The Mercedes-Benz Unimog range has carved out a strong, and much-deserved reputation over the last seven decades as a rugged and dependable workhorse of a 4×4 vehicle, though the German auto outfit has now further demonstrated the latest U 5023’s performance potential via the setting of a new world record when two of the multi-ton models recently climbed to a whopping 21,962-feet above sea level on the world’s tallest active volcano, Ojos del Salado in the Chilean desert.
Constructed around a chassis with a flexible central spine and torque tube-guided portal axles with coil spring and articulating wheels, the U 5023 is powered by a 5.1L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with engageable all-wheel drive, 231hp, and 644ft-lbs of torque. And though the Unimog is plenty-capable right out of the box, a number of modifications and upgrades were made to the big-wheeled Benzes in preparation for their trek up the more-than-four-and-a-quarter-mile-tall mountain, including the addition of heavy-duty winches, all-terrain tires, and special armored bodywork developed in-house by Unimog with a variable center of gravity. The two trucks were on the volcano to install four emergency radio transmitters, but after doing so headed closer to the summit where they reached the highest altitude of any wheeled vehicle.
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