One of the more interesting vehicles to come out of Moscow International Auto Salon's press day, the Brabus Business Lounge transforms the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter into a spacious, luxurious conference room on four wheels. It's the latest way for wealthy businessmen to work and relax while being chauffeured from point to point.
German tuning shop Brabus has built quite a business out of upgrading Daimler vehicles that run the full spectrum from ultra-powerful, aggressive cars like its 800-hp SL 65 AMG to luxurious professional cars like the recent 800 iBusiness G 65, which incidentally also packs 800 ponies.
The all-new Sprinter-based Business Lounge is obviously in the latter category, though it does appear to break Brabus' recent habit of 800-hp upgrades, as the outfit doesn't say anything about engine tuning. Instead it's focused the bulk of its attention on the interior, gutting the standard Sprinter cabin and replacing it with a more open set-up of face-to-face conference-style seating. All four seats recline and include heating, ventilation, massage, lumbar support, and power adjustment with three-position memory. A third two-seat row in back faces forward and can be removed to increase cargo space.
The interior is upholstered in Mastik leather colored in a dual-tone combination of cognac and mocha. The sides of the seats feature contrasting Alcantara and high-gloss white trim. An authentic wood floor adds to the cozy, professional ambiance.
Modern business doesn't get done without the proper supporting technologies, and the Business Lounge keeps its occupants wired and connected. Developed with the help of Ruhr West University, the onboard media center is powered by a dedicated computer tucked away neatly out of view. It offers seamless integration with Android, iOS and Windows-based tablets. Each passenger can select his or her tablet's operating system on one of the media center's 5-inch, seat-mounted touchscreen displays, and the device is detected and added to the network, where the user has access to shared programs and files, as well as LTE internet. Each business seat is also equipped with a wireless mouse and keyboard.
Passengers can collaborate on the 42-in LCD HD TV mounted behind the driver, with rear-facing passengers following along on their own 10-in display in the center console. For down time, the system includes a PlayStation 4, Apple TV, Blu-ray player and DVB-T digital TV equipment, in addition to any multimedia content stored on the computer hard drive.
The 42-in TV can also display smartphone multimedia content using Miracast. Audio is driven by a 1,200-watt Dolby surround sound system custom-built for the unique interior. Eight USB 3.0 ports and three 220-volt outlets keep all gadgets topped off.
The modern, high-rise-office feel continues with onboard refreshment capabilities. Between the business seats, a pod-based coffeemaker and refrigerator serve up hot and cold drinks.
Even the busy, tireless executive needs to sleep at some point, and sometimes the best opportunity is on the commute. In the Business Lounge, the sleepy exec can draw the eight power curtains and kick all the way back into sleeping position in the reclining seat. The specialized 2,700-color LED headliner display offers 12 relaxing themes, ranging from cloud-filled blue sky, to starry night sky, to fireworks display. Six reading lights are available around the cabin for late-night work.
Outside drivers and pedestrians too far away to peek through the Business Lounge's windows can distinguish it from standard Sprinter vans by way of a few body modifications. Brabus has swapped the bumper out for a sportier version with daytime running LEDs, added its own dual tailpipes, and built fender flares to accommodate the 18-in Brabus Monoblock nine-spoke wheels. High-performance Continental tires sit between those wheels and the road below.
Now that the Business Lounge is out in the open in Moscow, Brabus is building it to order, offering four- and six-seat passenger cabins and a variety of options.