SEVERAL NEW - some of them unique - features have been included in the design of JCB's most serious stab yet at cornering a slice of the action in the competitive 150-250hp sector.

It says its new Fastrac 4000 will 'raise the bar for productivity, utilisation and driver appeal'. "Our engineers have worked long and hard to develop this Fastrac, which stays true to the original concept in layout and versatility but moves the game on as far as performance and capabilities are concerned," said Richard Fox-Marrs, MD of JCB Agriculture.

"Compared with the outgoing 2000 Series, the new tractors are more powerful but more economical, stronger but more nimble, and more versatile yet easier to operate," he said.

Four-wheel steering is available again but with a tighter turning circle and selectable steering ratio, and bigger tyres improve flotation and traction. A more sophisticated suspension system provides side-to-side self-levelling as well as front and rear, and the ability to 'squat' under demountable equipment for quicker and easier implement change-over.

There is also more power - up to 235hp (max) from the range-leading Fastrac 4220 and with the flexibility of a CVT transmission.

There's also new styling including an instantly recognisable fresh cab, the Command Plus centre.

Three Fastrac 4000s will be available, all using a 6.6-litre six-cylinder AGCO Power engine to meet Euro Stage 4/US Tier 4 Final exhaust emissions rules using proven, fuel-efficient SCR technology.

Smallest in the range is the Fastrac 4160, which has 160hp on tap at 2100rpm rated speed, with 175hp available via engine boost. The 4190 has 189hp rated and 208hp max; while the 4220 has 217hp at rated speed, or 235hp max.

"The Fastrac 4000 is designed from the outset to operate implements front and rear and to make productive use of the rear deck area behind the cab," Mr Fox-Marrs pointed out. "Carrying an extra 2.5 tonnes of seed or fertiliser has a significant impact on productivity."

Fuel saving while on the road is also assured given that 60kph is achieved at just 1600rpm, or you can drive at 50kph with less than 1400rpm engine revs for fuel economy.

The stronger chassis has a 30% higher maximum weight of 12 tonnes - with four tonnes permissible on the load deck.

Keeping up with the Joneses, the latest Fastracs also have a new Headland Turn Assist programme.