clear, intuitive menus provides a wealth of information. There are two versions available – one with a width of 10.4 cm and an optional Highline variant which is 12.7 cm wide. If a reversing camera is specified, the images it captures appear on the large central display. Further integrated features include a trip computer for recording all the key data on the current trip. This is also where, as standard, the driver receives short-time analyses and tips about current driving style through the FleetBoard EcoSupport function.

Steering column stalk for the transmission, start/stop button for the engine

Should the driver ever wish to manually override the standard-fit Mercedes PowerShift fully-automated transmission, this is done via a steering column stalk rather than a gear lever – so through-cab access remains unimpeded.

Another new function for the new Actros is the start/stop system: customers can order a special multifunction key which performs certain functions to ease the driver's workload, such as the level control on the front or rear axle, display of the tyre inflation pressure, axle loads and fill levels as well as convenience functions such as activation of the auxiliary heater, the auxiliary air conditioning or the radio.

When the ignition is switched on in the new Actros, the needles on the speedometer and the rev counter spin to their limit positions briefly. A separate start/stop button on the instrument panel is used for starting and stopping the engine in the new Actros, while the handy parking brake lever is positioned within easy reach in the centre console.

Using a tried-and-tested solution, the tachograph is positioned over the windscreen above the driver's head. This is also the designated location for any CB radio that may be fitted. Another aspect of the cockpit concept for the new Actros is the wealth of practical stowage options: intelligently conceived spaces for drinks bottles up to 1.5 litres, papers, a coat, a towel and oddments such as sunglasses. Large-surfaced stowage areas are ideal for a coffee maker or a television, while a folding table can be integrated in the instrument panel support on the co-driver's side.

The new Actros as a concert hall: radio with sound system

The radio in the new Actros is positioned within the driver's reach and field of vision. A USB connection is provided with the standard version. Other versions include a CD player or a CD player with Bluetooth connection, while there is also an even higher-spec luxury version available. A numeric keypad makes it easier to operate the telephone functions and the radio. What's more, two-way loudspeakers with even better sound quality are available as an alternative to the standard speakers.

The optional sound system transforms the new Actros into a concert hall. An active subwoofer in a bass reflex loudspeaker, two broadband speakers, two woofers/mid-range speakers and two separate tweeters provide musical entertainment of the highest calibre.

Two sockets in the co-driver's footwell and one behind the driver's seat supply other electrical consumers with power. Among the other available sockets, the power socket – for a television or a microwave oven, for example – stands out with its magnetic plug connection for heavy-duty consumers with 24 volts and a maximum of 25 amperes.

Heating with residual engine heat utilisation

Cab ventilation is draught-free, the air arriving through new-look air outlets. The heating system for the new Actros is air-controlled, operates effectively and responds quickly. New features include the optional residual engine heat utilisation: here the coolant's waste heat is used to heat the cab for up to two hours – more than enough to keep the cab at a pleasant temperature during breaks or whilst waiting around – without having to activate the auxiliary heater and use fuel unnecessarily.

The auxiliary heater for the new Actros is located in the engine compartment, where it is decoupled from the cab. Two variants are available: an auxiliary heater exclusively for the cab with an output of 3.8 kW or a heater for the cab with an output of 9 kW combined with an engine pre-heater. The latter has separate controls for the cab and engine with fully automatic temperature control, an exhaust air quality sensor, and a smog and air recirculation mode.

Prime climes thanks to air conditioning, automatic climate control and auxiliary air conditioning
All new Actros models include Tempmatic air conditioning with automatic temperature control as standard, while automatic climate control with a digital display is available as an option.

Further options for the new Actros include the popular auxiliary air conditioning, which stores the cold produced whilst driving and can use this to control the temperature in the cab for up to eight hours after driving. It features temperature control as well as a charge indicator in the control panel.

Interior lighting: practical or cosy – as the situation demands

The interior lighting for the new Actros is all about practicality and cosiness. The step lighting and the entrance lights in the door panelling safely light the way into the cab, while two ceiling lights illuminate the interior when stronger lighting is required, for instance when changing clothes. Lighting in the driver's area makes it easier to study documents here, for example.

The non-reflective green night lighting in the new Actros creates a pleasant atmosphere when driving in darkness. During breaks, the indirect blue ambient lighting with its effective and discreet LED fibre optics between the stowage compartments and the roof creates a pleasant environment. The new Actros has even more LEDs here than its predecessor.

Unique: the new SoloStar Concept as a relaxation area

In contrast to the highly practical cockpit, the living area in the new Actros has an open-plan design wherever possible. Unique features include the newly developed, optionally available SoloStar Concept for the new Actros, which creates an all-new calm zone and ensures optimum recuperation. This comfortable relaxation area on the co‑driver's side is shaped like a corner sofa unit and is set back against the rear wall. There's plenty of room to move: even tall drivers can stretch their legs and sit comfortably during longer breaks. To make it even easier to move around, the lower bed can be folded at the rear wall. The driver can fold out a table from its underside, which can be used for either writing or dining.

The seat in the SoloStar Concept is likewise equipped with a three-point seat belt and a head restraint, meaning that it can be used without restrictions whilst driving. So co-drivers or companions are always made to feel very welcome.

Large beds offering the comforts of home

The beds in the new Actros are also new. Even in the models with a 2.3-metre wide cab, the comfort bed behind the driver's seat measures 2000 x 750 mm and offers plenty of space for even tall drivers. In the 2.5-metre wide cabs, the dimensions increase to a whopping 2200 x 750 mm – so even exceptionally tall drivers will have more than enough room.

