The Mercedes-Benz Unimog has been proving its capabilities in a wide range of applications centred around saving human life, putting out severe fires and salvaging goods and property in a series of realistic demonstrations.
The International Symposium for Forest Fire fighting and Disaster Control at the Customer Centre of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Rastatt and at the gravel pit by Ötigheim (near Rastatt), the toughest off-road testing site in Europe, was attended by more than 600 experts from fire brigades, police forces, emergency medical teams and disaster aid and control organisations from all over the world.
Delegates to the event, which was organised by the Unimog Sector, part of the Mercedes-Benz Truck Unit of DaimlerChrysler AG, were also able to witness the production start-up of the U 5000, the most powerful Unimog in the product line-up of chassis and transport vehicles with high off-road capability.
The Mercedes-Benz Unimog forms an indispensable part of the wide range of fire service and disaster control vehicles made by DaimlerChrysler. The concept behind the Unimog means it can be used to fight fires and help control disasters anywhere in the world - something it has been doing efficiently for decades now. Moreover, it offers a large number of other potential uses for fire brigades, the police, the Red Cross and other emergency service and aid organisations.
A total of 17 vehicles from the Unimog U300 to U500 series and the new Unimog U3000 to U5000 chassis series, plus a U1550L and a U2150L from the former heavy-duty Unimog series were present. All were fitted with special-purpose bodies from international body manufacturers for various countries and/or with rescue and salvaging appliances from the European Unimog equipment suppliers. These vehicles demonstrated what the Unimog can achieve under extreme operating conditions and in extreme terrain fighting forest fires, dealing with flood, storm and earthquake damage, and saving lives after accidents.
Tension-free body mountings, engine outputs up to 160 kW (218 hp), the Telligent electronic/pneumatic gearshift system with eight forward and six reverse gears, together with the "Electronic Quick Reverse" system (EQR) for rapid manoeuvring in critical situations are just a few of the standard equipment features. As well as the standard cab, crew cabs are also available, capable of carrying teams of up to six.
There are very few situations in fire fighting, disaster control or rescue work with which the Mercedes-Benz Unimog cannot cope.
The chassis and transport vehicles of the U3000 - U5000 series, which have powertrains geared to maximum performance and which boast very high off-road capability, reflect a concept which has been tailored to the specific conditions and regulations applying to fire brigades and disaster control agencies. For instance, the Unimog can be fitted out as a heavy-duty forest-fire fighting vehicle and/or for supplying emergency technical assistance and/or with heavy-duty appliances such as cranes or hydraulic working platforms.
Due to its great versatility the Mercedes-Benz Unimog can be used as an all-wheel-drive fire tender both on and off the road, as a hose-carrying vehicle, as an ambulance, as a mobile workshop, as a command centre with two-way radio equipment, or as a tanker.
In addition to comprehensive information on the Unimog's engineering and range of applications, interest at the event focused on talks by Col. Lt. Didier Besson (head of the fire brigade centre in Royan in south-western France) and by Helmut Moser (driving instructor for all-wheel-drive vehicles and publisher/editor-in-chief of the journal ""4 Wheel Drive" from Wels, Austria. "Without our Unimog vehicles we would have been powerless in many situations", said Besson.
Besson's main area of activity is the containment and control of severe forest fires and in this context he stressed the technical design concept and reliability of Unimog vehicles, and, especially, the unique ability of the Unimog U3000 to U5000 models to drive directly into the fire and clear firebreaks, thanks to their all-steel cabs and a special self-protection system. When equipped as fire tenders, Unimogs are used primarily for rapid-response fire fighting. In France alone, more than 1,000 Unimogs with a water tank capacity of up to 5,000 litres are currently in use.
The Navara earned the best ratings of all our vehicles - the best all-round performer. The King Cab is a work tool, the Navara Double Cab is a toy, pretty much the perfect recreational vehicle for the adventurous family with a bit of extra disposable capital. That the Nissan pick-ups have been given a frontal treatment to mimic the mainstream Patrol and Terrano off-roaders helps enhance the lifestyle appeal of the Navara, but what really counts is the superb equipment specification which puts it in a comfort league of its own with climate control air conditioning, electric windows, CD player, leather trim on the steering wheel and gearshift, map-reading lamps and velour upholstery, not to mention chrome finish for the heated door mirrors, and all at a very reasonable price. But again it's the superb direct-injection producing a class-leading 133 horsepower that launches this truck ahead of its more mundane competition, not only giving it excellent on-road cruising and overtaking ability, but enhancing the off-road agility which is already exceptional because of the Nissan's axle travel and above-average ground clearance. The direct injection engine means it is noisier than some older indirect-injection designs, rattling a little too much in idle and rumbling vociferously under hard acceleration, the noise accompanied by a fair amount of mechanical whine and turbo hiss, but the engine delivers so much eager torque from as low down as 1500rpm that the lack of refinement is easy to excuse. The Navara is set up for comfort in other ways as well, a softer suspension for a more forgiving ride than many workhorse competitors. It doesn't have the biggest cabin, yet offers comfortable seating for five and a sensibly big load bay, again marking it as the ideal choice as a comfortable and competent mobile base camp for an adventurous family with a genuine outdoors lifestyle.
