trucks on trial


Taking on a fleet of Scania V8 Toplines is no easy task, but that’s just what MAN’s high-spec TGX 540 has to do at bulk haulier WJ & J Green


By Dougie Rankine
Photography Steve McCann

Last time out in Trial we took a look at the fleet-spec Scania G440. The conclusion was that the Scania was rather expensive for the money, and rivals could offer a lot more for the same price. But this time, we’re focussing on what’s firmly Scania’s home territory: the big-spec, big-power long-haul tractor unit. With its famous V8 under the floor, it’s the most iconic of all European trucks, with an enormous following. There aren’t many drivers out there who would turn down the chance of an R-series Topline with all the toys.

Built tough, with masses of driver appeal, the latest range of V8s are as popular as ever. They’re not cheap, but then they have bulletproof residual values to match.

The traditional rival to the V8 is Volvo’s FH16, and the pair have been involved in a power struggle for decades. But what’s this? Yes, it’s an MAN TGX. Fleet trucks are where MAN has made a mark in recent years, and since the introduction of the TGX in 2007 the German firm has made huge strides, with both it and the smaller TGS enjoying big orders in the UK. But you’ll tend to find most examples are either D20 440 bhp or D26 480 bhp models; the 540 bhp variant of the latter is the top power output of the six-pot and much less common. There is also the rare 680 bhp 16.2-litre V8 available, which actually held the title of most powerful truck until the Volvo FH700 arrived – it’s easy to forget that the battle for power is not a Sweden-only contest.

truck trial

So on paper it would seem MAN has the credentials: a power output in the mid-500s and a truly vast cab in XXL form, which deems it a worthy rival to Scania’s R560 V8 Topline.

Getting to work
WJ & J Green runs a fleet of Scania R560s, but it’s also added a pair of MAN TGX 540s in recent years. Operating on bulk tipper work, these vehicles spend the week away from base and can spend as much time on punishing, twisting A-roads in the whiskey country of the Scottish Highlands as they do cruising the motorway. Performance, reliability and driver comfort are crucial. The R-series is almost the definitive truck for this work, so how does it measure up against the newcomer from MAN?

march cover As featured in the March 2014 issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here