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Performance test beneath the Spanish sun

Two months before its premiere at IAA Commercial Vehicles, the MAN TGX D38 undertakes its first performance test. 74 international journalists put it through its paces on some of Europe’s toughest roads.

The MAN TGX D38 on a test drive in Spain.

More than 150 million olive trees populate the hills of Andalusia. Their orderly ranks fan out like waves across the mountains of the Sierra Nevada near Granada. The south of Spain resembles a large sea of dark green. In its midst, shimmering red trucks appear bearing a powerful lion on the sides of their semitrailers. Eleven new MAN TGX D38 stand out – and not only because of their colours, as it quickly turns out. These new MAN power packages demonstrate in their first test why the new generation of D38 engines at their heart is tailor-made for demanding transport duties.

First contact with the new flagship

A MAN TGX D38 driving in Spain’s Sierra Nevada.
On the road in Spain: the new MAN TGX D38 shows during initial test drives what it can do with the power of its D38 15.2-litre straight-six engine.

The test drives begin in Granada, where MAN trucks loaded to the limit await the drivers. The semitrailer tractors set off down towards the sea, descending 740 metres over a distance of 40 kilometres.
After that the MAN trucks climb what must be the most impressive section of the route: starting from the sea, the vehicles ascend 1,400 metres in altitude over a distance of around 100 kilometres back inland. The MAN TGX D38 laps up mile after mile on its way into the Sierra Nevada. The sign at the top of the Puerto de la Mora de Huétor pass, on the A92 motorway to the east of Granada, says 1,390 metres. A hot summer sun blazes down from above, and heat rises from the asphalt of the Spanish road below. The drivers in the cabs are impressed – by the landscape of the world’s largest olive-growing region, but also by what the latest MAN diesel can do. The TGX D38, with its 520, 560 or 640 HP, possesses immense pulling-power on the uphill sections. Things are also made easier for drivers by the new GPS-controlled MAN EfficientCruise control system. It helps them to drive the trucks with a new level of foresight, building up speed before each incline, and freewheeling over the crest of each hill at reduced speed. The journey back to their starting-point provides a noteworthy conclusion for the test drivers as they arrive at the famous Alhambra Palace in Granada, the fortress from which Moorish kings ruled over the hilly landscape as far back as the 13th century. “Thank you for organising the test drive so well and giving us the opportunity to drive so many vehicles in such a great setting,” says Belgian journalist Pierre-Yves Bernard enthusiastically.

Meanwhile, the MAN TGX D38 construction vehicles are demonstrating their tractive abilities in a gravel pit near Padul, just outside the popular tourist city of Granada. There they prove that the new six-cylinder unit is perfectly suited to everyday construction work – even if it doesn’t set any power output records. During development, MAN engineers focused above all on the best possible combination of superior power and excellent efficiency. And this is precisely what the construction vehicles like the MAN TGX 33,520 6x4 tractors with tipping trailors achieved on the unstable surface of this deep gravel pit as they did their rounds over all kinds of terrain. Afterwards, on the road, they showed their softer side: “It drives just like a long-haul vehicle,” said Ahmet Oguz, editor-in-chief of the Turkish magazine Devir Saati. “Very comfortable and relaxed,” he says as he drives.

“Great vehicle, great engine”

After the drive, everyone agrees that the development work which MAN’s engineers have put into the new vehicles has paid off. The TGX D38 intentionally abstains from any new power output records, combining top performance with low fuel consumption instead. This pays off for customers, since it reduces the total of cost ownership, and it also helps the environment. The new EfficientCruise and EfficientRoll features were singled out for special praise by journalists, combining as they do convenience for drivers and high efficiency by being networked. They act predictively, using the power of the new MAN D38 engine intelligently.

A total of 74 specialist journalists from all over the world were given the opportunity during the press presentation over recent weeks to clock up test kilometres in the new MAN TGX D38. Altogether they accumulated around 33,300 kilometres on the road. Fedor Lapshin, who writes for AutoRevue in Russia, summed up the consensus as he climbed out at the end of his drive: “It’s a great vehicle, and a great engine. It just works so well all round.”

Visitors to IAA Commercial Vehicles 2014 can view the new MAN flagship for themselves in Hall 12 at the MAN booth from 25.09. to 02.10.14. That is where the MAN TGX D38 will be celebrating its public premiere. The team at MAN is eagerly anticipating the public’s verdict…

A MAN TGX D38 on a test route in Spain involving long ascents.


The MAN TGX D38 dealt effortlessly with test drives up long inclines in the Sierra Nevada beneath the hot Spanish sun.

A MAN TGX D38 being tested in a gravel pit.

Power in the gravel pit

The MAN TGX D38 was tested not only on the road. The new MAN trucks demonstrated their capabilities on challenging terrain in a gravel quarry.

MAN TGX D38 on a test drive

Full load

All of the test vehicles were fully loaded. They hit the road carrying up to 40 tons.

Two MAN TGX D38 on a test drive in Spain.

Demanding topography

The MAN TGX D38 trucks ascended around 1,400 metres each day in the Sierra Nevada.

View over the Sierra Nevada in Spain.


The Sierra Nevada offers not only challenging roads, but also fantastic views.

MAN developer explains the new D38 engine to journalists.

Detailed information

MAN developers explain the new product in detail to journalists – here they examine the new D38 engine.

A truck driver wearing sunglasses in the cab.

Pure sunshine

Sunglasses are essential for driving through sunny Spain.

Two MAN TGX D30s driving on a windy test route in Spain.

Behind the wheel

Each journalist test-drove an average of 450 kilometres over two days – representing around 33,300 kilometres in all.

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All highlights at a glance

The new in-line six-cylinder engine in the MAN TGX D38 achieves top marks.

To the MAN TGX D38 highlights

MAN efficiency systems

When efficiency meets comfort.

Save transport costs and travel more safely with MAN efficiency systems. Cut fuel consumption with MAN EfficientCruise®, increase traction with MAN HydroDrive® and enjoy optimum driving comfort with the MAN TipMatic® 12-speed automatic gearbox.

To the MAN efficiency systems