If you are wondering what it is like to drive a Mercedes-Benz Unimog, then this video offers the answer with a fantastic first-person view. Despite the immense size of the vehicle, a person does not need a commercial driver’s license to operate this beast on public roads in the United States.
Specifically, this is a 2004 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U500. Power comes from a 6.4-liter straight-six producing 260 horsepower (194 kilowatts) and 700 pound-feet (949 Newton-meters) . As a machine for off-road work as the primary focus, there are portal axles to increase ground clearance, and the ramp ratio is amazing 3000: 1.
One of the strangest parts of the Unimog driving experience is the transmission. It’s an eight-speed manual, but there’s no H-shaped shifter. Instead, a handle rocks back and forth on the center console.
Using the gearbox is an unknown experience. After starting roughly normally, the grip functions as a pre-selector for the transmission. This means that a person pushes the lever forward to select the next gear, but nothing actually happens until the driver squeezes the clutch. Meanwhile, downshifts only require operating the lever without touching the clutch.
The Unimog sits very high so that the driver is in contact with people in commercial trucks. For the future, the visibility to the outside is excellent because there is a vast panorama of glass. Seeing behind you is a bit trickier because there is no rear window, forcing the person behind the wheel to rely on the mirrors.
While you can drive the Unimog on the street, this video makes it clear that the machine would really prefer to be off-road. At 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour), the vehicle is already in seventh gear. Even in eighth, managing 97 km / h seems like a real feat.