The drop-down island bed in this new Burstner motorhome provides better length and easier access than in most low-profile rivals. The rest of the layout is a bit quirky and works really well.
Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 530kg
In the cab of this great new Busrtner motorhome there are swivelling cab seats followed by a pair inward-facing short sofas, served by a large adjustable table. That sounds pretty bog standard, but what’s different is the travel seat arrangement. Aft of the table, and mounted slightly to the nearside centre of the lounge, are a pair of top-notch Aguti captain’s chair-backs with built-in three-point seatbelts.
Capacity? Well, ‘short sofas’ is a bit of an exaggeration as the inward-facing pews are more like generous chairs for one. Even so, there’s still plenty of room for six people and, in line with typical continental design, the table dominates, providing an excellent eating surface. Want to watch telly? You can, as there’s a bracket provided, but it’s fixed to the wall high up on the offside and it didn’t adjust or descend.
Thanks to the presence of the rooflight-blocking bed above, natural illumination can be scarce, and the overcab sunroof is also partially covered when the bed is stowed. Artificial lighting is good, though, and there’s a big, bright, multi-element lamp in the middle of the bed base/ceiling. Stalk-type reading lamps in the cab and an ambient strip above the high-level shelf on the nearside all add up to pretty good illumination.
The 640 sits on the typical Fiat Ducato base. The result is a motorhome that’s lower than it might be, with good, stable handling on the road. At over half-a-tonne, payload is pretty good, too, but if you want more there are optional upgrades to 3,850kg and 4,250kg maximum weight that give a generous 800kg and a huge 1,280kg allowance, respectively.
This continental motorhome kitchen is bijou, but it is unusual because it’s mounted crosswise. One advantage is that there’s a good amount of floorspace and the cook is tucked away out of the aisle when whipping up roast pheasant with all the trimmings. And that menu is possible, as an oven/grill sits at low-level and is easy to use. Above, the hob has its burners in a line, so all pans will be easy to get at. The work surface is executed in table-matching gloss black with sparkly bits and the sink is a good-looking shiny stainless-steel item that is not too deep. In spite of its storage shortcomings, I liked this kitchen because of the amount of floorspace and the fact that you’re out of the way on one side and not stuck in a narrow aisle.
The washroom is spacious and well equipped. That feeling of space, those big mirrors and great lighting all conspire to create a room that would suit me at home, let alone in a ’van. Design detailing is excellent: the roomy D-shaped basin is set into a useful amount of countertop and one’s face is well lit by vertical strip lights set between the three mirrors. Storage offers a wealth of shelves, a couple of troughs, a cupboard below and a locker above. The separate shower is roomy and fitted with rigid doors, good lighting, a heat outlet, shelves and a steam-venting rooflight.
Bedtime sees the table lowered, side seat backrests removed and the travel seats reclined before the bed can be deployed. All is easy, apart from seat reclining – the knob that releases the seatback proved eye-wateringly stiff. Neatly flush-mounted into the ceiling, the bed descends at the touch of a key switch-controlled button and is suspended by the type of seatbelt straps seen on many over-lounge drop-down beds. There’s a transverse join towards the head that allows it to fold and meet the inside of the sloping overcab area. As the bed comes down, it flattens and a pram hood-style section unfurls to provide a retainer to stop pillows falling onto the floor.
The cab is served by a pair of flexible stalk lamps and these sit at the head of the bed too, although they are maybe a little low for comfortable reading. And that must be done lying down or sitting bolt upright as there’s nothing to lean on. Flaps fold down at the foot and offside of the bed to help create steps to make access easier. The big advantage here is that easy access: the step at the foot allows either sleeper to slide in or out of bed and, although space at the sides is quite narrow, it should be perfectly possible for most folks to get in and out with reasonable ease and without disturbing their sleeping partner. Good access is matched by good length – two metres. The Ixeo also benefits from a very comfy cold foam mattress.
There’s a dearth of overhead lockers in the 640’s lounge but this is a good thing, because fixing them under the bed base, as some manufacturers do, limits the bed’s travel down to a convenient height. The storage star is a tall, externally accessed locker with plenty of room for anything aside from full-sized bikes. There’s a big wardrobe, too. The control panel proved easy to use, while looking charmingly retro. The fresh water tank, its filler, drains and mains input are all neatly tucked away in an external ‘service box’ locker.
If you enjoyed this review, you can read the full version and more in the March 2017 issue of MMM magazine.