Automotive

Unicat's latest 4x4 expedition truck escapes civilization without losing the comforts of home

Unicat's latest 4x4 expedition...
Park a MAN MD57 in the middle of nowhere, and you have a comfortable temporary off-grid living solution
Park a MAN MD57 in the middle of nowhere, and you have a comfortable temporary off-grid living solution
View 26 Images
Unicat doesn't mess around when it comes to big, burly expedition vehicles, and the MAN MD57 is no exception
1/26
Unicat doesn't mess around when it comes to big, burly expedition vehicles, and the MAN MD57 is no exception
There's no motorcycle lift on back, as seen on the larger MD77h and other expedition vehicles, but the MD57 does have a hydraulic load platform with spare tire and dual storage boxes
2/26
There's no motorcycle lift on back, as seen on the larger MD77h and other expedition vehicles, but the MD57 does have a hydraulic load platform with spare tire and dual storage boxes
Exploring barren terrain with the new Unicat MAN MD57
3/26
Exploring barren terrain with the new Unicat MAN MD57
The MAN MD57 has a 335-hp diesel engine with loads of torque
4/26
The MAN MD57 has a 335-hp diesel engine with loads of torque
The MAN MD57 opens up new options for exploration while sleeping its occupants in comfort
5/26
The MAN MD57 opens up new options for exploration while sleeping its occupants in comfort
Unicat builds its living module with an insulated fiberglass construction
6/26
Unicat builds its living module with an insulated fiberglass construction
To prevent slippage on wet, slick, shifty terrain, the MAN MD57 comes with a 4WD system with front, rear and center differential lockers
7/26
To prevent slippage on wet, slick, shifty terrain, the MAN MD57 comes with a 4WD system with front, rear and center differential lockers
The new MAN MD57 costs over half a million euros
8/26
The new MAN MD57 costs over half a million euros
Park a MAN MD57 in the middle of nowhere, and you have a comfortable temporary off-grid living solution
9/26
Park a MAN MD57 in the middle of nowhere, and you have a comfortable temporary off-grid living solution
Inside, Unicat uses a lot of teak wood and a stainless steel countertop
10/26
Inside, Unicat uses a lot of teak wood and a stainless steel countertop
A closer look at the command center just inside the entryway
11/26
A closer look at the command center just inside the entryway
Alcantara upholstery on the dinette seating
12/26
Alcantara upholstery on the dinette seating
The rear transverse double bed
13/26
The rear transverse double bed
The kitchen area includes a sink and induction cooktop
14/26
The kitchen area includes a sink and induction cooktop
A door cuts off the living area from the bathroom and driver pass-through
15/26
A door cuts off the living area from the bathroom and driver pass-through
Opening the door for bathroom and pass-through access
16/26
Opening the door for bathroom and pass-through access
Unicat makes things more like home with a tiled shower and porcelain flush toilet
17/26
Unicat makes things more like home with a tiled shower and porcelain flush toilet
Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57
18/26
Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57
View out from the fixed bed
19/26
View out from the fixed bed
Unicat MD57 bed
20/26
Unicat MD57 bed
Clothes and accessory storage over the bed
21/26
Clothes and accessory storage over the bed
The pedestal table lowers down to form a second bed
22/26
The pedestal table lowers down to form a second bed
Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57
23/26
Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57
No need to wear dirty clothes or find a stream, the MD57 includes a washer/dryer
24/26
No need to wear dirty clothes or find a stream, the MD57 includes a washer/dryer
A peek in the toilet room and pass-through to the right
25/26
A peek in the toilet room and pass-through to the right
Inside the Unicat MAN MD57
26/26
Inside the Unicat MAN MD57

We're not sure German off-road motorhome builder Unicat really makes anything ideal for maneuvering the tightest off-road tracks and trails, but we do know that the company's latest offering is smaller and more maneuverable than the MD77h 6x6 we looked at last year ... if you can ever rightfully call a 29-ft (8.9-m), 14-ton diesel expedition truck "smaller and more maneuverable." The new MAN 4x4-based MD57 climbs and claws over rock, sand, mud, and perhaps the smoldering ruins of dystopian cities, before sheltering riders cozily in a fully equipped, marine-inspired cabin.