Stuttgart. Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany, has now added the planned third version to its program of sports utility vehicles. The excellent road dynamics, safety and off-road performance that have earned the eight-cylinder Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo models worldwide praise and high sales figures can in future also be experienced in an entry-level model with six-cylinder engine, to be known simply as the "Cayenne". This is the first Porsche with V6 power, and will be available at the end of November 2003 in European markets and in the first half of 2004 in the USA. The list price in Europe (excluding VAT and country-specific requirements) is 40,900 Euro. In Germany, the Cayenne will cost 47,592 Euro including value added tax.
Like the Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo, the V6 Cayenne has excellent performance and driving capabilities. The engine, with four valves per cylinder, has a power output of 250 bhp (184 kW) at 6,000 rpm; the nominal torque is 310 Nm between 2,500 rpm and 5,500 rpm, but with 300 Nm available from just over 2,000 rpm until 5,500 rpm. This version of the Cayenne accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds and has a top speed of 214 km/h.
Porsche's engineers have developed the basic engine, which comes from an outside supplier, and modified it for the most severe off-road driving conditions. The V6 model has a new design of six-speed manual gearbox as standard, combined with an innovative assistance system.
The "Porsche Drive Off Assistant", or PDOA for short, helps the driver to set the vehicle in motion on an uphill gradient and prevents it from slipping back by applying the brakes automatically. When the driver engages the clutch, the system reduces braking pressure, so that the Cayenne can move off safely. Until early 2004, however, this Cayenne model will only be available with the six-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
The six-cylinder Cayenne also features such technical highlights as the intelligent "Porsche Traction Management" (PTM), as already introduced for the eight-cylinder engines. In the standard operating mode, PTM distributes engine power in a 62:38 ratio between the rear and front wheels, but up to 100 percent of the available torque can be allocated to the front or rear wheels via an electronically controlled center differential, depending on the tire grip situation. "Porsche Traction Management" actively influences the Cayenne's longitudinal and lateral dynamics. Depending on the driving situation, it provides greater dynamic stability or more responsive handling. This driving aid is coordinated and controlled by state-of-the-art electronics permanently connected to the standard "Porsche Stability Management" (PSM). This results in outstanding performance and a high degree of driving safety, ideally complemented by excellent off-road capabilities.
The six-cylinder model has the same maximum trailer load of 3,500 kilograms as the Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo.
Air suspension with a self-leveling function and ride height adjustment, including the "Porsche Active Suspension Management" (PASM) variable shock absorber system, is available as an optional extra on this 250-hp Cayenne.
For the first time too, a special off-road navigation facility is an optional extra for the "Porsche Communication Management" (PCM) with navigation system.
Headlining the 2003 Jeep Wrangler lineup is the Rubicon, which boasts a serious off-road suspension, a powerful 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine, a Dana rear end, and other changes, all designed to improve 4x4 capabilities. Essentially, it's a modified Jeep from the factory, making financing and preparation a turn-key deal for off-road enthusiasts. But all models benefit from upgrades that make them more comfortable, more convenient, more responsive, and more capable for 2003.
Suzukis comprehensive 4x4 range is further expanded this month by the addition of a 2-litre diesel engined version of the 3-door Grand Vitara SE Estate. It adds further choice to the stylish, exceptionally well equipped and competitively priced Grand.
The Ford Ranger pick-up has been given a host of new features and range enhancements to extend its appeal and versatility. These include a fresh new front-end design, enhanced driving dynamics and a new, pillarless four-door Super Cab which provides class-leading ease of access, for both passengers and goods. Whatever the task, the new Ranger will get the job done – and turn heads in the process.
The new Ranger line-up has been developed to cope easily with the exceptional demands that pick-up drivers need to make of their vehicles, said Steve Parker, Ford of Britains commercial vehicles director. The introduction of a new, pillarless four-door Super Cab is of particular significance. We believe there is now a Ranger model to suit every need – from the rugged, dependable workhorse to the versatile, dual-purpose vehicle that can be used with confidence and pride for both work and leisure. Now, more than ever, Ranger combines ruggedness, dependability and style – in whatever proportion the customer chooses.
New pillarless four-door Super Cab offers class-leading access and load flexibility Fresh new front-end design – new bonnet, grille, bumper and headlamps Enhanced safety, braking, steering and ride quality New two-tone paint combinations make the Ranger XLT even more striking