The prospect of a mid-sized Mercedes-Benz pickup truck has us speculating wildly. Meanwhile the company's just dialed up the insanity on their already-indefatigable
Unimog with new off-road tech and holy crap... did you know this thing is rated to ford 1.2 meters of water?
Last week Mercedes unveiled the U4023 and U5023 Unimog commercial trucks as "a new benchmark in off-road perfection." Pretty ambitious declaration, check out these specs and let's see if they're overselling it...
A new OM934 "BlueTech 6" 5.1-liter four-cylinder diesel, moved to a mid-engine position as of the Unimog's 2013 redesign, makes 231 horsepower and just over 660 lb-ft of torque which Mercedes says comes all the way on from 1,200 to 1,600 RPM. Top speed is limited to around 55 MPH, but you'll get your kidneys smashed to bits if you go that fast on the terrain this truck was built for anyway.
The engine and (/or) transmission can be switched to power other devices, construction implements, and so fourth whether the truck's being driven or not. Eight forward gears, six reverse gears, and an optional "off-road group" range of gears maximizes the hell out of the engine's efficiency at any speed.
The new Unimog's also been tuned for better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, but that's not nearly as cool as the trick new "Tirecontrol Plus" central inflation system. With a set of preconfigured tire pressures, drivers can just flick through "Road", "Sand," and "Rough Terrain" modes to inflate or deflate at will. Sort of like terrain-response tech in a Land Rover or Jeep.
The Unimog's frame and the tubular crossmember are welded to allow 600 mm of torsional flexibility in off-road driving. Axles can articulate up to 30º thanks to torque tube driveshafts and coil springs. The torque tube and torque ball allow for more flexibility between the transmission and axles, which allows the axles to perform insane contortionist circus tricks while continuously pushing the truck forward.
Portal axles, which are basically adapters that let the axle be mounted above the center of the wheels, help the truck hit insane approach (44º) and departure (51º) angles. Breakover is an impressive 34º.
The U4023 and U5023 Unimogs can climb a 45º grade and ford 1.2 meters of water as previously mentioned; which translates to over 47" in Units Of Freedom. That's a foot deeper than a JK Wrangler is rated for and would drown just about anything else twice over.
Mercedes might be building their own take on the Lincoln Blackwood with their new pickup, they might be building a venerable work vehicle, or both. but let there be no doubt in your mind: Mercedes can build a serious rough-country commercial truck when they want to.
Images via Mercedes-Benz