The MD57 isn't a brand-new creation, as Unicat also offers MD57 packages on base trucks from Volvo and Mercedes. This latest version combines a distinctly outfitted living module with MAN's TGM 18.340 4x4 chassis. That means a 6.9-liter common-rail diesel six-cylinder sending up to 335 hp (250 kW) and 922 lb-ft (1,250 Nm) of torque out to the four wheels spread front to back by a 177-in (4,500-mm) wheelbase. That engine operates in concert with a 12-speed TipMatic transmission, and the truck includes center, front and rear differential locks.

Like other Unicats, the MD57 is no weekend warrior – it is designed to explore expanses of barren, off-grid earth for days and weeks at a time. It carries 640 liters of fresh water split between two separate tanks and keeps its 630-Ah/24-V AGM battery bank topped off with a 1,620-W solar system. For dreary days when the sun doesn't even wink, a 2-kW gas generator delivers backup power. A centrally located command center houses controls and readouts for the electrical system, and battery and solar system information can also be monitored remotely. LED lighting features throughout.

To prevent slippage on wet, slick, shifty terrain, the MAN MD57 comes with a 4WD system with front, rear and center differential lockers
To prevent slippage on wet, slick, shifty terrain, the MAN MD57 comes with a 4WD system with front, rear and center differential lockers

To help occupants survive everything from sweltering desert heat to frigid tundra frost, the MD57 includes a diesel heater/hot water boiler and roof-mounted air conditioner. The equipment and plumbing has been secured and routed with cold weather in mind. Hot water is available at the outdoor shower as well as the indoor fixtures.

The MD57 measures 29 ft (8.9 m) in total length, 18.7 ft (5.7 m) of which is occupied by the fiberglass-sandwich walled living module on back. Inside that composite box, the MD57 features a comfortable layout with kitchen area, full bathroom, convertible dining area and fixed rear bed.

Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57
Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57

Unicat has gone all in on clean, nautical-like styling, sliding teak wood flooring underfoot and applying teak veneers to the furniture. Around the induction cooktop and sink, the stainless steel countertop keeps things cool, clean and professional-grade. The kitchen also includes an oven, microwave and fridge/freezer.

Just ahead of the kitchen area, toward the driver cab pass-through, the bathroom is split into separate compartments for the Sealand porcelain flush toilet and tiled shower. The bathroom area also includes a sink, mirror, cabinets and a towel dryer/heater.

The rear of the cabin is filled out by a 4.6 x 6.6-ft (1.4 x 2-m) transverse double bed just behind the U-shaped dinette, which itself converts into a second bed. Alcantara seat upholstery lends a soft, high-grade look and feel.

Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57
Inside the new Unicat MAN MD57

The MD57 doesn't have the robust entertainment package we saw on the MD77h, but it does include a Bose 5.1 surround sound system and comes wired for TV and internet. The motorhome also includes a washer/dryer.

Through the pass-through, the driver's cab has two primary climate-controlled seats, along with two extra folding seats that can be converted into a lying area. Also included are a rear-view camera, GPS navigation system, and Alpine audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, CD player and MP3 playback.

There's no motorcycle lift on back, as seen on the larger MD77h and other expedition vehicles, but the MD57 does have a hydraulic load platform with spare tire and dual storage boxes
There's no motorcycle lift on back, as seen on the larger MD77h and other expedition vehicles, but the MD57 does have a hydraulic load platform with spare tire and dual storage boxes

The MD57 weighs 27,117 lb (12,300 kg) when filled with water and fueled up with 600 liters of diesel, and has a gross vehicle weight upward of 30,600 lb (13,900 kg). It has plenty of storage inside and out to help you put that extra 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) to good use. Of particular note are the hydraulic-lift spare tire/storage box platform on back (no motorcycle, this time) and large storage box with dual bike rack. The exterior also includes an awning for comfier outdoor relaxation, a driver cab roof rack and auxiliary lighting.

Unicat tells us the MD57 starts at a cool €533,000 (approx. US$655K) after 19 percent VAT. The optioned-out model featured in photos carries a €664,000 ($815K) price tag.

Source: Unicat

3 comments
guzmanchinky
Very cool. But the best places to camp, this won't fit...
owlbeyou
Visions of a post-apocalyptic nuclear landscape with marauding gangs and lurking zombies around every corner looking for ways to get in your super RV. The windows are all bullet proof, and there are openings and mounting points for all your "defensive" weapons You travel through the chaos outside calculating your every move to conserve as much fuel, food and water searching for an oasis of sanity in this dangerous armageddon. Hey, I know this video game!
DavidB
I wonder where, in that dystopian landscape, one is supposed to acquire 160 gallons of diesel fuel every few days to refill the tank.