It's packed with technology and even offers an automated manual gearbox, but will diesel soon be replaced with all-electric power?

We don’t typically talk about big rigs here at Motor1, but every now and again something like the Mack Anthem comes along and really catches our eye. That alone is a bit of a shocker, because Mack trucks don’t have a reputation for being what you might call lookers. The manufacturer has been a staple in the trucking industry for over 100 years, with many a professional driver having  spent a lifetime guiding the burly bulldog hood ornament down the road. The bulldog is still there, but this newest Mack strives to combine the rugged, macho presence of the past with smoother lines and aerodynamic cues of the future.  

 

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"Every detail on the Anthem was designed with purpose," said Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of sales for Mack Trucks North America. "We surveyed thousands of drivers and incorporated their feedback to deliver a functional, strong, efficient highway truck with an authentic design unlike anything on the road today."

We’re not sure about the look being unlike anything else on the road. We see plenty of influence from Mack’s parent company Volvo, which has been building streamlined trucks for decades. And though the manufacturer is quick to boast about a 3 percent improvement in efficiency due to the “optimized” design, that only translates to roughly one tenth of a mile per gallon when you realize most semi trucks manage 5.5 mpg on average. Still, if even the slightest gains are a side effect of the truck’s smooth shape, we’ll take it.

 

2018 Mack Anthem
2018 Mack Anthem
2018 Mack Anthem
2018 Mack Anthem

 

Inside, drivers have a plethora of technology that includes everything you’d find in a proper luxury car, including a range of driving assists such as radar cruise control and lane departure warnings. One thing you won’t necessarily find is a massive gear lever – the Mack Anthem can be equipped with a a fully automatic transmission, or an mDrive HD push button automated manual with 13 or 14 speeds. For those drivers who prefer the physical connection and direct control, a traditional manual is available.

The Anthem comes in three configurations, including a day cab and a pair of sleeper models for long-distance operation. Power comes from a range of diesel engine options that provide up to 505 horsepower and 1,860 pound-feet of pull-anything torque.

Mack says the Anthem represents the next generation of semis, though many people believe the future of trucking is an electric one. With instant torque, fewer speeds and far less moving parts, all-electric semis seem to have clear advantages in performance and reliability, with the only drawbacks currently being range and recharge time. Regardless, that’s not stopping Tesla from revealing its electric semi next month, and other companies have electric semis in the works as well.

With battery technology evolving rapidly, the Mack Anthem's destiny may not be the next-generation truck as stated, but rather the ultimate evolution of the tried-and-true diesel.

Source: Mack Trucks

 

Gallery: 2018 Mack Anthem

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Mack Anthem - The Next-generation Highway Hero in US

 

Mack Trucks today introduced its new, next-generation highway hero, the Mack Anthem. The Mack Anthem is a re-engineered, redesigned and reimagined interpretation of what today's highway truck should be – aerodynamic, comfortable and connected, all with a distinctively bold Mack look.

"As one of the most significant new trucks in Mack's 117-year history, the Anthem combines our latest innovations with more than a century of truck-building know-how," says Dennis Slagle, president, Mack Trucks. "The incredible result is a truck that's been built for our customers' business and designed for drivers, all while delivering the power and presence that only a Mack truck can deliver."

The Mack Anthem gives drivers and businesses the tools they need to command the road. The truck features an all-new exterior design with optimized aerodynamics for improved fuel efficiency by up to 3 percent. New driving and sleeping environments were crafted with an emphasis on increasing driver comfort and productivity.

Gauges on the instrument panel have been positioned higher for better driver visibility, the new steering wheel contains illuminated controls for cruise control, Bluetooth and the audio system and behind the steering wheel, Mack's Co-Pilot display has been updated with a new full-color screen for improved visibility and more intuitive navigation.

"Every detail on the Anthem was designed with purpose," says Jonathan Randall, senior vice president, sales, Mack Trucks North America. "We surveyed thousands of drivers and incorporated their feedback to deliver a functional, strong, efficient highway truck with an authentic design unlike anything on the road today."

In addition to a new hood and grille, Mack engineers redesigned the roof and chassis fairings, mirror covers, and front bumper and air dam to more easily cut through the wind.

"Looking at the new Anthem for the first time, most people are struck by its strong, distinctively Mack design," says John Walsh, Mack vice president of global marketing and brand management. "But it's also incredibly aerodynamic."

Mack also introduced Mack Connect. Mack Connect will serve as the reference for Mack's growing connectivity and uptime service offers. With Mack Connect, current and future services will be structured under connected support, connected business and connected driving. When service is required, the closest dealer location is identified and service bay space and parts availability is confirmed, all while the truck is still on the road. 

Using predictive analytics and connective technologies, Mack Connect turns data produced by the truck, the driver and the service process into insights and actions, resulting in superior support and service to Mack customers.

The Mack Anthem is available for order now, with full production beginning in Q1 2018.