Road Test: Scania 460R Super

Scania 460R Super

We go to work in a Scania 460R Super and find the Swedish marque’s new 13-litre engine pushes the boundaries for both performance and economy.

There’s been such a shift in recent years toward bigger cabs and higher outputs that a truck with a mid-sized cab and mid-400hp is considered ‘fleet spec’. Attracting and retaining drivers, along with residual values mean operators are more than likely to go large – even on trunkers that’ll never do a night out. What is fleet spec? Traditionally it meant low power, little in the way of luxury and in the era of autoboxes, excruciating economy software. This Scania 460R is pretty much what the supermarkets would order these days.

Scania’s 13-litre range has been a solid performer at Euro 6 with ratings of 410, 450 and 500 offered from 2017, and a high-output 540 launched in late 2019. Curiously, 540s will still be delivered throughout 2023 alongside the new Super models. Scania launched the new Super engine range at the end of 2021. A completely new DOHC engine matched to a new gearbox, axle and aftertreatment system has Euro 7 in its sights. Most of the attention was focused on the flagship 560 version, which produces the same 2800Nm torque as the entry-level 530 V8. They’re arriving here now, slowly, and feedback from the lucky drivers who’ve got one is overwhelmingly positive.

We were eager to get our mitts on a 560, but the majority of 13-litres are going to be 460s or 500s, so it made good sense to start out with the 460R. Normally, when Ed at Large here goes to work in a truck for a week, it’s with a haulier in Scotland – but this time we put it into service with Broughton Transport of Melksham, Wiltshire who run a mixed fleet which includes a pair of shiny new 560S Supers. We covered 2500km over the week, with a really good mix of general haulage work.

Loading up

At 5ft 10in I can just stand upright in the centre of the cab under the manual sunroof. The mid-height roof R-series looks tiny parked beside a Highline S, but there’s a surprising amount of room and storage. There are cupboards on the rear of the cab, a fridge, large storage box under the extendable bunk, and two large external lockers. I’m able to pack all my gear away neatly, bar a suitcase which sits on the bunk. The two large central drawers and flat area on the dash are really useful. Driving position is one of the best there is, with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment. I prefer the lower height of the R to the S for climbing in and out as well.

I leave the yard at 4am Monday with two drops: one in Manchester and one near Newcastle. Pressing the gear button on the right of the steering wheel and scrolling down brings up the adaptive cruise control option, which I switch on. You can also change the gearbox software here; but as I only have about 15 tonnes on, I leave it in ECO.

The run up to Manchester is straightforward, but the delivery is tricky. It requires a blindside into the yard, but the field of vision from the wide-angle mirror is excellent and I manage it first time. Running up to Newcastle, I note the truck is very accurately reading the road ahead of it. When it cuts the power near the top of a hill to roll down the other side, it does it at just the right time and doesn’t scrub too much speed. Of course, in busy traffic I just override it on the pedal so the truck behind doesn’t start overtaking.

Box clever

The new overdrive gearbox is equally intelligent and I was surprised at how well it could hold top gear. The 460 has an impressive 2500Nm of torque at 900rpm (that’s the same figure as a lot of engines with way over 500hp), and even on inclines it’ll hold on at a seemingly unfeasible 750rpm. The truck knows the gradients and will drop into 12th when needed, and crucially even in ECO mode it doesn’t have a tendency to scrub off speed. We all know it’s better to keep your momentum going, rather than slow down and then have to drag your way back to the limiter again – and the Scania does the right thing without me having to intervene.

The drop in Newcastle is pallets of decorative stone to a building site, so I phone ahead for directions and the guy meets me at the end of the road. I have to reverse over a mini roundabout to get lined up to drive through a tight set of gates to a stately home, and the access road only just fits an artic with the trailer pruning trees along the way. Sweaty-armpit stuff, but thankfully it’s a quick tip.

Next up, it’s over to a well-known timber factory on the A69. I’ve not been here since 2021 and it’s all changed. I have to do an online induction and a test before I’m allowed on site. The good news is once that’s done, my reg number is displayed on a sign and I can drive in and wait to be loaded. Time is ticking on and it’s a major bonus when it turns out it’s only half a load. Strapped up, I weigh out at 25 tonnes and hit the road. I’m right on the limit of nine hours driving and contemplating heading to Carlisle truckstop when I spot a five-star layby set well back from the road with two other trucks in it. That’ll do for the night.

I like the Scania bed, and the USB port and storage at the end. I take nine off and get on the road at 4am again, fuelling the twin tanks at Lancaster en route to Melksham. It’s a bright, clear morning and the perfect conditions to drive in. So of course, there are crashes on the M5 and M6 causing enormous delays. I didn’t spend all that time trunking to Birmingham for Drummond Distribution to drive into the back of a queue on the motorway, so I divert off down past Sandbach, then Stoke and Stone in Staffordshire. I originally intended only to avoid one section of motorway, but there seemed to have been a second incident. The M5 was shut for hours, but by the time I got there it had all been cleared.

