DEUTZ-FAHR'S tractor line has returned to the top-end power sector with a new model featuring dramatic styling and the industry's first engine hood with power lift.

There are four models in the Deutz-Fahr 9 Series with the performance and features to compete with established machines in its class, says the manufacturer, with Deutz engine power outputs from 274hp to 336hp channelled through the latest-generation ZF stepless transmission.

This power unit and drive package is backed up by prodigious hydraulic capacity and a full-feature driver's cabin, where Topcon-based guidance and other electronics resources are available.

The new range is the highest profile element of a plan to raise Deutz-Fahr tractor sales in the UK and Ireland, where market share remains below 3%, in contrast to a 12-15% share across the rest of Europe.

Deutz-Fahr managers believe the product deserves 7-8% in the UK and Ireland and have set that as a realistic target for a five-year, €1m annual investment plan to strengthen the dealer network, raise the profile of the Deutz-Fahr brand and position the products competitively.

The German marque has become the dominant brand of Italy's Same Deutz-Fahr Group. It now represents 71% of group sales, while SAME has fallen to 17% and Lamborghini to 8%, although they remain stronger in their southern European heartland.

Tractors for all three brands - and the niche Hürlimann range - are built in Italy and at the Deutz-Fahr plant in southern Germany, where the €75m (£58.5m) Deutz-Fahr Land project will yield a state-of-the-art factory this year for the new high horsepower tractors, a glitzy showroom and a museum.

Group investment has been increased from 4.4% to 5.5% of nett turnover and is split about equally between R and D and production facilities. The objective is to reinforce the group's product technology and manufacturing efficiency, and also its production capacity as the product range expands.

The 274-336hp Deutz-Fahr 9 Series will be followed by a bigger, more powerful range of heavy-weight tractors with power outputs up to 440hp or thereabouts. In the meantime, Deutz-Fahr managers have not forgotten the livestock sector, whose tractor requirements are at the opposite end of the size and power scale.

With the installation of the new FARMotion engine built in the group's Indian factory, the Deutz-Fahr Agroplus has become the 5D Series with 75hp, 88hp and 99hp outputs, while the Agrofarm is now the 5G Series with 89hp, 102hp and 109hp.

The more durable and more fuel-efficient three- and four-cylinder engines that replace the SDF 1000 Series motors have electronic common rail fuel injection and a maintenance-free diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) to render exhaust gases pretty much harmless.

A wide range of transmissions from the Agroplus and Agrofarm - from a simple 10x10 synchro shuttle to a 60x60 creep 'box with power shuttle - are unchanged. Ongoing features include 'Stop and Go', which allows the operator to bring the tractor to a halt and started again using only the brake pedal.

A wider four-post cab for the 5G (ex-Agrofarm) tractors gives the driver a bit more elbow room and makes it easier to climb aboard. The cab is shared with the larger 5C models, which use a 3.6-litre Deutz engine for 89hp, 99hp and 118hp outputs.

Further up the range are two additions to the Deutz-Fahr 6 Series, which now spans 118hp to 210hp using four- and six-cylinder Deutz engines. At 135hp for draft work and 144hp for other operations, the 6140 bucks the trend towards six-cylinder power being confined to more than 150hp.

"We already have the four-cylinder 6140.4 with the same performance," said product specialist, Dave Jefferson. "But the 6140 has a good power-to-weight ratio in a small package, with a longer wheelbase giving good road transport manners and field traction with less ballast."

At the top end of the 6 Series, tweaking fuel injection settings has produced the Deutz-Fahr 6210 with 209hp and the new Comfort-Shift version of the existing 40x40 transmission.