As it did with the introduction of the 7 Series two years ago, Deutz-Fahr is continuing to push into new markets, this time unveiling two new, high horse power tractor ranges - the 9 and 11 Series.
And it is the hotly anticipated 9 Series we will be looking at in this test drive, which is made up of four models ranging from 274-336hp.
Designed as a versatile tractor to meet the needs of large-scale farmers and contractors, the 9 Series faces stiff competition from the likes of John Deere’s 7/8R Series, Fendt’s 900 Series and Claas’ 900 Series – quite a tough, German-led line-up.
Tooled up with a five-metre-wide tine cultivator, we were keen to see how this visually striking beast performed.
Our test model was a pre-production flagship 9340 TTV. While this model gave us a good flavour of what to expect from the 9 Series, full production models will feature the new MaxiVision 2 cab which gets an updated dash and control layout while, externally, the fuel and hydraulic tanks will be neatened up.
Despite its power, it does not feel a massive tractor from the seat - easily said in the wide expanses of a field. However, curved rear fenders which seem to fall away, a well sculpted bonnet and slim cab posts do make views all-round pretty good for such a machine.
Logically, the manufacturer uses the same operating concept as found on the rest of its TTV machines.
Primary controls reside on the right-hand armrest, which include a multifunctional joystick for the control of the transmission, headland management activation, spools, front and rear linkage, plus shuttle and cruise speeds. Also integrated into the joystick is a scroll wheel for fine adjustment of speeds.
For monitoring performance and setting up of certain tractor functions such as hydraulic flow, a scroll wheel and hot keys can be used in conjunction with an LCD work display screen, mounted on the right-hand A-pillar.
However, to really make the most of the tractor’s functions and capabilities, its iMonitor 2 touch-screen terminal is used. This takes care of all tractor performance monitoring and set-up, including headland management (called ComfortTip) and automatic steering. It also serves as an IsoBus controller, featuring section and variable rate control for spraying, spreading and drilling.
This latest generation terminal also has the ability to remember tractor settings - flow rates and timings and hitch position, for example - which can be recalled for specific jobs.
The terminal has been developed in conjunction with TopCon to produce Deutz-Fahr’s precision farming element, Agrosky, and is by far one of the easiest and most logical terminals to fathom.
As the TTV denotes, all models in the 9 Series use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) courtesy of ZF. To keep a high level of mechanical efficiency, it features four ranges coupled to a hydrostatic pump.
Range changes are all done automatically, and more often than not without you realising.
Three speed variants of the transmission can be specified; 40, 50 or 60kph. The 60kph version reaches its top speed at 1,775rpm and comes with external front disc brakes taking care of 50 per cent of the braking - ABS is also in the pipeline.
Essentially there are three driving modes; automatic, pto and manual. In automatic, you choose the speed and the tractor works out the optimum revs and CVT ratio to achieve it.
In pto mode, revs are kept up to maintain implement speeds, while the operator controls desired forward speed. Manual mode lets the operator control both engine and tractor speeds independently.
Other functions integrated into the transmission include automatic handbrake and transmission hold on hills. Shuttle aggressiveness can be adjusted via a wheel on the shuttle lever.
Power comes from a Stage 4-compliant, 7.8-litre Deutz engine using a combination of selective catalytic reduction and exhaust gas recirculation to clean up emissions.
Series turbos are used to keep the engine lively, resulting in a wide constant power range at low revs.
A narrow engine block has also been engineered which helps give the tractor a wasp waist allowing for a tight turning circle.
With this tractor there is no thrutching or straining to lift the bonnet. Instead it lifts electrically on a parallel linkage, giving unobstructed access to the engine bay. In the event of electrical failure, it can be lifted mechanically.
Up front is an integrated front hitch with a five tonne lift capacity. With it, you also get a proper integrated front hitch control allowing for pretty much everything except draft.
External control buttons on both sides of the hitch allow easier attachment of implements.
With the 9 Series it is great to see a bit of healthy competition brought to the market.
Overall operation is simple enough with some stand-out features, such as its intuitive iMonitor terminal and flexible set-up.
And it is the ability to add weight which really helps, up to 900kg per rear wheel. We can see it being a really good drilling tractor, particularly in the UK, for example.
The 9 Series is definitely worth a look and has the potential to rattle the old guard.
Full production will be at the end of next spring with deliveries commencing the following summer/autumn.
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