Mack has announced its much vaunted and anticipated Anthem has finally arrived in Australia after a delay of more than a year on the originally scheduled arrival of the truck, along with new stand up sleeper cabs, interiors and new transmissions across and an all new Mack model line-up.
Some pundits have noted that ironically the Mack Anthem has been delayed so long, that our own anthem has actually changed, albeit, with just one word altered in the lyrics of Advance Australia Fair
Anthem has benefitted from some substantial local engineering and will be built at the VGA factory facility at Wacol powered by the Mack version of the Volvo Group 13 litre Euro 5 MP8 engine with horsepower ratings ranging from 435 to 535hp and 1655 to 1920lb-ft of torque.
The company says the Anthem will be able to tackle a range of transport applications, from vocational rigid roles up to B-double highway hauler.
Importantly it gives the Bulldog brand a truck that will be able to compete with other new generation US inspired conventional design trucks, such as Freightliner’s new Cascadia and Kenworth’s T610 and T410 models released in recent years.
Some would say that the Mack Anthem has been ‘girt’ by a range of impressive models from its opposition and it will have to be very good to match the success of the models from Kenworth and Freightliner in the Australian market.
It gives Mack a flat floor cabin and a more advanced dash and not only in the Anthem but in other Mack models as well.
“I’m very excited to see these new trucks emerge from our Wacol factory,” said Gary Bone, vice president of Mack Trucks Australia.
“The Anthem takes our brand in a bold new direction and our new stand up sleeper cab gives long haul operators a fantastic new environment to both work and rest in,” he said.
“The Mack brand has built up an enviable reputation over the last century for building tough uncompromising trucks that get the job done in some of the most inhospitable environments on the planet.” “The addition of the HD and XHD automated manual transmission only adds to that heavy haulage pedigree,” Bone added.
The Mack Anthem will be available as a sleeper or day cab and will be available in 6×4 and 8×4 rigid guise or as a 6×4 prime mover.
Mack says the Anthem’s bold new look also delivers an improvement in aerodynamic efficiency while the design still retains a hard-edged profile. Mack says the aero gains have been further aided by minimising panel gaps and seams, while even the tow hooks in the three-piece bumper have been covered to assist air flow.
A single point bonnet latch makes daily checks safer and easier reducing the effort needed to tilt the bonnet. All exterior lighting is now handled by ultrareliable LEDs, boosting headlight output by 66 per cent over previous incandescent bulbs.
The Anthem will have Bendix Wingman Fusion active safety system integrated in the truck as standard equipment, which also provides adaptive cruise control, blind spot alert, autonomous braking and roll stability as part of the package. However there is no mention of driver or passenger airbags as available in its Volvo cousins.
The key to the new Mack line up is the US designed and Australian adapted Anthem flat floor cab. There will be a full 36-inch integrated stand up sleeper cab as an option for Anthem, but also on Mack Trident and Super-Liner models. The new cab features 1.8 metres of headroom in the cockpit and 2.1 metres of headroom in the sleeper compartment and is the first time Mack has had a stand up cab with a flat floor available in Australia.
In its home market Mack has steadily lost share in the line haul market thanks to a lack of a modern cab, which saw both Paccar and Daimler, and even International, win sales away from Mack, with the brand moving further into the vocational, refuse and construction markets at the expense of its line haul sales. The Anthem was developed to halt that slide and reverse the trend.
The new interior design for the Mack Anthem as well as in the Super-Liner and Trident brings a new dash and instrument panel that will feature large, easy to read gauges and rocker switches, while the Mack version of the Volvo family transmission, in this case called the mDrive, has its controls remaining on the dash panel, while engine brake is now controlled via a steering column mounted multi-function stalk.
The dash also features a 5-inch colour digital which Mack says will make navigating various digital menus and functions a lot easier while on the move, while the integrated Bendix safety system now sees much of its functionality also accessed via the display.
As part of the updates he mDrive AMT also gets some extra low gearing with the launch of both the mDrive HD and mDrive XHD transmissions. Mack says that providing these options with deep reduction gearing they can offer safer heavy hauling at high gross weights with start ability/gradeability, and will eliminate the need for auxiliary transmissions.
The 13-speed mDrive HD offers a single reduction gear that helps for heavy lift offs, and also allows fuel conscious highway operators to specify taller final drive ratios to maximise fuel efficiency.
Mack also declares that the 14-speed mDrive XHD offers heavy haulage operators safe and flexible handling of big loads with peace of mind. The new mDrive transmissions also bring new features such as a “Rock Free” mode to allow the driver to rock the truck back and forwards easily if needing to gain traction off-road. A “Power Launch” function for off-road low-traction starts as well as Heavy-Duty and Maxi-Duty transmission modes for high GCM operation.
Both transmissions are available behind both the 13 litre MP8 and 16 litre MP10 engines.
The new trucks also come with new electrical architecture across the range providing a smarter truck that is also more connected according to Mack.
Optional Predictive Cruise control will also allow the truck to record topographic data to optimise engine and transmission performance and to save fuel.
Mack Trucks unveiled the new Australian models on YouTube and Facebook on Monday 18th January 2021 and says that orders for the new range can be placed in early February 2021.