Fendt is currently the only manufacturer to offer a stepless-transmission tracked tractor in the 600hp plus category. So, what does this mean for drawbar power, fuel consumption and comfort? We find out.
Way back in 2017, Fendt released its first stepless-box tracked tractors with the three-model 900 Vario MT, topped by the 317kW/431hp 943MT. Fast forward on to 2021, and it was the turn of the four higher horsepower tracked units (376kW/511hp to 495kW/673hp max outputs) to get the Vario treatment. But it wasn’t just the transmission that saw a fundamental change, as there was also a change in engine: rather than AGCO Power’s own 12-cylinder, 16.8-litre motor, Fendt opted for a six-cylinder MAN with the low-revving concept (1,730rpm), which we’ve seen rolled out across many of the firm’s bigger wheeled tractor models.
While the 1151, 1156 and 1162 have the D3876 engine with a 15.2-litre displacement, the top tractor, the 1167 Vario MT with a rated output of 439kW/588hp is equipped with the mighty MAN D4276, which has a bore of 142mm instead of 138mm along with a larger 16.2-litre displacement.
Given these big stats we were expecting a big performance, especially as there is no restrictions on the engine output even in pto-only work.
Usually around now we would be packing our test 1167 off to the DLG test centre in Groß-Umstadt. But since the DLG cannot accommodate a big tracked tractor on the rolling road test bed for those key Powermix measurements, we are going with the pto and drawbar power measurements from Nebraska Tractor Test Lab (NTTL) in the USA, which also carries out tests to the OECD standard.
And to keep with the American theme, it’s worth noting the Fendt Vario MT tractors are still being manufactured at the former Challenger plant at Jackson, Minnesota.