9 February 1996

Fanfare and trumpets

at M/60 launch

Rarely, if ever, has a new tractor range been launched with such ceremony as the latest New Holland machines. Andy Collings reports from Orlando, Florida, where the first opportunity to drive one of New Hollands new M/60 Series tractors presented itself.

ASK a farmer what he wants from a tractor and he would reply reliability, good lugging power, adequate visibility and operator comfort.

New Holland believes it has incorporated all these key requirements into the design of its new tractor ranges – the 65hp-95hp L/35 Series and the 100hp-160hp M/60 Series (FW, Feb 2).

But what are these new tractors like to drive? The model we put through its paces was the top-of-the-range 160hp 8560 – the blue version of the Fiat liveried M160.

First impression from the ground is to be presented with a conventional yet stylish machine. Siting the exhaust stack against the cab corner strut creates an uninterrupted forward vision, a feature further enhanced by the slightly drop-nosed bonnet.

Access to the cab is straightforward, three steps and a final heave into the flat-decked cab. In high humidity Orlando temperatures of 32C (90F), the air conditioning was the first control to locate – but first the engine had to be started.

With the clutch pedal depressed a turn of the key brought the 160hp, six-cylinder engine quietly to life, a new engine design which New Holland claims offers good low-engine speed lugging characteristics.

Having set the air conditioning to full, it was time to locate the other controls. Transmission on this particular 8560 is the companys Range Command system which provides 18 forward and six reverse ratios using a semi-powershift system. Six powershift speeds can be obtained in each of three forward and one reverse range.

A control arm to the right of the operator, adjustable for individual comfort, is equipped with two shift buttons to raise or lower the speeds in each of the ranges, and a third button to change between ranges. A dashboard mounted indicator board informs of the gear and range selected.

On the move…

And so to move. To the left of the steering wheel is a shuttle lever which can be operated without letting go of the steering wheel. Lifting it slightly and pushing it forwards sets the tractor off in a forward direction; pulling it backwards and the tractor is in reverse.

Changing gear is simply a matter of pressing the required button to change up or down through the gears. There is no need to depress the clutch.

Large as it is, the 8560 appears to be a manoeuvrable machine. A 55 degree turning angle on the front axle leads to a certain "agility" which should allow economic headland turns to be performed.

A feature of the 8560 is what New Holland terms as the TerraLock – one assumes "terra" relates to terra firma and not to any particular state of mind. In any event, it is a two-option system which automatically controls four-wheel drive engagement and front and rear differential locks.

With option one selected using touch pads sited on the right hand console, disengagement of front and rear differentials is activated either when the hydraulic raise/lower switch is used or a single brake pedal is pressed. The differential locks are re-engaged when an implement is lowered or the brake pedal is released.

Option two – fully automatic mode – not only allows automatic operation of the diff-locks but, in addition, disengages and engages four-wheel drive in respect of steering angle.

Dashboard indicator

And just so you know whats going on, a dashboard indicator board illuminates the selected modes.

With no chance to assess the tractors performance while pulling an implement, it was difficult to give the low-engine speed ability a true test. The best that could be achieved was to select a high gear and run at as low an rpm as possible. In this, it has to be said the 8560 hardly baulked at all, adding a certain credibility to New Hollands claim for the new engine.

Hydraulic linkage control was through the use of the Electrolink system. An electronic draft control system which requires the operator to pre-set draft and depth settings, it also monitors implement response and adjusts settings automatically.

Overall, one is led to the opinion that New Holland has produced a comfortable, user friendly tractor which should find favour with operators and dealers alike. &#42

&#8226 Engine: 160hp 6cyl turbocharged.

&#8226 Transmission: (on test model) 18 x 6 semi-powershift.

&#8226 Steering angle: 55 degrees.

&#8226 Lift capacity: 5570kg – 60cm behind ball ends.

&#8226 Price: £60,393.

8560 interior. Note the powershift arm to the right of the arm rest and the TerraLock touch sensitive activation panel on the side of the console.

Full 55 degree steering lock allows for economical headland turns.With the tractors TerraLock system activated, four wheel drive and differential locks are automatically disengaged when a certain steering angle is exceeded.