A WIDER choice of equipment and features will be introduced on McCormick X7 Pro Drive tractors at its launch at the Royal Highland Show.

The new 'Efficient' models will complement the current full-spec' Premium machines, though they still come with gear pump hydraulics and a new front axle suspension design on four-cylinder models, mechanical spool valves, a different lighting package and a new side-mounted console housing all the major controls.

Lower prices reflect the difference in equipment levels, according to Ray Spinks, sales director and general manager at AgriArgo UK, McCormick's distributor in GB. "Many operators want a top-level specification with seat-mounted controls, electric spool valves, GPS steering and all the other features available with the current Premium specification McCormick X7 Pro Drive tractors. But there are others who either prefer a simpler equipment package or feel the tractor's workload doesn't justify some of those features."

The new spec' is available for the four-cylinder and selected six-cylinder models and broadens the appeal of the range. While there are changes to the hydraulics, front axle suspension, lighting and cab interior, the Efficient models still feature the effective Pro Drive transmission, with its adjustable power shuttle and push-button four-speed powershift and range shifting.

"The Pro Drive transmission is constantly highlighted by operators as an attractive feature of the McCormick X7 tractors because of its progressive gearing, silky smooth powershifts and effective road and field auto functions," added Mr Spinks. "So it continues in the same format in the Efficient models, with 24 speeds in both directions, a creep option providing speed reduction gears, and four-speed pto with 'power' and 'economy' gearing."

The transmission is controlled via a fixed joystick carrying a roller switch to lift and lower the three-point hitch and buttons for powershift and engine speed memory functions. But the controller is mounted on a new side console, rather than on the seat, along with three mechanical spool valve levers angled conveniently towards the driver for easy operation.

An electric fourth valve is available as an option, operated by buttons on the multi-function controller, and optional electronic mid-valves come with a small joystick on the console for operating front-mounted implements or a McCormick MPower loader.

The console - located in a version of the Premiere cab has manual air conditioning, cool box, air suspension seat and 'hide away' passenger seat - also houses colour-coded dials for setting the electronic rear hitch. There are safety flick switches for engaging and disengaging the rear pto (and front pto where fitted), and levers for pto speeds and creep gearbox when installed.

Four-cylinder Efficient tractors with 143hp, 160hp and 166/175hp BetaPower engines have gear pump hydraulics delivering up to 88-litre/min. For more demanding applications, they can be upgraded to a piston pump system (as on six-cylinder Efficient models) with up to 123-litres/min output and a separate 44-litre/min pump for steering and auxiliary systems.

Lift capacity at the rear is 6300kg (upgradable to 9300kg with the 100mm lift cylinder option) and a 3500kg front hitch is available, with or without pto.

Also up front is a new beam axle front suspension that enhances ride comfort, especially in tandem with optional hydraulic cab suspension and can also improve traction on rough surfaces.

Prices start at £71,779 for the 131hp (rated), 143hp max McCormick X7.440 Pro Drive Efficient - a saving of more than £6000 against a full-spec' Premium.

n Scottish dealers - Thomas Murray Agricultural Engineers, Dundonald, Ayrshire; TH Engineering, Banksfoot, Dalswinton, Dumfries; Fraser C Robb, Drymen, Glasgow; John Drysdale, Kinneswood, Perthshire; Hamilton Tractors, Carnwath, Lanarkshire; Brian Smith Engineers, Cornhill; Mark Wood Agri-Sales, Insch and Mearns Tractors, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire; and JT Cormack, John O'Groats.