Big, bold and very much an apartment on wheels, the Bürstner Argos 747 has the potential to make a good alternative to a large A-class – especially as it’s likely to be much cheaper than the equivalent models. There are niggles but these are few, although owners should keep a beady eye on overall weight – with its cavernous stowage, it could be easy to overload this motorhome.
Berths: 7 Travel seats: 6 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Al-Ko Gross weight: 5,000kg Payload:
The Argos 747 has been on Bürstner’s motorhome menu for well over a decade – a good sign that it does its job in very effective fashion. With the advent of drop-down over-lounge beds, overcab coachbuilts in general are less numerous these days and especially very big ones such as the 747. But there’s more to this mega-motorhome than size and space as it’s one of the very few that completely separates its cab from the living quarters.
One of the main reasons for this is the inclusion of another feature – the deep, storage double floor. This raises the living area up much higher than the cab, rendering it unable to become part of the front lounge that begins the internal layout. Aft of the lounge is the kitchen, then the washroom facilities and, finally, a transverse double bed above a garage. Up front, another transverse double bed lives above the cab. All this is transported by Fiat’s doughty Ducato and supported by Al-Ko’s tag-axle rear chassis.
The lounge’s leather-clad upholstery isn’t a cheap option, but it seems kind of right in this situation. Consisting of a sofa facing a pullman dinette, the two are married into a great wrap-around lounge once a seat section that fills the entranceway to the cab is inserted. Plenty of motorhome bench seats are referred to as sofas, but this really is a sofa, with domestic lounge talents and adjustable-rake backrests.
The table has a drop-in leaf that extends its top towards the settee for dining. This is a seven-berth ’van (six travel seats, though) and, if a full complement are dining, the three people at the sofa end will need to sit offset to approach the table at the point where their plates will have enough room.
A full cooker, sink with draining board, a very good slab of work surface… this is one of the best motorhome kitchens I’ve seen in a long time. OK, so there’s no microwave, but the rest is all there and easy to use. It’s no surprise to find a big fridge/freezer opposite and there’s more storage here, too – a drawer below and a cupboard above, seemingly good for cereal containers and their like, or maybe even that missing microwave. Two hatches giving access to the double floor cavity – or, as I prefer to call it, wine cellar – are located within easy reach. I’m not keen on the, admittedly aesthetically pleasing, downward curving end of the unit by the sink. It looks a bit like a waterfall waiting to happen.
The ablutions stand either side of the aisle, cheek-by-jowl with the rear bed and separated from the main living area by a sliding door. However, the first downside is the lack of a door to divide the bed from the en suite. No complaints with the shower, though, as it’s spacious, includes a small locker and shelf and is enclosed by rigid doors. The toilet room is well appointed, too, with Bürstner’s usual and sensible set-up of plenty of storage, a big mirror and deep basin. Unlike some, the swivel-bowl loo isn’t raised up on a plinth, so there should be comfortable sitting for all.
The overcab bed is spacious. Fresh air here is supplied by a window at the foot of the bed and a rooflight above. The over-garage bed works well, too, as it’s roomy and comes with good headroom. It boasts individual mattresses with rising heads for inclined relaxation, but the rearmost one comes up against the overhead locker directly above, so seems slightly pointless.
In the lounge the conversion to bedroom is done in the usual manner. It’s just the lower portion of the sofa backrests, plus the backrest cushion at the cab end, that need to be removed to create the single bed. Opposite, the table drops and cushions are added to create a bed in the pullman dinette. This dinette bed is billed as a double, but it’s just an inch wider than a domestic single so two kids will probably sleep here. Or one can use the single opposite, which is 5ft 9in long. Either way, there’s enough sleeping space for the 747 to work as a true six-berth.
Aside from a plentiful supply of overhead lockers, there’s storage aplenty, thanks to the voluminous garage and a considerable acreage of the double floor cavity. Access into both areas sees a large garage door on each flank and, further forwards, hatches on both sides.
This is also a fully winterised motorhome, because its heated double floor contains both fresh and grey water tanks (so they won’t freeze when the temperature drops). And the heating is well up to the job as it’s by Alde and with a boiler that warms concealed radiators throughout the interior.