Hünerkopf Sprinter 4x4 landaulet locks in weirdest convertible of 2020
Back in 2017, Mercedes rocked the foundation of the automotive world with the Maybach G650 Landaulet, a high-rise, portal-axled ultra-luxury off-roader built, we can only assume, to chauffeur monocled one-percenters around on exorbitantly priced adventure tours. It was a highly unlikely vehicle by any measure, but now it has officially been topped. Klaus Hünerkopf presents an even more unlikely Mercedes off-road touring landaulet in the form of a ruggedized Sprinter 4x4 with electric glass canopy and four-seat vis-a-vis luxury cabin.
Placed – coincidentally or strategically, we're not sure – not 10 feet (3 m) from the Skydancer Apero convertible motorhome, the Hünerkopf Sprinter was easily the most eye-catching vehicle at CMT 2020. But as much as our eyes kept telling us the story was all about that carved-away open-air cabin and retractable panoramic glasshouse, such vehicles are already in use, everywhere from the Swiss Alps to California wine country. German company Caleche specializes in convertible Sprinter canopies, distributing its system in both Europe and North America.
So the story here really has more to do with the layout and upfitting of this particular Sprinter convertible. Hünerkopf is an interior specialist, first and foremost, having roots in commercial interior design long before expanding into motorhome interiors about 20 years ago.
With this build, Hünerkopf puts its interior expertise to work in designing a Sprinter cabrio tour van that's a step above the average. Typically such vans are laid out in mini-bus style, rows of seats providing plenty of space for squeezing in hordes of eager, ticket-buying tourists. Hünerkopf creates a more intimate four-person vis-a-vis layout that results in a sort of touring landaulet, complete with partial divider wall between driver cab and passenger cabin.
Each pair of ergonomic leather-clad seats faces a large flat-screen TV, offering entertainment to get through the dull stretches of safari between breathtaking vistas and staggering wildlife encounters. At CMT, the van also had a third display in the load area, but that seemed just for exhibition purposes and wasn't listed on the spec sheet.
Word around CMT was that this particular Sprinter was designed for the not-so-everyman sport of falconry. As such, it's built up well beyond a city tour bus. Going beyond a mere factory-built Sprinter 4x4, Hünerkopf turned to the specialists at Iglhaut Allrad for a more robust 4WD. The van rides high on 37-in BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires and wears a bull bar, roof light bar and front winch. There's also a snorkel to ensure the 128-hp CDI engine fares better during water crossings than passengers caught with the roof down.
Hünerkopf's Sprinter cabriolet is an impressive vehicle and it wears an equally impressive price tag: €267,000 (approx. US$295,900), including VAT. That might be an imposing figure for the average van driver, but it's a teeny price to pay when trying to gain every advantage for your falconing adventures. Plus, have you seen the prices of Maybach G650s? The Hünerkopf is an off-road landaulet bargain if ever there was one.