Best fixed bed coachbuilt over £60k: Dethleffs Globeline T 66 13 EB
In the 2020 What Motorhome awards, it's the Dethleffs Globeline T 66 13 EB motorhome that takes the honours in the Best Fixed Bed Coachbuilt over £60k class...
You don't have to spend £100k to get a top-quality motorhome based on the latest Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. Nor do you have to drive a vast, coach-like A-class to get the revered three-pointed star on the grille of your new motorhome.
Dethleffs’ new-this-season Globeline is both just over £70k and just under 7m in length – as well as being available on a 3.5-tonne chassis to suit every driving licence holder. That puts it in direct competition with a whole rally field’s worth of Fiat Ducato-based rivals. And, as we all know, the ubiquitous Italian is getting rather long in the tooth…
In the latest Sprinter it’s clear from the moment you get behind the wheel that this is not your average light commercial vehicle. The leather steering wheel with cruise control, radio and Bluetooth switches, along with digital air-conditioning can be taken as read.
Then there are the Aguti captain’s chairs with tilt/height-adjustment, as well as reach/rake variation on the steering column. Where the latest Sprinter really excels, though, is in the tech on offer.
That starts with the fact that all UK-market Globelines get Mercedes’ 10.25in MBUX multimedia display. It includes sat-nav and the reversing camera’s screen and the graphics here are as pin-sharp as you’d expect in a new E-class.
Keyless starting and Crosswind Assist are further standard features, while the optional Mercedes Assistance Package adds the 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox, Distronic adaptive cruise control, Attention Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, automatic wipers and High Beam Assist. Now that’s the sort of spec you’d expect of a new Merc.
But it’s not just about having all the latest toys.
Rear-wheel drive is a rarity at this size/price point, but it has advantages in terms of traction (especially when towing or with a fully laden garage). On the road, the 143bhp engine will be adequate for most, but there are 163bhp and 190bhp options. The slick automatic gearbox has long been an impressive feature of Mercedes-based motorhomes and its shifts may be heard (via a variation in engine note) but are rarely felt.
This new generation Sprinter seems tauter than before, retaining a comfortable ride but without the previous lean and wallow. It’s a smooth, refined drive that you can enjoy all the more because it’s matched by an impressive lack of creaks, groans or rattles from the Dethleffs living area.
Of course, the Isny-based maker isn’t the only one building on the latest Benz base. So, with an increasing number of rivals using this chassis, the Globeline has to live up to its luxury price point. It does that with two aspects that we’ve come to expect from the brand that tags itself, ‘A friend of the family’ – solid German build quality and a real sense of contemporary design.
The good looks begin with the Style Package option, comprising a metallic black cab, chrome grille, colour-coded bumper, flush-fitting habitation windows and a coachbuilt body with silver metallic finish. Then there’s the extra-wide habitation door (a feature you’ll soon love) that’s linked to the remote central locking.
Inside, the layout is as unsurprising – and as German – as a Pils being served with a head on it, but the sense of comfort and quality is leagues ahead of some rivals. That starts with an L-shaped settee that offers more support for your legs and more comfort for your back (by virtue of softer, slightly pillow-like backrests).
The upholstery is superbly finished in a mix of tweed and suede-style materials that are, perhaps, the defining touch of the décor.
The cab seats turn easily, too, to join a sturdy table that slides fore/aft and side-to-side, while Roman blinds add privacy at the large side window and the opening overcab sunroof and deep window in the door allow plenty of daylight into the lounge. Artificial lighting is impressive, too, with the backlit sections at the side of the overcab being particularly attractive. Either 22in or 32in TVs are listed as factory options and Isofix is available for the rear travel seat.
The cab, lounge and kitchen are all on the same level, so there are no awkward steps to quite literally trip you up. But headroom doesn’t suffer from the rear-drive chassis’ higher floor; it’s a generous 2.03m in the galley area.
Wall hooks in the kitchen are useful, while the Thetford Duplex combined oven and grill is mounted below the XXL cutlery drawer as one of the many upgrades to Globeline spec for the UK market. It’s so much better than an oven located over the fridge/freezer, which here is a tall, slim model with a generous 142-litre capacity, a bottle drawer and automatic energy selection.
There are twin 230V sockets on the front of the kitchen unit, which work well in conjunction with the worktop flap at the end of the galley – the wide door here means it’s still easy to pass by. And additional features include a fitted waste bin and a deep drawer under the fridge for pots and pans. It’s not a large galley but the space has been used wisely and the Virginia Oak furniture with high-gloss top locker doors gives a typically Dethleffs modern vibe.
Opposite the culinary department, the shower and loo share the same compartment, but the former is a decent size and the latter offers generous leg and shoulder room. Stylised Dethleffs ‘D’ logos form neat towel hooks as a finishing touch.
At the rear, we couldn’t fault the comfort of the seven-zone mattresses and the single beds’ sizes should suit most couples, at 1.93m and 1.85m long. There’s also the usual central cushion between the twin beds, allowing for loads of shoulder room at night. Or you can extend this area with a slide-out panel to turn the twin beds into a 2.11m-long transverse double.
Of course, another reason for choosing a single bed layout like this is the garage below – here measuring 1.21m high and 0.95m wide. Two full-sized loading doors serve this huge space and there’s a full chassis extension underneath to support the garage area.
The Mercedes chassis is just part of the reason for Dethleffs securing this award, with the Globeline benefiting from this German brand’s renowned quality and attention to detail, as well as greatly increased spec for UK buyers.