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New G-wagon takes on Hummer

2010-07-12 06:36

Riveted body armour. Orange mags and a really tall radio antenna. This is the German interpretation of what an American H1 Hummer alternative should represent.

Since 1979 the Graz facility in Austria has assembled Mercedes-Benz’s very credible Range Rover rival – the Geländewagen.

Although it has hardly seen a significant redesign in three decades of production, it remains boundlessly popular.

Overlanders love the Geländewagen. So do military staff officers.

Even American rappers have been taken by the mental V8 powered AMG versions.

Now though, there is a new Geländewagen. One which really takes no prisoners.

The German Hummer

Called the LAPV6.X, this latest Geländewagen is a joint venture project between Mercedes-Benz’s Graz-based engineers and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). It is not particularly challenging to thread the logic of its purpose being rather more military than civil.

The LAPV6.X is an acronym for Light Armoured Patrol Vehicle and is aimed users seeking to patrol broken terrain at speed in hostile environments such as Afghanistan.

To this end the LAPV6.X’s Geländewagen chassis is a full steel monocoque with added ballistic protection and a modular armoured plate system. A mine detector has been integrated into the floor plan.

A key feature of the LAPV6.X is its ability to traverse broken terrain at high speeds with a commendable payload of kit. Mercedes-Benz claims the unspecified common-rail turbodiesel engine powering its LAPV6.X is capable of hauling 1.4t at speeds of up to 150km/h.

To ensure such redoubtable off-road capability the LAPV6.X features variable-lift coil-over dampers at both axles which can be adjusted to provide as much as 450mm or ground clearance. Approach and departure angles are an impressive 50- and 45-degrees respectively.

Beyond the awesome Bauhaus military styling kit (we especially like the orange wheels, although they hardly aid camouflage) the LAPV6.X contains a raft of military signals kit courtesy of EADS. A vehicle data recorder, UHF/VHF integrated communication system, integrated mobile command/control and jamming system are all onboard. It remains unclear whether the LAPV6.X has an auxiliary input for the venerable iPod...

The LAPV6.X is being marketed as a European alternative to the American Hummer. Unfortunately, like the Hummer, LAPV6.X does not feature a V-hull undercarriage – which means it remains lethally exposed to landmines and middle-of-the-road IEDs. Looks awesome though.

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