The renowned German manufacturer has sailed some rough seas of late, with economic conditions forcing job and cost cuts, and accusations of a dip in quality from fans of the brand on the various forums. But last year saw the re-launch of the excellent B-Class range, and this year the company is ramping up production.
When the B-Class range of luxury A-class ’vans were re-launched last year, it came exclusively on the Fiat Ducato base. The distinctive high-fronted habitation moulding had yet to be ported for use with the Mercedes Sprinter, which is Hymer’s other base vehicle mainstay. This year, the B-Class debuts on the Sprinter, in the form of the B-Class StarLine.
Hymer also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, which it is commemorating with a special line of models, the T-Class Premium 50 and Hymer also recently launched its revamped compact Exsis-I A-class range at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon.
In addition to these newcomers, there’s been a trimming of models and consolidation across Hymer’s line-up, with the C-Class range of coachbuilts being axed. The compact Hymer Car 302 camper has been dropped, too, as have the B-Class Bestline range, the B-Class XL range of Iveco-based heavy A-classes and the flagship Liner range, previously built by Niesmann + Bischoff.
What you need to know
Hymer has resurrected its famed StarLine badge for the new Mercedes-based B-Class ’vans. With the StarLine, the B-Class comes for the first time with the option of Hymer’s in-house double-floor chassis design.
There are six models in the range, four of which have double floors. The larger models come on the tag-axle Sprinter 516 chassis, with an MTPLM of 5000kg, while the smaller models come on the 4200kg Sprinter 316 chassis. All models come with 163bhp engines as standard, but can be upgraded to 190bhp units, and can also be equipped with automatic transmissions.
Hymer has extensively road-tested the StarLine prior to launch in collaboration with Mercedes. Specification levels are high, and include cruise control, Bi-Xenon headlights, twin garage doors on garage bed models, illuminated cab entry, electric cab windows and more.
The T-Class Premium 50 range has four models, all of which have unique interior and exterior finishes. Kit levels are high, too, with cruise control, twin airbags, heated mirrors and a 160-litre fridge as standard.
Must-see new ’van: B-Class Starline 690
At almost eight metres in length, with a plush rear island bed, the StarLine 690 is probably the ultimate B-Class. The rear bed area, with its split washroom design, is fabulously comfortable, while the Mercedes base offers great refinement and a torque converter automatic option.