A good time to start saving, as the new models of Unimog U 5023 and Mercedes Zetros, currently commissioned by the German Federal Army, will of course be withdrawn from service in a few years. This may have some explorers dreaming already, as the two trucks set the benchmark within their sector with it comes to off-road capability.The return of the cab-over-engine truck
vWith the Zetros, Mercedes marked the return to the "cab-over-engine" truck in the field of highly off-road-capable utility vehicles. The advantages of the concept are most evident during off-road use: when its not a case of making maximum use of the transport surface, as is the case for regular goods transport on the road – the main reason for the current truck construction whereby the cabin is positioned on top of the engine and the front axle – the cab-over-engine construction offers only advantages.
Access to the engine is possible without the cabin tipped, while the drive and handling during off-road driving is similar to that of a normal off-road vehicle on account of the sitting position being behind the front axle. Anyone who has ever looked down into the abyss in a modern front-wheel-steering off-road truck, sitting above or in front of the front axle, will really appreciate this.With a camera system and four-point safety belt.
The GLF models of the Zetros also make use of the cab-over-engine concept with military goals in mind: simpler access and exit from the cabin in case of emergency are a clear advantage over traditional designs. Accordingly, in the Zetros GLF the cabin is also armoured, while newly developed seats with decoupled suspension also ensure drive safety during rough off-road driving,, thanks to the new integrated four-point safety belt.
In addition to the normal standard model, this model also has an integrated communications system and a camera system providing an overview of the rear of the vehicle. A key feature of the Zetros GLF is the newly developed cabin concept. During times of peace, the armoured cabin can easily be converted into an unarmoured "civilian" version within one day – this brings corresponding advantages regarding the load capacity and fuel consumption during unladen journeys.
The Mercedes Zetros also runs with poor quality diesel
The Zetros GLF was commissioned by the German Federal Army as a two-axle vehicle with a five-tonne load capacity from the end of 2012. The 322 HP, six-cylinder diesel can come in a Euro-III or Euro-V design, depending on the intended use, and should also cope with poor fuel qualities on operations abroad. The drive is ensured by a six-speed Allison automatic, served by a transfer box with permanent all-wheel drive and gear reduction. Differential locks are of course also included. As such, based on the functional principle, the drive train has a similarly reliable and comfortable design as in the Mercedes G. In 2014 another 424 HP machine with Euro-6 and 16-speed transmission was added to the Mercedes range.
New Unimog U 5023
The Unimog U5000, which Mercedes supplies in the armoured GLF version, is likewise commissioned by the German Federal Army. The 215 HP OM924 Diesel can optionally be combined with an automated manual transmission. Permanent all-wheel drive, differential locks and ultra-short gear reduction deliver the outstanding off-road capability we are used to in the Unimog.
The successor, which Mercedes exhibited at the Eurosatory motor show in Paris, is on stand-by for future missions. The new Unimog U 5032 went into production in Summer 2014. The successor to the legendary U 5000 comes with the new BlueTec 6 engine, a four-cylinder that now produces 227 HP and 900 Nm of torque. The Unimog transmission has been optimised and the performance level increased, meaning that the gear shifting times are now shorter while the lifespan is simultaneously increased. As before, there are eight forwards and six reversing gears, as well as an optional off-road gear group for off-road missions at speeds between 2.5 and 35 km/h. The maximum total weight is 14.5 t.
The successor to the legendary U 5000 comes with the new high-torque BlueEfficiency Power BlueTec 6 engine, a four-cylinder that now delivers 170 kW (227 HP) and a torque of 900 Nm within the Euro VI emission class. The Unimog transmission has been optimised and the performance level increased, meaning that the gear shifting times are now shorter while the lifespan is simultaneously increased. As before, there are eight forwards and six reversing gears, as well as an optional off-road gear group for off-road missions at speeds between 2.5 and 35 km/h. The maximum total weight is 14.5 t.
In comparison to its predecessor, the driver cabin has been extended by 120 mm and raised slightly. In the interior, the U 5023 features new equipment – a multi-function steering wheel, adjustable steering column, control stalk, multi-functional buttons. Due to the new mid-engine position, the frame offset is now further back, resulting in a lower overall centre of gravity with higher ground clearance, which improves the handling during off-road use, among other advantages. The welded frame and tubular cross-members guarantee extremely good torsion of up to 600 mm during off-road use. The axle articulation of up to 30 degrees makes the thrust tube technology, in conjunction with the helical springs, possible, by joining the axles to the transmission via the thrust tube and torque ball. For really large transport tasks, Mercedes also introduced new 8x8 versions of the Arocs and Actros in Paris, which can also be seen in the image gallery.