Mercedes has launched a refreshed Unimog line-up to the delight of off-road enthusiasts and little boys everywhere. The new generation sports a ten-model line-up with a compact entry level model, ranging from the U216 to the U5024.
The beloved Unimog has undergone several changes, with the most significant being engine efficiency. Euro VI standards come into place in January next year, and Mercedes-Benz has already released their big off-roader range to meet the new specification. The new models are said to have up to 90% fewer gas and particle emissions and two BlueEfficiency engines will be made available.
Inside the cabins are larger with a new consol, adjustable steering wheel, satellite controls and a front camera monitoring system. The off-road models’ cab has been lengthened by 120mm and raised slightly. A three-mode tyre inflation system, LED headlights, roof-mounted windscreen wipers, and “synergistic travelling drive” join the features list.
New engines join the compact Unimog and Econic line-up, focussed on efficiency via recirculation of the exhaust gas inside the engine, cleaning the exhaust gas also involves a system comprising the oxidation catalytic converter, a closed particulate matter filter, AdBlue injection and an SCR catalytic converter connected in a series.
The Unimogs we love, of course, are the off-road models, U 4000 and U 5000. Their new designations are U 4023 and U5023, denoting 230hp, or 171kW of power. Torque stands at an astounding 900Nm, produced by the new four-cylinder BlueEfficiency Power BlueTec 6 engine. The transmission has reportedly been upgraded to shift faster, including the electronic quick reverse (EQR) function. That includes eight forward gears, six reverse gears and crawl gears available up to 35 km/h. The U 4023’s GVM is 10.3 tonnes, and the U 5023’s GVM is 14.5 tonnes, which is the main difference between the models.
In the new model, the curving of the frame is now further back due to the central position of the engine and altogether the Unimog has a lower centre of gravity while retaining its all-important ground clearance. Both frame and tubular cross members are welded, making for good torsional flexibility (reportedly up to 600 mm). The axle articulation of up to 30° is made possible by the torque tube technology combined with the coil springs by connecting the torque tube and the torque ball to the transmission. Portal axles, the low centre of gravity and good approach and departure angles (44° and 51° respectively), and ramp angles (34°) as well as its slope climbing ability (45°) alltogether give the Unimog its go-anywhere off-road ability. Wading depth is a massive 1200mm, side tilt a maximum of 38°, and lockable diffs make it even more capable and versatile.
All in all, the changes the Mercedes has made are more than welcome and alter nothing of the versatility of this much-loved vehicle.