Winnebago turns new Mercedes Sprinter into adventurous, lithium-powered all-season camper van
The third-generation Mercedes Sprinter has already established itself in the European camper van market, bringing the latest passenger car-derived technologies to new camper vans like the Hymercar Grand Canyon S and La Strada Regent S 4x4. The Sprinter took longer to make it to the US, however, so the first American new-Sprinter camper vans are starting to warm their engines in time for the spring/summer 2019 camping season. Winnebago creates one of those vans with the all-new Boldt, which marries the tech-focused Sprinter with a comfy two- or three-sleeper floor plan, fully weatherized cabin and powerful lithium-based electrical system.
Named after German explorer and naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt, the new Boldt is a four-season, urban-to-outdoors adventure van built to respond to all kinds of travel needs. The new Sprinter base ensures a smooth ride, bringing with it features like active lane keeping assist, active brake assist, and the MBUX infotainment/nav system with 10-in touchscreen and voice recognition. Power comes from Mercedes' 188-hp 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.
Winnebago has designed the Boldt for year-round use, equipping it with both a Coleman air conditioner and Truma Combi Eco Plus heater/hot water boiler. The four-season open-cell insulation is designed to maintain an optimal indoor temperature, while a winterized plumbing system keeps the water flowing when things get icy.
The Pure3 Energy Management System developed in collaboration with Volta Power Systems and also offered on Winnebago's Ram-based Travato van is designed to be robust enough to power the Boldt through the night without the need for shore power or a generator. It includes an 11.6-kWh lithium-ion battery wired to a 48V electrical system. Solar charging and the 220V alternator team to keep the battery charged and powering onboard equipment like the induction cooktop, microwave, LED lighting and 24-in LED HDTV.
The Boldt will launch as a 291-in (739-cm), 170-in-wheelbase camper with two distinct layouts. The Q70 BL floor plan brings a rear bed and central wet bathroom and kitchen areas. The Flex Bed System works as either two separate twin beds or a single 66 x 81-in (168 x 206-cm) queen, with the twins doubling as sofas during the day. The dining table can mount in the front dinette, between the swivel cab seats and front-facing bench, or between the rear sofas, allowing for flexible dining and lounging. The dinette can be converted to a third sleeping birth.
The Q70 KL floor plan features a larger, full-width wet bath at the rear and a more centralized bed. It also has a flex bed/lounge, but its 41 x 74-in (104 x 188-cm) combined bed configuration is significantly more compact than the BL's queen. The KL also lacks the front bench of the BL, creating its dining space with swivel cab seats and a flip-up table in place of the removable pedestal table on the BL. A microwave/convection oven combo is included in place of the standard microwave on the BL.
The KL sleeps two, while the BL can sleep a third person on the convertible dinette. Features common to both floor plans include the induction cooktop, under-counter fridge/freezer, 79-L fresh water tank, powered roof vent, exterior TV jack, integrated Ram Tough-Track mounts throughout, electric awning with LED lighting and outdoor wash station. Available options include a luggage rack and movable ladder.
Winnebago has not yet finalized pricing, but we can expect the new van to start above the ~$US150,000 Sprinter-based Era and Revel models. It shouldn't take too long for the company to fill in the pricing blank more specifically because it plans to get the Boldt to dealerships in spring, with 4x4 models to follow in summer.
Winnebago debuted the Boldt at last week's RVX show, where it showed both floor plans. You can get a better feel for each in our photo gallery.