Outdoors

Bimobil transforms the Mercedes Sprinter into compact, rugged expedition vehicle

Bimobil transforms the Mercede...
The EX 366 is the latest expedition vehicle in Bimobil's line
The EX 366 is the latest expedition vehicle in Bimobil's line
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The Bimobil gets driver and passenger off the beaten track and lets them stay for a while
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The Bimobil gets driver and passenger off the beaten track and lets them stay for a while
Bimobil outfits the EX 366 with a functional interior complete with bathroom
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Bimobil outfits the EX 366 with a functional interior complete with bathroom
The bathroom includes a shower, sink and toilet
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The bathroom includes a shower, sink and toilet
Bimobil EX 366 floor plan
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Bimobil EX 366 floor plan
The standard EX 366 is based on the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 with 161-hp TDI engine
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The standard EX 366 is based on the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 with 161-hp TDI engine
Bimobil says its separate living module cuts down on chassis torsion
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Bimobil says its separate living module cuts down on chassis torsion
The EX 366 is the latest expedition vehicle in Bimobil's line
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The EX 366 is the latest expedition vehicle in Bimobil's line
The Bimobil EX 366
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The Bimobil EX 366
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The Sprinter isn't necessarily the Mercedes-Benz platform that immediately comes to mind when we think rugged, AWD expedition vehicle. Those types of vehicles usually find a home atop Unimog, Zetros or maybe G-Wagen underpinnings, leaving the Sprinter for pavement-centric camper van designs. In fact, Mercedes has said that the Sprinter is the number one base vehicle for luxury camper vans, not exactly a description that makes one think of muddy tracks and rocky hill climbs. That said, German camper manufacturer Bimobil has managed to create a convincingly tough expedition vehicle by planting its own living module on top of an AWD Sprinter chassis. This is one Sprinter that can travel and camp virtually anywhere in the world.

Based on the models we've seen up close in the past – like the EX 345 – Bimobil doesn't mess around when it designs an expedition vehicle. The Sprinter-based EX 366 is the newest member of its expedition lineup, having launched for the 2014/2015 season.

Bimobil secures its rugged "habitation cabin" directly to the Sprinter 4x4's chassis, a configuration that it says cuts chassis torsion during bumpy, off-road driving. This helps the EX 366 explore paths that could leave a more traditional camper van crippled and crying. The separate habitation module also helps to improve insulation over that of a standard-spec van, cutting out the interior connection with the driver cab, minus a lockable pass-through door, and putting 45-mm (1.8-in) thick walls and 60-mm (2.4-in) flooring between the cozy cabin and the howling cold outside.

The 78.9-sq ft (7.33-sq m), two-person living cabin is snug but fully functional for long travels. It includes an innovative Froli-spring bed that can be used as a single or doubled in capacity by way of a slide-out mechanism that extends it across one side of the dinette. Interestingly, Bimobil says that the slide-out mechanism is designed to be quiet and simple enough that it can be deployed without waking someone sleeping on the rear-most single bed. So the second occupant can enjoy full use of the dinette set for eating, working, reading, etc, then pull out his or her side of the bed when ready to retire, all without disturbing a mate sleeping on the other half of the double bed. Alternatively, the second occupant can keep the bed pulled out and still use the front-most dinette seat.

Bimobil outfits the EX 366 with a functional interior complete with bathroom
Bimobil outfits the EX 366 with a functional interior complete with bathroom

Across from the two-person dining platform with slide-adjustable table, the kitchen area includes a two-burner stove, stainless steel sink, 110L (29 US gal) compressor fridge, cutlery drawer and storage trays. At the front of the cabin, a bathroom compartment provides a shower basin, enameled steel sink, swiveling Thetford cassette toilet and shelf space. The corner opposite the bathroom is occupied by a wardrobe closet.

The EX 366 comes standard with a 6-kW Truma diesel heater, 80L fresh water tank, 10L hot water heater, 100L waste water tank and 20L LPG gas tank. A 120Ah AGM battery powers the interior lighting, and the vehicle offers three 12V sockets and two 220V outlets. In addition to the aforementioned storage, the design includes under-seat storage, roof lockers and a rear trunk compartment. Five windows and two skylights connect occupants with the great outdoors, and the entryway makes for easy entry and exit with two integrated step and an electrically retractable stair.

Bimobil presented the EX 366 at last year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon and showed it again at last month's CMT camper show. The camper is based on the Sprinter 316 with 161-hp (120-kW) TDI engine but can also be equipped to the Sprinter 319 with 188-hp (140-kW) TDI. Bimobil offers two interior package options: solid spruce framing with fir wood ply panels or "Luminum 2000," which combines aluminum door panels with maple frames and maple-veneered furniture. Prices start at €99,800 (US$113,000).

Source: Bimobil

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5 comments
yawood
"This is one Sprinter that can travel and camp virtually anywhere in the world."
That's a joke. It might go where normal camper vans can't but that certainly leaves a lot of the world (especially in Australia) that it would not even look at. No ground clearance; no real wading ability; no decent approach, departure and ramp angles; and I'll bet it couldn't handle the corrugations for very long on many of the outback Australian roads.
It would be OK for dirt roads and gentle off-road driving to get to a campsite but that would be about the limit.
It's probably not a bad unit but be more realistic with the prose.
Germano Pecoraro
The frame certainly can not compete with a Land Rover Defender 130-150. However I found two interesting alternatives: 1 - the furniture is arranged in a rational way and look quite roomy 2 - the color combination of the bodywork is that of the interior is simply beautiful
Stephen N Russell
Id rent this nice, super compact RV.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think this is great camper. It would be neat to have one.
yawood
I agree that it's a great looking camper and it has a good layout. The Merc is also a good unit to be based on. For normal paved roads, graded dirt roads and gentle off-road driving it would be terrific.