The new Delfin brings back a popular model name and offers a useful cost saving against its Lyseo sister. The island bed layout here follows current fashions and feels spacious, partly as a result of the absence of a drop-down bed as standard. Build quality seems a cut above the norm, but the height of the settees and the small oven count against it in a sector that is awash with good competitors.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £59,995 Berths: 2/5 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.41m Width: 2.32m Height: 2.92m Gross weight: 3,500kg
Words and photos: Peter Vaughan
Bürstner is bringing back one of its best-known model names with the return of the Delfin (German for dolphin). Some might recall the stir caused by the original at the 2003 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, where its striking blue and white livery, mated to the then new Renault Master cab, made it the star of the show.
The latest Delfin – unveiled last year in Germany, but only now starting to appear at British dealers – is described as “a tribute to its successful predecessor” and that’s most obviously displayed by the combination of a silver cab and white body with blue skirts and wheelarches (although Mocca is now available as an alternative to the blue).
There’s no Renault chassis here, though, nor the Citroën of home-market Delfins; instead, UK buyers get the ubiquitous Fiat Ducato.
We also get a choice of three layouts: a seven-metre rear washroom/garage layout in which the main bed is a drop-down, plus the inevitable, slightly longer (7.41m) single bed and island bed floorplans. All are built on a 3,500kg chassis as standard, with upgrades available.
Of course, adopting the same base vehicle as the popular Lyseo TD begs the question as to where the Delfin fits into Bürstner’s portfolio.
The answer is that the newcomer is a more affordable alternative, saving £8,000 when comparing this Delfin T 736 with its Lyseo equivalent. The standard Delfin is not offered here; we only get it in Harmony Line form, but prices still start at under £60k.
Key advantages of the more expensive Harmony Line are the Thermo-Floor double floor, its UK-style cooker and twin garage doors.
Watch the MMM video review of the Bürstner Delfin T 736 Harmony Line here:
Predictably, the Delfin gets an enhanced spec in right-hand drive form, although it stops short of including an awning, reversing camera or solar panel, all of which are fitted to the Lyseo TD (as well as some rivals).
If you want an automatic Delfin, remember to budget an extra £3,080.
On the outside, the silver metallic cab, 16in alloy wheels and flush-fitting, aluminium-framed habitation windows ensure that this Bürstner has a suitably upmarket appearance, with the colour scheme being the defining feature.
The most practical aspect, though, is the Premium XL entry door which is not only extra-wide, but linked to the remote central locking and fitted with a large window, bin and flyscreen. There’s no need for an external step, here, either, so entry and exit of this motorhome is delightfully easy.
The Fiat cab may be getting on in years, but this one comes with all the bits that you wouldn’t want to be without – air-conditioning, cruise control, twin airbags, leather steering wheel and height adjustment for both seats.
The chairs also have double armrests and are attractively trimmed with the dolphin logo stitched into the backrests, although how practical that light-coloured upholstery will be, only time will tell.
You can read more Bürstner motorhome reviews from the pages of MMM magazine when you sign up for our digital content archive. You can look up articles from the magazine dating all the way back to 2012, simply by typing whatever you're looking for into the search bar below. Try 'Bürstner' to start off with:
A Security Pack is offered, including the latest tech (such as lane departure warning and auto-dimming headlights), as is an Eco Pack (stop/start and an upgraded alternator).
Our test motorhome, supplied by Camper UK, featured the Pioneer multimedia unit with 8in touchscreen, reversing camera, DAB radio and sat-nav – a must-have at £1,170.
It also came with the 140bhp – 20 horses up on the standard spec, this seems a good choice at a modest £700 extra.
Admittedly we were very lightly laden on our test route and hills are few and far between in Lincolnshire, but the Delfin seemed to perform as well as most customers will hope. Just as importantly, the relative absence of noises from the living area bodes well for the build quality.
The first thing that strikes you when you enter this new Bürstner is the feeling of space.
That’s partly down to the pale colouring of the Riva Loft cabinetwork and the open feeling of the side settee lounge, which is certainly enhanced by the impressive standing height of over 2.10m in the forward part of the living area.
Of course, there’s a fairly large overcab sunroof, too, while the lack of a drop-down bed here allows a further, small roof vent over the table and enables that lofty headroom.
Both a larger over-lounge rooflight (£400) and an electric drop-down double bed (£1,580) are offered as options. A berth made from the seats is also available (at £340), but our test vehicle was a standard two-berth.
Although sleeping just a couple in its rear island bed, the T 736 still comes with four travel seats. You’ll need to remove most of the settee cushions (and probably stack them in the bedroom), before adding the steel-framed back supports and backrest cushions from the garage to create a pair of forward-facing travel seats.
These are quite short in the squab, but have decent legroom and, for once, you’ll not require a degree in Tetris to perform the conversion. A further plus is the sliding window on the offside, which can be opened for ventilation while travelling.
Tempted to subscribe to MMM magazine? We're not surprised – it's the best way to enjoy your magazine each and every month. Here's why...
