After six decades of production, what’s next for Mercedes-Benz’s ubiquitous Unimog? We don’t know, but we sure hope the next-gen off-road truck is nothing like the bizarre design concept shown here.
The giant green show truck, crafted by Daimler designers in partnership with Mercedes-Benz’s Special Trucks Division, was unveiled over the weekend in Germany during a celebration of the Unimog’s diamond anniversary. According to Bertrand Janssen, a commercial vehicle designer who led development of the concept, the design team took “Unimog DNA, with its unique concept features, 100 percent into consideration when creating this design.”
Perhaps so, but we wouldn’t go quite as far to suggest the vehicle you see here is "not divorced from reality," as Janssen seems to insist. The open-air cockpit (no roof, no rollbar, no doors, and barely a windshield) may evoke the original Unimog U401, but we can’t see such a rudimentary design enter production in today’s litigious, safety-obsessed world. We’re also unsure how the chromed wheel spokes and polished aluminum frame rail covers really help a vehicle that’s supposed to be designed for labor, not looks.
A Mercedes-Benz release notes the design concept “isn’t a prototype for a new product range,” but Janssen claims some of its design cues will show up in future Unimogs. We wouldn’t be surprised if the front fascia and bumper, both similar to those used on the large Zetros cargo truck, are grounded in reality. So too are the mechanical components underneath -- after all, the traditional portal axles, coil suspension, and three locking differentials are ripped straight from a standard Unimog U5000.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see many of these cues wind up in the next-generation “large series” Unimog (i.e. U3000-U5000). Although the range was mechanically updated almost a decade ago, the majority of the trucks’ structure and styling are pushing close to 30 years old…
Source: Daimler Benz