Airstream turns the Mercedes Sprinter into an ultra-luxury van
The Autobahn interior gives passengers a spacious, comfortable ride full of amenities
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
About the Author
Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
All articles by C.C. Weiss
What's most attractive about this conversion is that if you ditch the glass on the sides and keep it painted white it's good for either stealth executive transport or 'security' work. Or am I being too obvious and you already got there and I'm only helping terrorists and radicals to be suspicious of every 'white van' they see on the road? Good, the paranoid bastards deserve all the paranoia they can stand. Hey! Your grandmother's ghost is watching you masturbate to that sick sick porn you like so much! That will get them.
Anyway, looks nice. I'd have them put a couch in back with maybe a minibar but otherwise it's what I'd want to ride to the airport. Maybe with a food service sign on the outside.
Even better, combine the 'white' windows with a roof rack and stageprop ladder with "Bob The Builder" decals. Get everybody paranoid.
erm, am i missing something or is someone about to pay $133,000 for a transit van with a couple of seats and a tv in the back? Nice business model!
(assume that any under cover van will also have a sooty back door with "please clean me" and "I wish my wife was this dirty" scrawled in it?)
I think that is neat. I think Mercedes did an excellent job on it. When I think Airstream, I think campers.
Perhaps it could be used as airport shuttle for first class flyers? That way they can leave their expensive cars at home instead of risking damage to them at the airport.
Perhaps big companies could use it to transport their executives to events that are too close to fly them there?
Interesting vehicle. Too bad I'm always the driver, no tv or fridges for me.
ACC Medlink is doing awesome things with Sprinter Vans. They use them for long distance patient transport and have them built out with memory foam beds, wifi, and HDTV. You can check them out at www.medic-trans.com.
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