Most of the time we’d expect that the T 736 will just be a motorhome for a couple, in which case it’s not hard to see the appeal of this side sofa style of lounge.
Certainly, this dolphin is swimming with the tide of fashion in its adoption. It’s execution here, though, is a slightly mixed bag. The large table impresses with the fact that it can easily be reached by all five/six seats and that it feels sturdy enough to perform a samba on. It’s also nicely unobtrusive when folded in half.
We also liked the fact that the cab chairs can turn through a full 180 degrees for full feet-up viewing of the television (which will go on a bracket by the entrance).
Not so good, especially if you’re not lanky of limb, is the height of the sofas off the floor (around 570mm), which seems more suited to formal dining than reclining with a good book.
Artificial lighting is pretty generous, with spotlamps in the ceiling and under the top lockers, as well as an ambient strip in the overcab, but there are no reading lights in the cab.
One unusual feature that I really liked, though, was the Roman-style blinds (fitted in addition to the usual cassette blinds). Remis cab blinds are fitted as standard, too.
As essential in today’s motorhome as a face-to-face lounge, at least if it’s a German model, seems to be a holder for your coffee pods, although the Delfin stops short of including any bespoke storage for the espresso maker itself.
The T 736 layout (and the single bed T 727 G, which appears to only differ in its bedroom configuration) also adopts the now expected arrangement of an L-shaped galley turned to maximise the open-plan nature of the layout.
It’s a pretty compact galley here, with no way of extending the meal preparation space, except by leaving either the hob or sink covered. A small clear plastic shelf rests over the sink and is just big enough for a couple of mugs.
There are two mains sockets at the end of the unit, but their location suggests use only when the cooker is not required at the same time.
Beneath is a large shelved cupboard with a kitchen roll holder on the inside of its door. Then, alongside, is the only drawer, with soft-closing and a cutlery holder.
The galley is completed by a very small oven (no grill) at floor level. Arguably, this will be safer to use than one mounted high above a fridge/freezer but, if you like to eat pizza, avoid the large diameter ones!
Conversely, the fridge is huge – all 142 litres of it in tall/slim fashion on the opposite side of the vehicle.
Of course, it has automatic energy selection, too.
You step down 120mm from the cab to the lounge, then up 200mm from there into the bedroom and its en suite. Again, there are few surprises in terms of the arrangements, with a shower cubicle on the offside and a toilet room opposite. In the usual fashion, the toilet door closes off the back of the motorhome when fully opened while, in the Delfin, there’s also a second (sliding) division to make the en suite private from the bedroom.
The shower cubicle is a decent size and has a shelf for shampoo, etc, while the step in the tray is fairly inconsequential as it’s towards the back of the space, out of the way. More importantly, there are twin drains of domestic size, sited diagonally opposite each other. A roof vent and drying rail are fitted, too.
Opposite, the swivel cassette toilet is mounted on a slight plinth but this isn’t really noticeable. There’s adequate legroom and good shoulder space sat here, too, even when the door is closed.
A second roof vent is fitted and the toilet room has good storage, as well as a useful worktop alongside the basin; there’s even a three-pin socket for a hair dryer; although, if you do use this, be cautious of using an electrical appliance close to the basin.
Beyond the en suite, the format is (once more) typical of this breed of motorhome. The island bed is rounded at the foot to allow movement around the bed and there are his and hers wardrobes on either side of the mattress. The most distinctive feature is the use of large, picture windows on either side of the bedroom, each fitted with Vario Blinds in addition to cassette blinds, as in the lounge.
These allow you to relax in the morning with plenty of daylight whilst still retaining enough privacy.
There’s plenty of headroom to sit up in bed and the padded leatherette headboard (complete with dolphin) ensures extra comfort. A pair of individually switched reading lights is incorporated into the underside of the cupboards, while a pair of USBs is fitted by the offside bedside table.
The bed itself seemed especially comfy. It is of average width, while length is either 1.80m or 1.90m, depending on whether the filler cushion at the head of the mattress is deployed, or not.
Even when extended, there’s just enough room to shuffle around the foot of the bed while, unusually, there’s a step at the side of the mattress only on the nearside. A second TV bracket (and associated sockets) is also fitted on this side.
At the foot of the bed, a trapdoor in the floor reveals space for a few pairs of shoes, while there’s also a shallow storage area under the end of the mattress. Access is also provided here for maintenance of the inboard 125-litre fresh water tank.
The 90-litre waste water tank is underneath the motorhome, while an optional Winter Pack (£1,530) can add heating and insulation to the tank, as well as electric underfloor heating and heated cab seats.
The main storage under the bed is reached solely from the offside (a second door is priced at £450). This isn’t a true garage, unless you opt for the height adjustment option (£1,230).
As standard, the locker’s internal height is 850mm, but this is still a generous space for outdoor chairs, barbecue, folding bikes, etc. There’s heating, a small light, tie-downs and a 230V socket, too, while the payload of 388kg (as tested) makes this a viable 3.5-tonne motorhome for a couple.