Watch $385k Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck Breeze Through Moab's Hell Revenge

The Mercedes-Benz Unimog isn't the first name that comes into mind when you think about off-road proficiency, but that's just because you're more used to seeing these trucks performing all sorts of menial jobs like plowing the snow or something.
$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog 9 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog$385,000 Coach Off-Road Engineering Unimog
If we were in a B-class movie, the Unimog would be that young janitor who watches the football team train and play matches while he scrubs the floors, only to jump in during the final after the main player gets injured with nobody left to replace him. Obviously, he wins them the match. Preferably in the last second of the game. And he gets the girl. We did warn you this was a B-class movie.

The moment it drops the broom and steps onto the trails, the Unimog turns into a true monster. Especially if it's one built by Coach Off-Road Engineering, a company that specializes in taking older Unimogs and turning them into off-road rigs that can and will go anywhere their driver points them.

One of these builds, together with the man responsible for them, just happened to sit at the start of the Hell's Revenge trail right when the TFL guys were in the area, camera batteries charged, and everything. As a result, we get to see some pretty rare footage of a 13,000 lbs (nearly six tons) Unimog rock crawling among the usual trail suspects such as the Wrangler or the occasional side-by-side.

\$385,000 Coach Off\-Road Engineering Unimog
Photo: YouTube screenshot
The big Merc is obviously powered by a diesel engine, and we say "obviously" because this thing really needs the low-end torque and durability of an oil burner. However, it's not the engine that steals the show, but the transmission. It's an eight-speed manual, but thanks to a separate "working gear group" and the fact any gear you're in can be used in reverse, it actually has 32 speeds in total.

The team is also prototyping an overdrive function which would make its transmission even more versatile. And just when you think that's enough gears for one vehicle, there's more. The working group we mentioned earlier uses a planetary reduction to function as a low range, bringing first gear from its regular reduction of 1:100 all the way down to 1:680. As it turns out, there's a second optional gear group (not installed on this car) that can bring the ratio to as low as 3,800:1. We're not entirely sure when you might need to use it, but we do know you'd be moving slower than the grass is growing. Granted, while towing a four-story building.

The Unimog has plenty of other off-road goodies such as an on-board tire inflate and deflate switch, which will be worth its weight in gold when you're bogged down in mud wearing your fancy Balenciaga shoes. Below that switch is one that engages the three different drive modes: two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, and 4WD with front and rear diffs engaged. Everything is pneumatically controlled, which doesn't just mean you get a cool whoosh sound as you switch from one to another, but there's also a lower risk of something breaking up. At least not anything you can't fix with a wrench on the go. Anyway, Jay, the owner of the rig and of the company that built it, says it's best to leave it in four-wheel-drive with open diffs, and only engage the latter when something manages to stop you from going forward.

\$385,000 Coach Off\-Road Engineering Unimog
Photo: YouTube screenshot
One of Unimog's many party tricks is the fact it uses portal axles. Yes, this is where Mercedes-Benz drew its inspiration from for the G500 4x4 Squared SUV, and just like on the G-Wagen, they work wonders over here as well. The approach angle is a joke - it can't climb a perfectly vertical wall - well, it can, as long as it's no taller than three or four feet. Break-over angle is also ridiculous, all thanks to the huge 46-inch tires and great ground clearance.

Jay's company builds these mostly for expeditions, the sort that takes people around the globe through the most remote areas - South America, Africa, Russia. He admits he has a bad habit of building them for himself instead of actual clients, but seeing the Unimog at work, it's easy to understand why. How could you not want one?

They're not cheap, though. Without any attachment over the rear (given their destination, that would usually be a camper), Jay says the price for one of these is just under $400,000. A fully built one ready to take on the world is closer to $600,000. That's a lot of money but considering people kind of entrust these vehicles with their lives, no (available) amount is too great. Watch the clip below to see what that kind of money could get you, and keep  your eyes peeled for that insane descent at the end.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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