Review: Landini Rex 4 and 120 GT

By: Harrison Hunkin & Jaiden Drought, Video by: Matt Bourke & Paul Cannan

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Landini Rex tractors are designed for vineyards and orchards – so we headed to wine country to put the established Rex 120 GT and new Rex 4 100 GT, through their paces


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The Rex 4 100 GT – by Harrison Hunkin

The latest release from Landini, perhaps Italy’s most famous agricultural brand, has more than the admirable reputation of its parent company to live up to.

The new Rex 4 100 GT was nominated for the Best Specialised Tractor award at Italy’s giant EIMA International expo in 2018, and won the Technical Innovation Award for its Advanced Driving System.

So it’s certainly an advanced design – but does it lead to La Dolce Vita? 

The Landini Rex 4 100 GT tractor working hard
Putting the Rex 4 100 GT through its paces

Engine and transmission

Under the bonnet of the Rex 4 100 GT is a Tier 4, 2.9-litre four-cylinder Deutz engine. Despite being a little smaller than the Perkins engines used in the previous Rex tractors, the Rex 4 nonetheless packs a pretty serious punch.

It pushes out 95 horsepower (70.8kW) and 400Nm of torque, with a top speed of 40km/h. That’s quite deceiving, given that these Landini Rex 4’s are visually tiny, but that’s what is great about vineyard/orchard tractors; they pack a serious punch in a cute, convenient package.

The Rex 4 features a new transmission made in-house by Argo, Landini’s parent company. It’s a 36-speed gearbox with 16 speeds in the working range 3-10km/h. However, with the Rex 4, you get a plethora of transmission options to suit any need.

You also get a modern declutch button on the gear stick for easy gear changes. It’s functional and works well, but on a personal level I still prefer using the clutch.

Hydraulics and PTO

Obviously, as these specialised tractors primarily operate with implements, they need a pretty decent power takeoff (PTO) and hydraulic system. With PTO you get four speeds that provide 540, 540Ee, 1000 and 1000E rpm. This, in conjunction with 16 working range speeds, allows the Rex 4 to maintain engine and PTO speed for optimum spray performance.

But the Rex 4 shines with its electronic engine control. A push of a button and the Rex 4 holds rpm under varying loads. A simple feature, but totally necessary for a job which relies so heavily on the accuracy of the spray.

The hydraulic system of the Rex 4 range comes standard with a double pump that supplies 50 litres/min to the rear hitch and remotes, and 28 litres/min to the steering system.

It seems like Landini will tailor the design to a variety of needs, offering up to seven remotes on the Rex 4 – four at the rear and three at the front – as well as the option for a triple pump that provides a flow rate of 44+41+28 litres/min.

The Rex 4 also has a max lift capacity of 2,700kg. If you go for the GT model that we drove, you do have the option of equipping the Rex 4 with twin assistor rams to increase lift capacity up to 3,400kg.

In the cab

Don’t be fooled by its size; there is ample space inside the Rex 4 to get in and out – due largely to its flat floor and a cab redesign that leaves it relatively uncluttered.

Visibility is great, which is extremely important when working between vines, and the layout of the controls on the right hand side works well.

My only criticism is the gear lever. Perhaps it’s my short arms, but I felt I had to reach a tad when shifting gears.

We loved the flat floor of the Rex 4 100 GT

That said, a big plus for me was the Rex 4’s air-conditioning system. Being a ridiculously hot summer’s day, I was crying out for some good aircon, and I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s not uncommon for European manufacturers to skimp on the aircon – they don’t quite cut it Down Under sometimes – so kudos to Landini. I’m sure operators will thank you come summer time.

Verdict

Being a specialised machine, it’s not very common to find yourself behind the wheel of one, but I was extremely impressed by the new Landini Rex 4.

The verdict is that it’s a smart, powerful, clean cut workhorse that looks fantastic running through the vines. Landini have put a lot of time into getting this right and I think they’ve done well.

 

The Rex 120GT – by Jaiden Drought

As technology is rapidly moving forward, it’s not often a new series is released and the current model stays as a stable mate. Bucking the trend, the Rex 120GT has been a great success for large growers and contractors, primarily due to it having the agility of a narrow orchard tractor but the performance from the 110hp (82kW) engine is like strapping a V8 to your lawn mower (which is a genius idea by the way).

Needless to say, I was very happy with the performance from the little Rex – but a key question for me was: being a specialised tractor, will it be ridiculously small and leave me with my knees around my head? The answer was very pleasantly no!

I didn’t know what to expect being a big guy – often orchard tractors are not the go-to for comfort.

However, one of the main features is a low centre of gravity, which allows you to sit low in the cab, allowing for plenty of headroom. The only drawback of this though is the humped floor cab.

Jaiden next to the Rex 120 GT
Believe it or not, he fits inside

Engine and transmission

Up front is the trusty four-cylinder turbo Perkins, which meets Tier 3 regulations. Performance from the engine was neatly extracted by the generous 40-speed transmission. The transmission on the GT was the five-speed with splitter, giving 10 gears in each range with four ranges, giving a total of 40 by 40.

It has a 40km/h top road speed and the declutch button made it very practical and easy to drive. The declutch button and the forward-mounted gear stick make gear changes smooth and fell easily to hand.

Hydraulics and PTO

A two-speed power take-off (PTO) with electro-hydraulic engagement and electronically-controlled rear hitch make the Rex GT ideal for contractors using a variety of implements. Three spools on the rear are standard on the GT and a dual pump offers a combined 82 litres/min.

A variety of hydraulic options are available, while this particular one was set up with a large valve bank for running the front linkage and a front-mounted forklift with bin tipper.

A nifty feature is the four-way diverter valve on the third spool. This allows the choice of either a hydraulic top link, a hydraulic levelling arm on the rear linkage (for easy implement attachment), a front spool bank or simply a rear spool – exceptional versatility from a small machine.

The Rex 120 GT's cab
The Landini Rex 120 GT interior


In the cab

The four-post cab gave very good visibility, with a large one-piece door allowing for easy access.  What was really noticeable was that the smaller cab made the aircon ice cold, which I wasn't complaining about on the ridiculously hot day, but it does show how much the larger cabs with huge glass area suck the life out of aircons.

As mentioned, the Rex GT didn't have a flat floor, however the hump in the middle made it easy to get in and out, and again allowed for a lower centre of gravity so the cab wasn't jacked up to try and overcome this, while still maintaining low overall height.

Having a big carcass means I would opt for a humped floor and headroom, so my spine isn’t sticking out the top of my head after a hard day in the vineyard.

You expect small tractors to be nimble and the Rex didn’t disappoint, with the 55-degree steering angle made easy by the racing spec steering wheel. This is possible due to the central drive and hydraulic diff lock and four-wheel drive engagement, allowing for a sharp turning circle as well as maximum traction if the going gets tough, and you push your luck!


Verdict

Overall, I was impressed with the little Rex. Yes, some of the fit and finish in the cab was a little plasticky and it would have been nice to have a flat floor but if performance, hydraulic options and simplicity is what you are after, then it ticks those boxes.

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