The comfort bed's full-length seven-zone cold-foam mattresses, which are around eleven centimetres thick, offer the same level of comfort as a high-quality bed at home. Integrated spacer fabric in the lower area ensures underside ventilation. Back height adjustment allows any driver to find a comfortable position for reading or watching television. The even more lavish PremiumComfort mattress impresses by virtue of its multi-zone structure with integrated tubular elements.

Two different variants are available for the upper bed. The version measuring 2200 x 600 mm with a restraint system can also be used by the co-driver whilst the vehicle is being driven. The wide version (2200 x 750 mm) is like the mattress for the lower bed. If the new Actros is not parked on the flat, the bed can be levelled using a spirit level.

New stowage space concept with asymmetric roof stowage compartments

The newly designed Actros cab also presented an opportunity to develop an all-new and sophisticated stowage-space concept. Whether it be large or small items, clean or dirty washing or valuables – practically anything can be carried safely and tidily on board the Actros.

Perhaps the most impressive of all the stowage options are the asymmetric compartments above the windscreen in the new Actros BigSpace and GigaSpace (for left-hand-drive vehicles). Located above the driver's area they are drawn into the cockpit and are very deep, whereas the shallower stowage compartments on the co-driver's side allow full headroom and plenty of space to move. In the Actros GigaSpace, the three closed and illuminated stowage compartments together hold 332 litres, equivalent to the size of the boot in a compact passenger car. When the further stowage compartments around the cockpit and the two large stowage compartments under the bed (420 litres combined) are also factored in, the total stowage space adds up to 975 litres, meaning that the Actros GigaSpace has easily the largest stowage capacity in its competitive environment.

Even the more compact cabs offer plenty of stowage space. For instance, the three stowage compartments above the windscreen in the new Actros StreamSpace cab measuring 2.3 metres wide can hold an impressive 137 litres of luggage. Then there are the two closed stowage compartments under the bed and an additional stowage space in the middle under the bed, making a total of 580 litres.

Practical stowage facilities, large stowage compartments under the bed

All versions of the new Actros offer impressive stowage space. A drawer in the centre console can hold A4 papers. Above this, large and flat surfaces are ideal for a laptop or a coffee maker.
The two closed compartments under the bed are accessible from outside and inside, plus they are illuminated. These stowage compartments under the bed hold 595 litres in the 2.5-metre wide cab with a flat floor, meaning that the new Actros trumps its predecessor by around 40 percent and offers a cargo volume on a par with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. The outside flaps, meanwhile, are large enough for stowing drinks crates.

A wealth of individual appointments

The stowage space in the new Actros is not just impressive on account of its sheer volume, it also boasts an attractive design and a range of individualisation options. Options include a lockable stowage compartment above the windscreen and, for the BigSpace and GigaSpace cabs, optional flexible shelving for the central stowage compartment. A safe can also be installed. There are drawers in the centre under the bed as well as the option of oddments trays for the stowage compartments.

A coolbox holding 25 litres can be installed on the engine tunnel as an option. Alternatively, the coolbox can be housed in the pull-out tray under the bed (capacity 26 litres). Models with a flat floor can even be equipped with a 36-litre refrigerator – large enough to store drinks bottles upright.

Towel rail and shaving mirror on board again

Details makes the new Actros cab a bona fide living area. Like its predecessor, the new Actros features a towel rail – but now it is wide enough to not have to fold towels, so they dry quicker – housed in the compartment above the co-driver's side. A shaving mirror is also included once again, although this can now be attached at the driver's preferred location thanks to its flexible and versatile bracket. To the side of the driver's door, there is a spectacles compartment, while retractable coat hooks are located to the left and right of the stowage compartments.

New lines: Home line for cosiness, Style line for dynamism

Like the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the new Actros interior can be visually enhanced and individualised by specifying one of two different lines.

The Home line emphasises the cosiness of the new Actros. It includes inside door handles with a wood look and trim strips in the cockpit. Plus there is a leather steering wheel, with the option of a wood/leather steering wheel. Velour carpet inserts between the seats and door panels dotted in almond beige round off the Home line.

The Style line, on the other hand, emphasises the dynamic aura of the new Actros with chrome-look inside door handles as well as trim strips on the cockpit, steering wheel, ventilation outlets and steering column stalk. Rather than being fashioned from painted plastic, for example, the chrome-style parts are made of real metal with a "Silver Shadow" look, and they help to further enhance the high-class appeal of the new Actros. Velour carpet inserts between the seats and velour interior door panels in black/silver complete the interior. On the outside, the new Actros with Style line has an extrovert character thanks to a chrome highlight on the sun screen, chrome covers on the mirror housings, the illuminated Mercedes star, the ambient lighting, the fog lamps and the LED daytime driving lights. Both design and equipment lines feature a white instrument panel and a leather sleeve for the handbrake valve.

A wealth of comfort available at an attractive package price

Three attractively priced packages make a high level of comfort on board the new Actros easily affordable. They also make it easier for customers to choose their options by combining typical items of special equipment. The Basic Comfort Pack includes an enhanced central locking system, a two-piece electric roller blind, ambient interior lighting and two-way loudspeakers.

Over and above this, the Classic Comfort Pack includes a lockable stowage compartment above the windscreen, an additional drawer in the centre console, air horns, side roller sun blinds at the top of the door windows, a leather steering wheel and an electrically operated tilting/sliding sunroof.

The Top Comfort Pack additionally includes a sound system, a Highline instrument cluster, a shelf for the roof compartments, automatic climate control, a refrigerator in the drawer under the bed and the illuminated Mercedes star in the radiator grille.

Source: Daimler AG

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