Mercedes-Benz Unimog Expedition Camper Concept
The distinctive Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 4000 with its Bocklet body is the perfect expedition vehicle
by Marcus Bloom | 26 May 2010
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An expedition camper based on the Mercedes-Benz Unimog – the dream of every bona fide globetrotter. At this year’s “Abenteuer & Allrad”, Europe’s largest off-road vehicle show, the expedition camper will be on display in Bad Kissingen from 3 to 6 June 2010.
Michael Bocklet from Koblenz and his team have built a fully fledged go-anywhere vehicle based on the UniversalMotorGerät (Universal Motorized Unit), to give the Unimog its full name. The distinctive Unimog U 4000 with its Bocklet body is the archetypal expedition vehicle – the consummate solution for even the most ardent adventurer.
The U 4000 is the perfect expedition vehicle thanks to its absolutely unique chassis concept. Portal axles deliver excellent ground clearance and ensure constant road contact of all four wheels. The suspension with torque tube, transverse links and coil springs allows long spring travel and superb axle articulation – supporting diagonal axle articulation of up to 30 degrees. In conjunction with the short frame overhangs, the Unimog also effortlessly takes difficult obstacles, hilltops, slopes or embankments in its stride. Waterproof major assemblies and an air intake pipe level with the cabin roof ensure a fording capability of 1.20 metres. The Unimog comes with single tyres (as opposed to the twin tyres on an all-wheel-drive truck), thus offering high traction with low rolling resistance. The tirecontrol tyre pressure monitoring system can be used to reduce the tyre pressure conveniently from the driver’s seat while on the move and so ensure the wheels do not get bogged down on soft ground. This technical feature improves traction and power delivery.
Trouble-free driving with the go-anywhere vehicle
The 4249-cc four-cylinder diesel unit produces 160 kW (218 hp). The permissible gross vehicle weight of the all-wheel-drive vehicle (wheelbase 3850 mm) is 7490 or 8500 kilograms respectively. In conjunction with the all-wheel drive and differential locks on the front and rear axle, the Unimog is the ideal solution for a superlative off-road expedition vehicle. Should it – in the very unlikely event – get stuck, the Unimog can use its hydraulic seven-tonne front winch to pull itself out of the quagmire with its “own hair” à la Baron Munchausen. However, you are much more likely to find it using the winch to pull out other vehicles from difficult situations. A diesel tank with a capacity of 290 litres (plus two 20-litre reserve canisters) also makes longer journeys less nerve-racking where refuelling is not an option. The comfort seats in the cab provide an ideal fatigue-free solution for these arduous stages.
The rear of the Bocklet accommodation module is tapered at an angle to retain the Unimog’s full off-road capabilities. The inside of the module measures 4.35 metres long and 2.20 metres wide (standing height 1.95 metres). The roof and walls of the three-point mounted, thermal bridge-free fibreglass-reinforced plastic box are 50 mm thick, standing on a 60-mm-thick floor. All the walls are finished with a 2-mm-thick fabric-reinforced outer layer. The hatches and doors all come with hollow rubber seals and multi-point locks, which help protect the stowage compartments against the ingress of dust or water.
Behind the driver’s seat is the accommodation module washroom, fitted out with a cassette toilet, wash basin and shower. Hot water is provided by a combined Truma gas/electric boiler with a capacity of 10 litres. The corner kitchen is fitted towards the rear and comes with a two-burner gas stove, sink and drainer.
A (lockable) passage leads to the cab, with a wardrobe fitted on the right behind the co-passenger seat. The 110-litre compressor fridge occupies the space up to the entrance door.
Benches arranged longitudinally to the direction of travel provide two seats with exquisite Alcantara® upholstery. Tanks and additional stowage space are housed under the dinette in the false floor. The Unimog carries around 300 litres of fresh water on-board, along with a waste tank holding 200 litres. The entire rear area is home to a 200 x 135-cm double bed. Additional stowage space, which can be accessed from outside, is provided under the bed.
A diesel-powered Eberspächer hot air heater ensures a comfortable night’s sleep in colder climes or during the winter months. To ensure sufficient ‘juice’, Bocklet has installed 220 Ah of battery capacity, backed up by 260-W solar panels, an automatic charger (24 V / 50 A) and a 1.2-kW inverter. A control panel with an ampere-hour metre monitors the power system; minimal energy consumption comes courtesy of the low-energy lights and LED spots fitted in the interior. There is a TFT television plus satellite dish and a DVD player for entertainment and information during the expedition, no matter how far away from home you venture. The 6.85-metre-long, 2.35-metre-wide and 3.50-metre-high expedition camper based on the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 4000 costs EUR 248,300.