Monster new tracked Claas Xerion 12 puts out 653hp

Unveiled in the midst of its principle competitors at the three-day Ag in Motion event in Canada, the new Claas Xerion 12 series firmly stakes a claim to a place in the “monster tractor” category in terms of scale and power.

With peak outputs of 585hp and 653hp, the newcomers are clearly destined for the main big-tractor market of North America, as well as central western Europe, Australia and South America.

See also: Driver’s view: Fisher Farms’ Claas Axion 960 TT tractor

But the machines are also heading to selected markets elsewhere in Europe – including the UK and Ireland next year – to cater for growers wanting maximum performance when handling the largest cultivators and seed drills.

In terms of top power bragging rights, the 653hp output of the Xerion 12.650 is out-gunned by John Deere’s 664hp articulated four-track 9RX 640 and wheeled 9R 640, as well as the 692hp Case IH Quadtrac 620.

But these employ powershift transmissions in contrast to the Xerion’s CVT with its speed flexibility and fuel-efficiency potential; only the Case IH Quadtrac 540 CVXDrive offers something akin to that, and it has a lesser 613hp under the hood.

Also contrasting the alternative power units is the rigid chassis of the 12.590 and 12.650, which mirrors the existing Xerion’s format, compete with selectable steering at both ends and a C-Matic stepless transmission, but scaled up in every respect.

The motor and transmission are tuned for a low engine-speed setup to help conserve fuel which, together with the large rubber-to-soil contact area, is reckoned to garner an 8-10% economy advantage over other machines at this performance level.

Mounting the massive 1,400-litre fuel tank centrally aims to maintain 50:50 weight distribution as the 15.6-litre MTU Mercedes-Benz engine sups its juice, while the availability of a three-pump load-sensing hydraulics system delivering up to 537-litre/min should mean even the biggest air seeders are not starved of oil.

Claas Xerion tractor 12 interior

© Claas

Running gear

Although available on wheels in some markets, Claas personnel in the UK say the new triangular-format Terra Trac undercarriage developed by the company’s own components engineering business will be standard over here, with positive drive traction belts either 762mm or 914mm wide.

Suspension is limited to large rubber blocks between the undercarriage and the main frame of the track assembly.

But the two pairs of mid-rollers are mounted on bogies so they can adapt to surface contours independently of the main frame to help keep the belt’s chevron-pattern lugs firmly in contact with the soil.

Operators get to work in a larger cab than on current Xerion tractors, mounted on four-point suspension and with greater isolation from the chassis to minimise noise and vibration.

The view out is unhindered by an exhaust stack – it’s tucked away beneath the cab, together with the emissions control tackle.

Full-feature digital control and precision farming technologies are available, including a tramline management function that alerts the operator when a new one needs to be created.

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