I get to Melksham, tip the load and head back to the yard, where I wait for other lorries to arrive to load my trailer for the morning. Three drops across the south coast from Sussex into Kent. The first drop is at Fareham and no problem; the second is in Chichester, which is home to some of the worst traffic in the country. It takes about half an hour to drive two miles. Interestingly, the adaptive cruise will work right down to about 10mph.

It’s another building site, and one with no provision for artics at all so the load needs to come off at the roadside with angry, miserable members of the public screaming past. Why don’t building sites have a proper loading and turning area for the lorries they need? I have to drive up to a T-junction to reverse and get turned round. Health and Safety when it suits them.


The final drop is in some random location I’ve never heard of. I consult the map and ascertain I can use a long stretch of B-road, and then onto a couple of A-roads. Sussex roads are dreadful. It’s here I note now hard the suspension is on the Scania. It’s on steel with coil springs on the cab, and on bumpy roads it can just about knock the wind out of you. You probably want at least air on the cab. Having said that, the CRB (compression release brake) is excellent. With five stages, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have a retarder. It makes a great growling noise too – lots of fun having it echo off buildings.

At one point I encounter a village with a very tight set of 90-degree bends, and of course I meet a van with a 7.5-tonner behind it at the very worst point. They have to back up, I’m mounting a kerb missing parked cars by an inch, and somehow making it through. Lorry drivers deal with this stuff every single day. It’s so frustrating how much road furniture is around too; it’s nigh-on impossible not to clip built-out kerbs with trailer wheels in places. Newer ones are worse.

Once tipped, I head to a timber merchant over near Gatwick which again entails some very tight roads. It’s a full load this time and I use all 16 of the ratchet straps I have on board to secure it. We’re over 40 tonnes now and here’s a revelation: this new 460 performs way beyond how you might expect it to. If you told me it was a 500, I wouldn’t question it for a second. It pulls really well and the technology is perfectly matched to allow it to maintain speed, and as a result progress is rapid. There are a number of dour performers in this horsepower bracket, but the 460 Super isn’t one of them. It has the potential to cut down journey times with the way it tackles hills.

I return to the yard and have the luxury of a 7am start time, with the load of timber being tipped locally at 7.30am. Once that’s done, I head back and hook into a decker which I run empty to Birmingham to collect a load of priority freight from a pallet network hub.

It takes a while to get loaded and all the internal straps secured, and it’s 5pm by the time I head out onto a traffic-choked M42. Surprisingly the decker is at full weight; we’re pretty much bang-on 44 tonnes and the 460R really impresses. I move the gearbox setting from ECO to Standard, which implements a livelier changing strategy. At the bottom of a fairly steep hill on the M5, we slow to 50 to allow cars to join from a slip road. The gearbox selects 11th at the bottom and holds it almost all the way up. Even on the steepest grade on the M4 at the Bath junction we only drop to 44mph – a lot of trucks would be down to around 30 there at full weight.

Friday fun

The final day sees me running across to Reading with Bob Beech, who is driving a Broughton Scania 540S. Bob knows an excellent cross-country route to Cheivley Services which takes in some of the wide, sweeping A4 and avoids the rush-hour traffic on the M4. There are two drops on, and the first one is a faff; there’s no space at their warehouse so they send me to another site in Wokingham, which involves avoiding a low bridge and a squeeze through the town centre. Plus, it’s pouring rain. Once that’s done, I retrace my route from the morning to reload in Devizes. The trailer gets dropped at Broughton’s warehouse and that’s me done.

Our verdict

The final figures for the week were 2500km and an amazing 11mpg. From long runs on the motorway to a day spent threading through tight roads, and a mix of loads from light to full, it was a really good test of what a truck like this would typically face. With just 12,000km on the clock, it’s not even run in yet. It’s remarkable how Scania has managed to extract so much power and torque while also returning incredible fuel consumption figures. The AdBlue use wasn’t bad either: topped off on Tuesday, it had used 40 litres by end of play on Friday.

For a mid-range workhorse to also be so enjoyable to drive, aided enormously by intelligent technology that works well even in busy real-world situations, is a real achievement. The 460 Super is going to be a revelation; we suspect it’s the equal on performance to the outgoing 500. Our only concern is the very low ground clearance on that front bumper with steel suspension and 70 series tyres, plus the bouncy ride quality. But it’s unlikely a truck in this spec would be running onto building sites as we were.

If you want to order one now, you’ll be in for a wait. Such is the situation with modern manufacturing and the availability of components. If you’re due to get any Super model this year, you’re in for a treat. We didn’t expect a 460 to be this good. It can cope with anything you throw at it and then some. The 500 and 560 are both going to be very special indeed. We have a number of trucks lined up to put to work throughout 2023, including a 560S tag courtesy of Keltruck. Pound for pound, the 460R massively exceeded expectations and has set a very high bar for the others to match.

Test Specification

  • Make & Model: Scania 460R A6x2/2NA CR20N
  • Engine: DC13 175 DOHC, 13-litre, 24-valve, six-cylinder, Euro 6e
  • Transmission: G25CM 14-speed Opticruise with crawler and overdrive
  • Power: 460hp @ 1800rpm
  • Torque: 2500Nm @ 900-1290rpm
  • Optional kit: Driver +, Infotainment+, Storage and Lighting packages