I’ve tested many hundreds of motorhomes in my career but this new Hymer B-SL 708 stands out as one of the most impressive yet. You’ll probably spend at least £115k to get the right spec but this is Hymer doing what it does best. Just ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the desirable options that turn a very good ’van into a great one.
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Maxi Al-Ko Gross weight: 4,500kg Payload: 1,110kg
I’ve been writing about motorhomes for well over three decades and, for much of that period, the Hymer B-Class has been one of the most aspirational motorhomes money can buy. The SupremeLine is not the biggest (the B-PL range includes tag-axles) but it is the most prestigious. And the newest, having debuted at Düsseldorf last September.
This is a big motorhome, offered only with a 4,500kg gross weight, but it somehow hides that bulk well visually. What of the Super Light Chassis chassis, though, combined here with the top-spec 177bhp motor and Comfort-Matic gearbox? Well, our short drive, encompassing dual carriageway cruising and minor roads, showed the Hymer to be quiet (both in terms of subdued engine noise and unwanted sounds from the habitation area) and utterly stable.
Inside, the air of restrained elegance is applied to a layout that holds no surprises for anyone already considering a European island bed floorplan. The Napoli leather is one of six upholstery options and it extends to kick panels around the nearside L-shaped sofa.
You might prefer a more practical colour but the Napoli trim goes well with the white overhead lockers, while the table and worktops are in a stylish marble-effect. The only disappointment was that this example lacked the extra-cost circular, extendable table.
The kitchen offers a three-burners-in-line hob, although here the controls are stylishly mounted separately on the front of the galley. Then there’s a large sink with reversible cover, the underside revealing a chopping board. And six large drawers provide copious storage.
There’s no option here for a UK-style full cooker (as seen in some ML-I and Exsis models) so, if you want an oven/grill, you’d better be tall – it goes above the 160-litre fridge/freezer, some 1.55m above floor level.
So much of this B-SL impressed that I found myself searching harder and harder for faults, so I was oddly satisfied when I discovered a slightly flimsy concertina screen to provide privacy between the bedroom and bathroom.
That said, it is the toilet compartment door that does the usual trick of providing the more crucial closure between the en suite and the lounge. And the ablutions facilities themselves are very pleasing.
At over 2m long and more than 1.5m wide, the rear island bed is, again, very generously sized and, while it has radiused corners, these don’t rob you of too much mattress. Even better, the luxuriously thick mattress slides back electrically, raising the head of the bed as it goes. Now, there’s more dressing space at the foot of the bed, and you can sit up to read (although headroom might be tight if you’re tall).
There are reading lights each side, as well as useful recesses in the adjacent wardrobes into which you can place your night-time book, etc. On the offside there are 12V and 230V sockets and a double USB, too.
Then there’s the cab bed. We had to wrestle it down – just a matter of PDI adjustment, or you can pay extra for an electric version – but, once lowered, it’s another plush mattress, sitting on plastic Clima Plux springs.
A small rooflight provides ventilation and a single flexible-wand reading light is fitted at each end. Headroom is a generous 830mm, reducing slightly (but not enough to worry about) towards the windscreen. You won’t need a ladder as it’s an easy hop up from the offside lounge seat.
You’ll not want for storage in this B-SL 708. As well as the areas already mentioned, there are his and hers illuminated wardrobes in the bedroom, plus two extra-large drawers under the foot of the bed. There’s an ä
ideal home for footwear under the side seat, with a hatch right by the door, and even a little space is found under the L-settee (made possible because both water tanks and the boiler are housed in the double floor).
Of course, there’s loads more storage in that double floor, too, with exterior loading hatches on either side opening onto a full-width space that’s 360mm high. And the garage is huge, with its larger loading door on the offside and an internal height of at least 1.10m. The practical chequer-plate floor here is another option.
The practical touches continue with a gas compartment with slide-out shelf to make changing cylinders less awkward and twin leisure batteries buried in another double-floor compartment.
As well as the many options fitted here, there are others to consider. The Arctic Package with diesel heating to back-up the standard Combi 6, or with Alde ‘wet’ central heating, might be on your shopping list for ski trips, while other extras range from a fifth travel seat to a ceramic loo or a hidden safe. Then there’s a gas/induction hob or the usual awning, satellite dish, solar panel, inverter...