John Deere launches new low-spec 6M tractor series

AT its UK base in Langar, John Deere revealed the successor to the standard 6030 tractor series along with a taster of a tractor fitted with the firm’s new DirectDrive transmission.

Designed as a lower specification tractor compared to the premium R series, John Deere’s new 6M series provides more power, functionality and operator comfort than their standard 6030 series predecessors, says the manufacturer.

Aimed at users who still want power and performance, but in a simpler package, the newly styled 6Ms include tractors from 115hp to 170hp, and a 140hp model featuring the highest power level yet from a John Deere four-cylinder.

The new six model series replaces tractors from the 6430 up to the 6930 – the existing 6130, 6230 and 6330 standard models from 85hp to 105hp will remain in the range for 2013. Also, at the top end of the series is a new additional model, the 6170M which takes power up to a maximum of 175hp.

As ever (since 1992), the 6Ms have a full-frame design which is available in three wheelbase sizes; 2,580mm, 2,765mm and 2,800mm (the latter the same as the old 7810 wheelbase), with triple link suspension and front axle brakes available as an option.

The 6115M, 6125M, 6130M and 6140M models are equipped with 4.5-litre four-cylinder engines, while the larger 6150M and 6170M are powered by 6.8-litre, six cylinders – the same as the premium R series machines. All models have a rated engine speed of 2,100rpm (reduced from 2,200rpm), a new cooling system and an increased fuel tank capacity of up to 406 litres.

To comply with stage 3b emission legislation, each model uses exhaust gas recirculation technology, a diesel oxidation catalyst and a diesel particulate filter – no AdBlue required.


While the 6Ms get the new family-styled bonnet from the R series machines, the cabs used are essentially the old 30 series cabs with a few tweaks. However, they do get a newly designed dashboard which features an integrated onboard display to facilitate machine settings which can also be used as a performance monitor, and an ergonomically improved right-hand console. They also still use a six-post cab design with opening windows which many users like, says the manufacturer.

In addition, an optional basic headland management system can be specified which automatically activates multiple functions simultaneously. The series can also be fitted with GreenStar and IsoBus wiring for automatic guidance and implement control.

Transmission options include PowrReverser, PowrQuad Plus, AutoQuad Plus and AutoQuad Plus ECO (see 6M transmission options table). All are fitted with a power shuttle and a creeper box is offered on all models apart from the 6170M.

An improved hydraulic system now features more power and faster response times, says John Deere. Four-cylinder models get an 80-litre/min pressure compensated system, with the option to fit a 114-litre/min pressure and flow compensated version, which is fitted as standard to six-cylinder models.

Hydraulic take-out capacity is 25 litres on the four-cylinder models and 35 litres on the six-cylinder machines, with the option of fitting an extra tank taking those figures up to 37 litres and 47 litres respectively.

Rear-linkage lift capacity has risen about 10 per cent across the range, with maximum lift capacity ranging from 4,900kg on the small-framed tractors to 7,000kg on the range-topping 6170M. Up to four double-acting service valves can be fitted at the rear as well as power beyond connectors, which allows implements, using hydraulic motors for example, to self regulate oil flow preventing heat build-up and wear and tear.

Other options include a factory fitted 4,000kg lift capacity front linkage and pto, and a choice of John Deere tailor-made front loaders.

The 6Ms will be available to order from November and are fitted as standard with Cesar Datatag and integrated immobiliser systems.

6M transmission options

  • PowrReverser has 16 forward and 16 reverse speeds and an electrically-actuated left-hand shuttle for clutchless direction changes
  • PowrQuad Plus is offered in three versions; 16x16, 20x20 and 24x24. Each provides speed matching between range changes and is operated by a single lever with a de-clutch function and push button gear selection
  • AutoQuad Plus has all the benefits of PowrQuad Plus with the added convenience of automatic gear shifting. There are two versions with 20x20 or 24x24 gears available
  • AutoQuad Plus ECO enables 40kph and 50kph transport speeds to be achieved at lower engine revs, thus reducing fuel consumption and noise levels

6M series

Previous standard 6030 series modelsNew 6M series modelsRecommended retail price
6130 (85hp, four-cylinder)*  
6230 (95hp, four-cylinder)*  
6330 (105hp, four-cylinder)*6115M (115hp, four-cylinder, small-frame)£55,782
6430 (120hp, four-cylinder)6125M (125hp, four-cylinder, small-frame)£59,702
6530 (125hp, four-cylinder)6130M (130hp, four-cylinder, mid-frame)£63,011
6630 (135hp, six-cylinder)6140M (140hp, four-cylinder, mid-frame)£67,409
6830 (145hp, six-cylinder)  
6930 (155hp, six-cylinder)6150M (150hp, six-cylinder, mid-frame)£74,454
 6170M (170hp, six-cylinder, large-frame)£81,682

*Existing models remain in range for 2013

DirectDrive transmission driving impression

Source: YouTube

The launch also provided an opportunity to try out John Deere’s new 24-speed DirectDrive transmission, albeit only up and down a runway with a laden sprayer with a train weight of about 21 tonnes.

Available only for the six-cylinder 6R tractor series, the transmission draws upon technology taken from the automotive industry. Using double-clutch technology, it combines the handling comfort of a CVT and the power efficiency of a mechanical transmission.  It has been designed to provide maximum efficiency for specific tasks and load conditions which require continuous power, such as ploughing, pto work and towing.

The transmission consists of eight powershift gears in three ranges, with plenty of overlap between ranges. This results in minimal changing between ranges when in working conditions, says John Deere.

Operators can choose between manual or automatic driving modes. In auto, the transmission provides fully automatic changes between the eight speeds under full load, and also provides fully automatic range changes between A, B and C.

Efficiency manager function also allows target speeds to be pre-set, whereby the tractor automatically selects the most efficient gear and engine revs for the job. This can also be altered on the move via a scroll wheel on the gear stick. A top speed of 50kph can be achieved at 1,500rpm for extra fuel efficiency.

While this was only a brief driving impression, we did come to the conclusion this new transmission is phenomenally quick at changing gear, and just as quick at changing ranges.

It is available now to order, adding about £5,500 to the basic price of a 6R tractor.

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  • Good looking and inprest

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