Airstream turns the Mercedes Sprinter into an ultra-luxury van
By C.C. Weiss
June 9, 2014
Airstream is best known for its line of iconic silver-bullet trailers, which includes the International Sterling. If its newly-introduced Autobahn is any indication, it may soon become better known for luxury vans. Revealed at the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealer meeting last week, the van offers the utmost in comfortable, luxurious people-moving.
The Autobahn joins the 2004-launched, Mercedes-based Interstate Series in Airstream's "touring coaches" line. The Interstate is a full motorhome more in line with Airstream's camper line-up, while the Autobahn is a luxury passenger van without any live-in amenities. It reportedly draws upon the luxury and attention to detail of the private jet.
Airstream has reworked the Sprinter interior with a focus on spaciousness and high-end furnishings and entertainment. Starting directly behind the driver and front passenger, the Autobahn keeps the passengers in its two three-seat rear rows entertained with a 32-in LCD TV. That TV is wired to components like an Apple TV box and Blu-ray player, with an Airstream Smart Control System providing intuitive control. The Smart Control system handles not only music and video but also other interior settings, including cabin temperature, lighting and shades. It can be operated by in-vehicle hardware and any wirelessly-connected smart device or laptop.
Each of the leather seats in the cabin is equipped for a combination of relaxation and productivity, offering heating, a power footrest, and its own dedicated 120-volt and USB power outlets. Each passenger also has his or her own table, which can be used for work or leisure. The rear rows are separated by a wood-trimmed aisle, except for the two rearmost seats, which are pushed closer together to make room for the dual refrigerators on the rear walls.
The Autobahn is based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Series with a 188-hp 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel and five-speed automatic. The model includes a variety of Mercedes' driving assistance systems, such as collision prevention assist, lane-keeping assist and blind spot assist.
The Autobahn is available exclusively through Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealers across the US, and starts at US$133,024.
For those looking at upscaled Mercedes vans and van campers, Airstream is far from the only name in the racket. Other recent designs we've seen include the Becker JetVan and the Brabus Viano Lounge Concept.
Source: Mercedes-Benz USA