To celebrate its 55th birthday, German manufacturer Bürstner has taken five popular low-profile layouts and produced the “Fifty-five” models.
These come with lots of extra kit as standard. The 55s come with a Zenec multi-media system, which includes sat-nav and reversing camera.
Other standard features include alloy wheels, a roll-out awning and cab air-conditioning. In addition, all the chassis have been upgraded from 3,500kg to 3,850kg as standard, which in the case of the t 685, gives a massive user payload of 864kg.
Loads to load up
So, having established that the t 685 can carry a large load, where do you store it all? Well, there’s a large rear storage area accessible from an exterior hatch on the offside corner, but this can’t really be called a rear ‘garage’ since it doesn’t extend for the full width of the vehicle (the internal shower cubicle blocks it from extending right through), nor is it tall enough for bikes.
However, the floor of the storage area does extend under the shower, giving a full-width space that’s deep enough to store lengthy items that are placed flat, such as skis or awning poles.
The floor of this storage compartment is made from plastic, plus there are metal eyelets for securing items stored here. Looking underneath, I was also pleased to note that this rear storage area is supported by metal chassis rail extensions, which isn’t always the case. So, you should be able to store fairly hefty loads here (rear axle limits permitting).
Swivel table, swivel heads
Once on site, the cab seats swivel to face a half-dinette with three-point seatbelts, meaning that four people can travel in the t 685. There’s also a small single seat by the entrance door on the offside; with all seats called into action, five people can relax or dine around the central table. This is clipped to a rail on the nearside wall and has a swivel-out extension to its top, meaning that anyone sitting in the swivelled driver’s seat, or the offside single seat, has an easy reach to the tabletop.
The lounge is also a very bright place to sit, with the front sunroof and large rooflight letting in plenty of natural light, while two pairs of spotlamps, mounted on sliding rails, illuminate the lounge at night. These spotlamps are 12V halogens. In fact, there’s a mixture of halogen and LED lighting in this Bürstner – all-round LEDs would have been better, especially for those who like to use basic sites without hook-up, and want to minimise leisure battery power consumption. Having said that, a 90Ah leisure battery does come as standard and there’s space next to it for an additional battery, which would be useful if you’re staying on one of those basic campsites.
Staying on the subject of electrics, there’s a tambour-door TV cabinet just behind the dinette seating and above the kitchen, where a slide-out bracket is fitted to take your choice of flatscreen TV.
Those who like to bake in their motorhome will be pleased to see that the t 685 has been fitted with a gas oven for the UK market, to go with the three-burner gas hob. This oven is mounted quite high up though, above the large three-way fridge, with separate freezer.
A game of two halves
When it comes to daily ablutions, the t 685’s facilities are split into two, with a shower cubicle in the rear nearside corner, next to the bed, plus a toilet and washbasin compartment on the offside wall, below the foot of the bed.
For privacy, a curtain can be pulled across to shield the rear bedroom and shower cubicle, but the toilet compartment sits the other side of this. However, it has a large, domestic-style door, so privacy won’t be a problem – unless you want to walk naked between the toilet and shower!
The shower cubicle has plastic bi-fold doors and comes with a chrome-effect mixer tap. It’s fully lined in plastic, so damp shouldn’t be a problem, and there’s a roof vent, as well as an outlet for the blown-air heating system to
keep it nice and warm. Meanwhile, the toilet compartment feels quite upmarket, lined with dark wood-effect wall panels.
Now we come to what is the t 685’s star feature: the fixed rear double bed. This is a cross between a corner French bed and an island bed. It’s a relatively new type of layout, which aims to offer more convenient access without the extra vehicle length associated with a full island bed. A peninsula bed?
Effectively, it’s an island double bed with rounded bottom corners that has been pushed up against the offside wall. The bonus here is that there’s relatively good access to both sides of the bed, without the need for one occupant to clamber over another.
This is an extract from January 2014 MMM. To read the article in full, click here.
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