SCANIA TRUCKS R730 REVIEW: THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL TRUCK

By: Greg Bush


The new ‘world’s most powerful truck’, the Scania R730, takes the title from Volvo’s FH16 truck. Greg Bush reports.

SCANIA TRUCKS R730 REVIEW: THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL TRUCK
Scania R730: the most powerful truck in the world.

 

Scania Trucks has raised the bar in the horsepower stakes in Australia this year, adding a 730hp (544kW) model to its award-winning R-series range.

The new Euro 5-compliant R730 assumes the mantle of the world's most powerful truck, taking the prestigious title from Volvo's 700hp (522kW) FH16.

Prospective Australian buyers will have their first opportunity to view Scania's new V8 flagship at this year's Brisbane Truck Show, which runs from May 5 to 8.

On the torque side, the Scania R730 boasts a huge 3,500Nm rating, well above the FH16's already healthy 3,150.

Scania is using the Brisbane Truck Show as the first stage in assessing demand for its new flag bearer, mindful that fellow Swedish truck manufacturer Volvo has only taken a modest number of orders for its 700hp prime mover since releasing it locally last year.

"We anticipate at the Brisbane Truck Show there will be a lot of interest in the 730," says Managing Director of Scania Australia, Roger McCarthy.

"We will gauge the demand requirements and we will then be looking at when product will be available from the factory."

McCarthy says that is more likely to be at end of this year and early 2012, with the R730 being first available as a 6x4 with a Highline cab. Customer demand will determine other configurations, which are likely to include an 8x4.

Europeans had their first look at the 730hp Scania in April last year. Since then there's been growing interest in the new horsepower stakes leader from France and the UK - mainly in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

 

FAMILY TIES: SCANIA R500, R560 AND R620

The R730 becomes the fourth member of Scania's V8 R-series family, following last year's launch of the R500, R560 and R620. However, Scania has adapted its powertrain to cope with the towering output by including a reinforced gearbox fitted with the new Scania Opticruise automated gear-changing system as standard.

Naturally, Scania sees the road train and heavy haulage sectors as the R730's target market, although McCarthy smiles when he says he'd be more than happy to sell one to a customer with a single trailer.

"The first phase of what we want to do with the 730 is get it in the hands of operators who want to have a look at it," he says.

"This particular engine is the top of the range and we know that some operators will want that level of power. Others will be quite satisfied with the 620 or the 560 or the 500.

"But we now have an excellent product portfolio within the V8 camp to satisfy the majority of B-double and higher weight applications as well, on road trains."

 

THE MOST POWERFUL TRUCK IN THE WORLD

With the introduction of the R730 as the 'big daddy' among Scania's prime movers, a number of cosmetic changes have been announced across the entire V8 range in a bid to add greater visual differentiation between the products.

Radiator grille inserts will now have a black finish, while chrome badges and chrome trim around the fresh air intakes are intended to further enhance the R series' looks.

And, to remind the driver of what lies beneath, a number of V8 badges are strategically placed within the cab.

Scania's G series has also received a minor makeover; the radiator grille inserts are now finished in silver, while the P series retains the standard dark grade paint finish.

An example of both the G and P series will join the R730 at Scania's Brisbane Truck Show stand, namely the latest six-cylinder EGR Euro 5-compliant G Series prime mover, and a five-cylinder EGR Euro 5 P series rigid chassis truck.

The G Series will boast a G440 sleeper unit, equipped with the fully automated Scania Opticruise, and this particular truck will enter service in the Scania Truck Rental fleet immediately following the show.

Lastly, a P320 8x2 rigid day cab will represent Scania's P series range. Similarly, the P320 comes with Opticruise and a Euro 5 EGR engine. In addition, the chassis will be fitted with a Schmitz Cargobull refrigerated body which, along with the Hyva hooklift, will be an added option to Scania's Ready Built Vehicle program.

 

POWERFUL DIESEL VEHICLE

McCarthy believes Scania, with last year's launch of the G series and the release of the R730, offers their customers trucks for all applications.

He anticipates some operators who previously bought the lower power-output V8s will now choose a gruntier option. "We sell a number of 500hp (373kW) V8s; the market seems to like the 560hp (417kW) window. But the last seven months we've had more demand for 620hp (462kW) machines coming. To that extent we've introduced more 620 demonstrators to our demo fleet.

"I would anticipate that we would see some migration from 560hp to 620hp, and the question is, 'who are those people who are currently buying 620hp and want to go the next step?'"

After surpassing Volvo's 700hp prime mover, one could ask, where to from here? And who will be the next manufacturer to assume the mantle of producing the world's most powerful truck?

McCarthy says manufacturing the R730 has to make commercial sense for Scania and its customers, from a business perspective as much as an emotional one: it's more to do with supply and demand than going one better than the opposition.

"It's not a race," he smiles. "It's more a marathon."

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