Gourmet glamper van packs slide-out Big Green Egg BBQ and minibar
In the United States, it's harder to find a camper van that doesn't cost over $100,000 than one that does. Over in Germany, though, camper vans costing under half that are common, so when a camper van commands a six-figure price tag, it tends to be loaded with an impressive level of luxury. The new Loef camper van doesn't disappoint in that regard. The stretched-out MAN TGE hosts a luxurious glamping experience that churns out five-star meals on its slide-out ceramic grill, cocktail-crafting minibar and full indoor range. Dual dining areas allow up to 10 people to enjoy those meals inside the van walls.
As perfect as a built-in grill is for camping and road trips, it's a luxury for which the limited space of a motorhome or caravan doesn't usually allow. Since a stove is more versatile for day-to-day cooking, it's the standard inclusion, leaving campers to bring a portable gas or charcoal grill on their own or do without.
One way to make room for both a traditional camper van kitchen and a slide-out grill is to build your camper on one of the longest vans on the road. The extended MAN TGE's 739-cm (291-in) bumper-to-bumper length makes it longer than some Class C and even Class A motorhomes, inching past the also-massive, two-bedroom Mercedes-based Alphavan by roughly 3 cm (1.2 in). The Loef includes 284 cm (112 in) of height to go along with all that body, offering plenty of room for the usual amenities, with some left over for unusual ones.
Loef designers carve out an elegant rear lounge floor plan that puts a dining lounge with wraparound five-person sofa just inside the rear load doors. This area offers the option of al fresco dining with the doors open or a more private experience with them closed. Lower the table and reconfigure the cushions, and the lounge turns into a 175 x 195-cm (69 x 77-in) longitudinal master bed.
Most camper vans find their fill with a single dining lounge, but the Loef camper has two, offering seating for a total of 10 people seeking shelter to break bread or while away rainy days. The front of the van has its own five-seat dinette comprising an L-shaped driver-side bench, swivel cab seats and single passenger-side bench seat set neatly around an adjustable-height table. Just like in the rear, the table drops down to create a sleeping space, this time supporting a smaller 120 x 175-cm (47 x 69-in) traverse bed designed for two children.
Like typical European camper vans, the Loef carries a combination of galley and bathroom amidships, but it equips them with a higher spec of equipment than average. Instead of the usual dual-burner stove, the galley comes with a Thetford range with four-burner stove and oven. The steel sink wears a matte black finish to match the faucet that extends elegantly out of the wall. A variety of cabinets and slide-outs provide for dry storage, while the 90-L Thetford compressor fridge/freezer across the aisle keeps food fresh and drinks cold.
Just next to the fridge, the wet bathroom houses the electric-flush cassette toilet, ceiling-integrated rainfall shower paired with hand sprayer, and mirrored cabinet. A Truma Combi diesel heater warms both the camper interior and water at the faucets.
Strolling back to the Loef van's pièce de résistance, the Big Green Egg Mini Max ceramic grill slides out the rear doors from under the sofa lounge, ready to host everything from ritzy wine-and-cheese picnics to overindulgent tailgating buffets. Loef also includes a support frame for the Big Green Egg, so that users can remove it from the van and cook outside, whether under the painted-blue sky or the available Thule side awning. The frame will probably come in handy for cooling and cleaning, too.
A basic LPG grill would have been a nice enough addition, but a high-quality ceramic grill like the Big Green Egg is a particular highlight for nomadic chefs, giving them the ability to grill, roast, bake and smoke over charcoal. The greater slide-out platform has space to hold an optional outdoor table and four-chair set.
If a slide-out BBQ grill/smoker isn't enough to push a tailgate party into high gear, the Loef van also serves the drinks. Step around to the sliding passenger-side door and you'll find that the bench seat just inside the doorway doubles as a minibar. Fold the outside panel down and reveal the classy wood cabinet designed to hold two liquor bottles, four tumblers, a bottle opener and a waiter's corkscrew. The fold-down door doubles as a worktop for prepping ingredients and mixing drinks, and the unit includes integrated ambient lighting and USB ports.
To power its myriad electrical equipment, Loef wires in a 100-Ah lithium battery, 2,000-W inverter and 320-W solar charging system. The van has a multitude of USB and 230V outlets around the interior and also includes a smart home control system with mobile app connectivity. An LTE antenna delivers onboard internet.
Loef says that its camper van will range between €110,000 and 125,000 (US$131,575 to $149,525), depending upon equipment. It's built atop a 3,500-kg MAN TGE with 178-hp 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, adaptive cruise control, hill start assist, and front and rear parking assist.