Spanning 230hp to 305hp, Valtra’s new Q series touched down on Irish soils earlier this year. The new tractor series plugs the gap between the firm’s flagship T255 and its entry level S274.
The new Series comes after a two-year reshuffle of Valtra’s entire tractor range, which completed the firm’s fifth generation of tractors. In this period, the Finnish manufacturer also introduced the new G-series, while it updated its A, N and T ranges.
We travelled to a dealer training event in Tipperary to see the tractor in the flesh.
Bridging the gap
The new Q series slots in between the popular T and flagship S series. The T series maxes out with the T255 at 255hp (271hp with boost); however, this tractor is only available with the Versu five-speed powershift gearbox, which may be less desired in a tractor of this size. Probably of more appeal to the large horsepower operators would be Valtra’s T235 Direct, however, it is capped at 235hp (250hp with boost).
At the other end of the spectrum, Valtra’s six-model S-series starts with the 270hp S274 (300hp with boost). However, this is a very big tractor, and isn’t in line with the current trend among tractor manufacturers in response to market demand for higher power to weight ratio tractors.
Not one to fix something which isn’t broken, as the saying goes, Valtra has decided to stick with the proven and trusted six-cylinder 7.4 litre AGCO Power engine. For those unaware, this is the same engine used in the T series from the T175 upwards and in a number of Massey Ferguson tractors and combines.
With a single non-variable geometry turbo, the engine features Valtra’s automated EcoPower concept, which is based off low rpm and max power. This feature allows the tractor’s ECU to automatically switch to a second engine map when it detects an opportunity to reduce revs and save fuel.
In the Q305, the power boost is always available. Meanwhile, the other models feature a straightforward boost feature which provides extra power when needed. Transport boost is available when ground speed reaches 18km/h, while Sigma Power boosts the PTO.
Maximum power is available at 1,850rpm, while the manufacturer says maximum torque (1,280 Nm) stays consistent in the range of 1,000 to 1,500rpm. With the aim of reducing fuel consumption, maximum driving speed is achieved at 1,500rpm. The emissions control system is the same as we have become accustomed to on the T series. The unit uses AdBlue, but doesn’t feature an exhaust gas recirculation system.
The Q series features one transmission option, which of course is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Sourced in-house through the AGCO network, the transmission is built by Fendt (ML 260) in Germany, and features some tweaks by Valtra.
It’s understood that originally Valtra had planned to launch the Q series with the same powershift transmission as the Massey Ferguson 8S, which was initially launched without the Dyna-VT (CVT) option.
Based on market trends, Valtra decided to only offer the AGCO CVT option. Between the development of incorporating this CVT into the firm’s software and COVID-19, the launch of the Q series was set back by several years.
The ML 260 transmission is well regarded, and was previously used by Fendt in its higher horsepower 900 series. This is a stronger unit than Valtra’s Direct gearbox which has proved itself on the T-series, and it needs to be able to handle the additional torque that runs through its veins.
It also works differently – the Direct has four manual range changes, while the AGCO CVT offers smooth driving right the way up to 50km/h.
The transmission has two ranges, one for the field and the other for the road. The transmission can be operated in two modes – manual and automatic. In automatic mode, the electronic transmission management automatically selects the lowest possible engine revs to maintain the lowest fuel consumption. The driver sets the speed using the drive pedal, drive lever, or cruise control.
With droop control, the operator can change the behaviour of the tractor for more economic or intensive operation.
Having had the opportunity to drive the tractor, we can say without doubt it is one of the smoothest and quietest transmissions on the market.
The Qs are coming as standard with a 200-litre/min hydraulic pump.
The Q series weighs in at 9.2t, while its maximum gross weight comes in at 16t, offering a high payload for transportation.
The rear linkage is rated to 10t, while the front links are rated for 4.8t, in comparison with 9t and 5.5t on the T series.
The Q Series is quite compact. It has a low total height (3,337mm) and a long wheelbase (3,050mm), while offering a low centre of gravity. It can be specified with a flanged or bar rear axle.
Valtra has added its Aires pneumatic front axle suspension system, which the manufacturer claims alongside the long wheelbase increases the pulling force of the tractor and reduces power hopping. It says the grip to the ground is increased because the air suspension has a faster reaction time compared to standard hydraulic suspension.
The cab on the Q series is the same as what Valtra users have become used to from the N and T series. This cab was first launched on the N-series in 2014, but received an interior revamp for fifth-generation models over the past two years. This included a new A-pillar display.
Widely known for its tractor customisation options, Valtra offers different cab packages involving various colours, internal cab details and lighting. The Q features new LED driving lights and new work lights, which replace the halogens used on the T series.
The cab is easily accessible. You are greeted by four aluminium steps with a shallow pitch. The cab offers a very comfortable and spacious working environment. While driving the Q series, visibility from the seat to the front linkage was good, thanks its steep sloping bonnet.
The Q series come as standard with Valtra’s SmartTouch, a 9in touchscreen terminal which comes with a multifunctional lever that features huge levels of optional configuration.
Technology and high-horsepower tractors go hand in hand, and the Q is no different. Users can opt for technology such as Valtra Guide, Isobus, Connect, Section Control (96 sections) and TaskDoc etc as add-ons. What’s more, Valtra says its dealers will be offering remote diagnostic tools to schedule predictive maintenance for when best suits customers.
One really impressive feature we got an opportunity to try out on the Q was Valtra’s Auto U-Pilot. The tractor creates a virtual headland boundary, and once the tractor passes, the headland management system automatically engages. If the tractor is fitted with the SmartTurn feature, the tractor will turn itself on the headland and start the next bout without the need for driver input.
In terms of guidance, the Q series come with the option of a Trimble or Novatel receiver.
The development of the Q series follows the current trend among tractor manufacturers in response to market demand for higher power to weight ratio tractors. For Valtra users who want more power, but don’t necessary want to jump to the large chassis S series, the Q plugs the gap that was previously in the Finnish manufacturer’s tractor range, and does so with style.
Although a totally new model range, the Q series is built upon componentry that has proven itself over the past decade. A tried and tested engine, a smooth and established transmission and an existing well laid out and comfortable cab, coupled with the ability to style the tractor in the unlimited studio, means the Q series has the potential to be a real competitor. With huge competition in this high horsepower market, pricing will play a massive role in Valtra’s abilty to influence the market with the new Q.
Engine: 7.4-litre AGCO Power.
Transmission: AGCO CVT (Fendt ML 260).
Hydraulics: 200 l/min.
Unladen weight: 9.2t.
Rear lift capacity: 10t.
List price: €320,000 plus VAT.