Customer feedback has prompted Mercedes-Benz Trucks to introduce more powerful versions of its 4 x 4 Unimog UGE implement carrier.

Now available to order by UK operators, the U435 and U535 produce 354 hp – an increase of 54 hp on the highest output previously available from the Euro VI Step E 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engine which also powers some of Mercedes truck ranges. Maximum torque is also up by 180 Nm to 1380 Nm, which is available from 1800 rpm.

Daimler Truck engineers have also purpose-designed and built an automated manual transmission to manage these higher outputs. The Opti-drive system’s improved gear change co-ordination and clutch control produces quicker shifts that translate into a smoother ride and improved fuel-efficiency. As a result, it is expected to prove popular with UK operators as an alternative to the standard-fit manual gearbox, it said.

Another development, means the implement carrier can now be specified for the first time with self-levelling suspension for the rear axle. This new set-up, which uses gas storage tanks and hydraulic cylinders instead of the usual coil springs, offers benefits in terms of comfort and operational efficiency.

As well as providing a constant driving level, irrespective of load status or any rear attachments that may be fitted, the hydro-pneumatic system contributes to handling stability and assists operators when coupling and uncoupling implements.

A new Comfort steering option, meanwhile, makes it easier for drivers to turn the wheel at low, manoeuvring speeds, or when stationary – particularly helpful when the vehicle is fitted with large-volume tyres or heavy front implements such as mowers. The electro-hydraulic steering has a ‘feel’ that adapts to any given driving situation.

The U435 and U535 have maximum gross weights (with relevant special equipment) of 14 tonnes and 16.5 tonnes, respectively. The first examples are expected to reach the UK next month (January).

The latest round of product enhancements cap a memorable 75th anniversary year for Mercedes-Benz's Unimog. Although it offers many of the attributes of both, this unique vehicle is neither a truck, nor a tractor and enjoys an unrivalled reputation as the ultimate off-roader, but also achieves impressive on-road speeds of up to 56 mph.

Head of special trucks, Ross Paterson, commented: “Mercedes-Benz Trucks is committed to the continuous improvement of its range. This, of course, applies every bit as much to the Unimog – a vehicle first seen in 1946 and that now enjoys legendary status – as it does to other, more mainstream products.

“Many of the innovations and developments we’ve introduced have been in direct response to feedback from those, here in the UK, who buy and operate our vehicles. We listen to what they tell us and wherever possible we deliver what they need.

“That’s certainly been the case where the U435 and U535 are concerned. Farmers and arboriculturalists in particular, wanted that little bit more power and torque at the wheels for in-field operations, as well as for trailer work.”

Mr Paterson continued: “We’ve taken that feedback on board and delivered what they asked for – a Unimog with comparable outputs to some of the bigger agricultural tractors, but which leaves those same tractors standing when it comes to on-road performance.”

The Mercedes-Benz Unimog range encompasses vehicles with gross weights from 7.5 to 16.5 tonnes. All have single rear wheels that follow the track created by the front wheels.