Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vexing Hex: Iranian Designer Pens 6-Wheel Mercedes-Benz Off-Roader

For now, the Unimog remains Mercedes-Benz’s most potent off-road machine -- but we rather like the ideas presented in the design concept crafted by Iranian engineer Siyamak Rouhi Dehkordi.

Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz Hexawheel, the conceptual off-roader utilizes -- of all things -- six wheels. The hallowed portal axles of the Unimog are abandoned in favor of independent suspension at each wheel, but the frame itself is truly interesting.

Like the unusual M561 Gamma Goat military vehicle, the Hexawheel sports a vertically articulated frame, which is hinged around the axis of the center pair of wheels. Dehkordi says the design allows for substantial vertical articulation -- the frame can theoretically travel 28 degrees up and 30 degrees down. A pair of hydraulic rams controls the articulation, provides dampening, and in some instances, work to help push the Hexawheel over large obstacles.

Unlike the Goat, which sported steering on its front and rear axles, the Hexawheel’s rear trailer pivots side-to-side, allowing the 16-foot long vehicle to have an 18-foot turning radius. Further enhancing its prowess off-road is its balanced drivetrain. Dehkordi’s design calls for a diesel-hydraulic drive system, with the engine, pump, and accumulators placed underneath the pickup bed. The fuel tank, located under the cab, helps distribute truck’s 4850-pound curb weight.
We think this is a neat design -- but our only reservation lies with torsion. Long-travel suspension does help traverse obstacles, but when it comes time to twist -- like the Gama Goat does when climbing this hill -- we’d be curious to see how the Hexawheel performs in the real world. Sadly, we think this will remain a digital flight of fancy for the foreseeable future.

Source: Car Body Design