At the end of the 75th anniversary year of the Unimog, Mercedes-Benz Trucks blessed its range of off-road 4X4 vehicles with an extra 54hp.
This increase gives the two top of the line models 354hp, the highest output so far available from the 7.7L in-line six-cylinder engine. Maximum torque is also up by 180 Nm to 1,380Nm, which is available from 1,800rpm.
To cope with the extra output, the company's engineers have purpose-designed and built what is described as an automated manual transmission to help manage gear shifts.
Dubbed the Opti-drive, the system offers improved gear change coordination and clutch control, thus enabling quicker shifts which should offer a smoother ride and improved fuel efficiency.
In addition to the extra power and new transmission, the Unimog implement carrier now has the option of factory fitted self-levelling suspension for the rear axle.
This is an entirely new set-up, based on gas accumulators and hydraulics rather than the hefty usual coil springs which have always been associated with the Unimog's comfort levels.
This latest arrangement is said to provide a constant driving level, irrespective of load status or any rear attachments that may be fitted.
Such hydropneumatic suspension systems have been around for almost as long as the Unimog itself , and at last the two have come together to provide greater handling stability and the ability to adjust ride height to ease the attachment of implements.
Easier steering for the Unimog
With the increase in power comes a further aid to safe and comfortable operation in the form of a 'Comfort' steering option.
Designed for easier steering at low manoeuvring speeds, or even when stationary, it is likely to be most useful when the vehicle is fitted with large-volume tyres or heavy front implements such as mowers.
The electro-hydraulic steering delivers a ‘feel’ that adapts to the driving situation rather than a single level of assistance which reduces feedback to the driver.
The U435 and U535 have maximum gross weights (with relevant special equipment) of 14t and 16.5t respectively. The first examples are expected to be available in the UK and Ireland this month.