Brilliant morphing Flair RV may be comfier and more elegant than home
Erwin Hymer Group has been on a mission to downright redefine RV design over the past few years, churning out models that combine innovations like inflatable roofs and staircases with elegant materials and aesthetics throughout. It's no surprise that its most luxurious marque, Niesmann + Bischoff, has been among the brands leading the way in onboard ingenuity, comfort and elegance. Niesmann + Bischoff recently introduced its next-generation Flair integrated motorhome, incorporating some of the transformational trickery and homey finishing of the iSmove into a larger, more premium platform. The result is a gorgeous integrated motorhome that's likely to leave travelers reluctant to return home after the holiday is over.
The 30-foot (9-m) Niesmann + Bischoff Flair might just have been the most grandiose exhibit in Hymer's section of the 2022 Caravan Salon, which included other impressive showings like the all-new Hymer Venture S concept-turned-camper and the Bürstner Lyseo Gallery TD half-pop motorhome. The Flair peeked out from behind a curtain-like wall of floor-to-rafter streamers, stirring the curiosity of virtually every attendee who wandered past. Massive "FLAIR" lettering and a blue-tinged glow from sharply focused spotlights assured that it was something worth stopping and having a gander at.
The all-new 2023 Flair has a nice enough exterior, but it's the inside of Niesmann's flagship that really makes a huge leap forward for the new generation. So many motorhome interiors still look like something out of the 1970s or 80s, but Niesmann manages to give its latest a look that should feel modern and stylish for years (maybe decades) to come.
The fully redesigned living area impresses even before you learn of its reconfigurable secrets thanks to a wide, open floor plan with clear sight lines from cockpit to rear bedroom. All that space comes elegantly dressed in an understated combination of light gray felt walls, smoky glass and dark gray fixtures, all of which blend seamlessly with wood-veneer doors to create a space that captures both ultramodern cool and rustic warmth. Soft, ambient lighting further enhances the atmosphere throughout, and motion sensor lights in the hallway turn on to make the midnight bathroom or beverage run a little easier.
That color palette applies to the debut prototype, anyway. Niesmann + Bischoff spent two years redesigning the floor plan with new colors and materials, and it presents all that hard work to each buyer in the form of an options list that offers more than 34,500 potential interior combinations and 128 exterior possibilities.
More than mere pretty looks and a velvety touch, the new Flair interior is a highly functional mobile living space thanks to space-saving innovations that start up front at the dual-sofa dining lounge. The driver-side two-seater bench swivels 90 degrees to become a pair of front-facing belted seats during the ride, swiveling back to face the passenger-side bench across the foldaway dining table. The dining area seats a total of six people when you take the swivel cab seats into account.
The unassuming kitchen block wall just next to the driver-side sofa is actually a slim console that houses the available 32-in electric-lift smart TV, which works in conjunction with low-profile multifunctional speaker/wall lights. That veneer-topped console wraps around the back of the kitchen, where it houses another electrically retractable feature: a range hood that sucks away moisture and odors while cooking, then drops back away for a cleaner look and an unimpeded view out the window.
The greater kitchen block includes a hybrid stove with a single induction cooker and dual gas burners, a sink with high-arching faucet, integrated dish drainage and wood cover, a capsule coffeemaker, and a generous drawer stack. Buyers can configure the drawers to order, mixing in options like a dishwasher, oven or secondary compressor fridge drawer. The primary 370-L fridge with independent freezer stands across the aisle from the main block, neatly concealed within the greater wood-veneer console that also includes a wardrobe.
The bedroom at the very rear of the Flair gets filled out by a 79 x 80-in (202 x 204-cm) super-king mattress raised atop a series of drawers. The space includes felt-lined walls, a padded headrest, wraparound overhead cabinetry, and a full array of ambient lighting to go along with adjustable reading lights for each sleeper.
The dry bathroom just in front of the bedroom includes a front sliding door to create an en suite separated from the rest of the living area. A rear door closes the bedroom off from the bathroom for privacy. The driver-side toilet and shower areas have a sliding privacy door of their own and are separated by a divider wall, while the sink is located across the hall.
The Flair sleeps two more on the inconspicuous 75 x 55-in (190 x 140-cm) drop-down bed over the driver's cab, available optionally. Much like the version on the iSmove, the bed blends away seamlessly during the day thanks to its headliner-matching color and integrated overhead lights. It then pulls down at night as a transverse double-sleeper cozily enclosed within three fabric walls and illuminated via ambient lighting.
Much of the Flair's feeling of spaciousness owes to the double floor construction, through which Niesmann + Bischoff houses all the utility system equipment below the RV cabin floor. The standard 100-Ah battery system can be multiplied into a powerful 600-Ah off-grid system with up to 440 watts of solar charging, an inverter and a battery management system. The 370-L fresh water tank and water filter system with UV light add to the motorhome's autonomous living capabilities.
The Flair is available to order now and comes in 29.1- and 30-foot (887- and 927-cm) lengths, both based on an Iveco Daily 70 C 18 van chassis with 180-hp 3.0-liter four-cylinder diesel and features like adaptive cruise control and emergency braking assist. Prices start around €215,000 (approx. US$207,250), and the 920 model we viewed at the Caravan Salon had been dunked deep into the lengthy options sheet to push that price over €341,000 (US$328,700).
Source: Niesmann + Bischoff