Middle-weight Contender

middle weight contender

The New Generation Scania G450 has the ideal size and specs to fulfil the role of middle weight contender, in intra and interstate single trailer or truck and dog applications. It does this effortlessly while returning excellent fuel economy. That’s the conclusion Paul Matthei came to after a recent road test.

Over the last three to four decades horsepower ratings in prime movers have gradually crept up to the point where nowadays 500hp is considered fairly average. However, in the pre-B-double era back in the early to mid 80s, 350hp was considered ‘big banger’ territory for single trailer roles, while 400 to 450hp engines were the norm for road trains and heavy haulage applications.

Let’s go on a bit of a time warp back to 1982. This was the year Michael Jackson released his smash hit album Thriller, the first CD player was sold in Japan, and Rocky III was acing it at the cinemas.

It’s interesting to compare the stark differences between a 450hp truck engine of that era and one of today, such as that powering the Scania G450 in this test. 

In the early 80s Caterpillar was touting its 3408 V8 engine as an ideal power plant for heavy haulage and road train applications. 

Make no mistake this was one serious lump of an engine with a displacement of 18 litres and a dry weight of close to 1.7 tonnes. According to Caterpillar’s specifications, it produced a modest 450hp (331kW) at 2100rpm and an even more modest for its size 1830Nm (1350lbft) of torque at 1500rpm. 

The 3408 featured a 60 degree ‘V’ configuration rather than the traditional 90 degrees which gave it a narrower beam, making it easier to shoe-horn between the chassis rails of highway trucks. 

To enable even firing, this design requires a split journal crankshaft which means adjacent big-end journals are offset in relation to each other. Due to the smaller surface area connecting the journals, this design tends to be inherently less robust compared to an equivalent conventional crank.

The inline six-cylinder 3406 Cat engine proved far more popular, with later iterations producing more power and torque than the 3408 in a much lighter package. 


middle weight contender


Modern Truck Specs

Anyhow, back to the future and the subject of this test, the Scania G450, which features an engine at the cutting edge of technological development. 

Fitted to a middle weight contender, the Scania DC 13 143 13-litre inline six produces 450hp (331kW) at 1,900rpm and a healthy 2,350Nm (1,733lbft) of torque between 1,000 and 1,300rpm. The engine features Scania XPI electronic fuel injection, a fixed geometry turbocharger and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions control system making it Euro-5 compliant.

Power is fed through a Scania Opticruise 12-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) with a 0.8:1 overdrive top ratio. A hydraulic retarder and oil cooler are part of the package. From there, the power is delivered to a pair of Scania differentials featuring a super tall 3.42 ratio and diff locks. Brakes are electronically controlled (EBS) disc items on all axles. 

The drive axles are supported by Scania two-bag air suspension while the steer axle has three-leaf parabolic springs with anti-roll bar providing a 7,100kg maximum load capacity. Left and right-hand mounted oblong fuel tanks have a combined capacity of 700 litres and the right-hand mounted AdBlue tank holds 105 litres. 

The sleeper cab has a four-point air suspended mounting and complies with the ECE R29 cab strength standard. On the inside is a premium driver’s seat with black velour upholstery and armrests. Behind the seats is an 800mm wide pocket-sprung mattress, below which resides a decent sized slide-out fridge.


middle weight contender


The instrument panel is well arranged and easy to read at a glance with a coloured display featuring rear axle group weight and hour meter as well as service and vehicle information. There is also BlueTooth phone connection enabling hands-free operation. Other cab features include a 12-volt power outlet, power windows, manual climate control air conditioning, protective rubber floor mats and a rear wall roof shelf.

On the safety front, lane departure warning, active cruise control, advanced emergency braking and driver and passenger side curtain airbags are all standard features, something which is becoming more common in a middle weight contender. 

 As for exterior equipment, aerodynamically optimised main and spotter mirrors are all heated and electrically adjustable and there’s an additional close-up mirror on the passenger side as well as a reversing alarm. 

Lighting consists of H7 headlights incorporating LED daytime running lights (DRL), separate driving lights and LED tail lamps. A bonus for safe cab entry or egress at night are boarding lights located in the step wells.