Freightliner Trucks has officially introduced the Business Class M2, the next generation of its medium-duty truck line. Like the current version, it will span Classes 5 through 8 and will eventually be offered in 100-, 106- and 112-in. BBC models.
Freightliner's Mt. Holly, NC, plant will begin limited production of the 106-in. BBC M2 in June on new, highly automated assembly lines. Extended and crew cabs will be available in late 2002, with 100- and 112-in. BBC models joining the lineup in 2003. The company also promises it will eventually offer a wide variety of configurations to fit a broad range of medium- and heavy-duty truck applications. Current Business Class models will be phased out gradually as corresponding M2 versions become commercially available.
Design highlights for the new truck include an aluminum cab with a 2,500-sq.-in. windshield and deeply sloped hood for excellent visibility, according to Michel von Mayenburg, sr. vp, engineering and technology. Improved maneuverability is provided by wheel cuts as sharp as 55 deg., delivering a turning radius of under 57 ft. with a 20-ft. van body. The cab interior is roomier than the previous model and features a new blend-air HVAC system with electronic controls.
Other features for the M2 include new spring suspensions that provide improved ride while lowering maintenance requirements, a multiplexed wiring system with advanced control and diagnostic functions, and high-and low-cab versions designed for easy driver entry and improved crash protection.
The Mercedes-Benz MBE900 4- and 6-cyl. diesel will be the standard engine for the M2, offering ratings ranging from 170 to 280 hp. Caterpillar's 3126 will also be available in ratings from 175 to 300 hp. Transmission choices will include Allison automatics as standard, as well as optional Eaton manuals and automated mechanicals, and the Mercedes-Benz MBT synchronized 6-speed.
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