Sarah Wakely
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Three years after its last makeover, Bailey's upmarket Autograph range receives a major revamp. Sarah Wakely gets an exclusive preview.

Since it first began building motorhomes less than a decade ago, Bailey of Bristol has become one of the UK's most prolific and popular manufacturers of coachbuilts. Over the years, it has refined, honed and grown its output to the three-range line-up it offers today: the Advance at entry-level, Alliance in the middle, and the Autograph, its most sophisticated and well-specified offering of all.

The Autograph name first saw service back in 2016, and since then, has received various tweaks and upgrades. But in typical Bailey fashion, its third birthday now heralds a major overhaul of the range: meet the all-new Bailey Autograph.

Expanded line-up

For 2019, Autograph was made up of six models, ranging from the baby of the family - the rear-lounge 68-2 - up to the six-berth, family-friendly 79-6. The good news for Bailey fans is that Autograph has been expanded to a total of eight models - all low-profile coachbuilts - offering everything from rear lounges to island beds, as well as French beds, single beds, and corner and end washrooms.

The revamp of the Autograph starts on the outside: the previous generation was white with silver and dark grey graphics, but the new version gets a completely different look.

The Peugeot Boxer cab is in Graphite colouring, with colour-coded bumpers and door handles; diamond-cut-style 16-inch alloy wheels also feature, as do daytime running lights. There are new side graphics, rear sequential indicators, a revamped cab profile and a new Thule Omnistor wind-out awning.

Inside, the cab seats are now fully adjustable, and have armrests as well as integrated headrests. And you get a Dometic reversing camera.

Under the bonnet is Peugeot's 2.0 Blue HDi 160bhp engine, paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. The Autograph now sits on Al-Ko's latest low-profile AMC chassis.

Luxury living

But, of course, the accommodation area is where you'll be spending most of your time, and it's here you'll notice the biggest changes.

Six of the layouts are similar to the previous range (although body lengths have changed slightly); there are two new floorplans, however, in the form of the 79-2F and the 79-4F. Both have a corner (French) bed and a full-width rear washroom; they vary in that the 79-2F features two belted seats, while the 79-4F has four.

Despite there still being some layouts that are familiar to buyers, the interior styling brings a whole new appearance to the fixtures and fittings and - in our opinion - makes the range look and feel more classy.

This includes the lighter-coloured Farringdon soft furnishings; the slightly darker Portobello scheme is a cost-option. Cadet Grey loose-fit carpets are fitted, and the new, dual-finish Cashmere gloss Italian-design overhead curved locker doors are a truly stylish touch.

The new lounges have domestic-style seating with sprung bases, and - in a nod to the styling of its top-end caravans - the corner seats in certain models get curved headrests. New 12V spotlights also make an appearance.

Cooking in style

Moving into the kitchens, there's a whole new set of equipment here for the chef to make use of. Fridges are either the Dometic 10 153-litre unit, which opens both ways, or a Dometic 134-litre tower fridge, depending on the model.

A Thetford Caprice oven/grill/hob also appears, as does a newly designed stainless steel sink.

One other smart addition here is the branded Perspex splashback - always useful when you're cooking.

The washrooms are now fitted with an inset handbasin (Bailey has decided to eschew the trend for salad-bowl-style basins in this instance). Hot water continues to be supplied by the Alde Hydronic Compact 3020 system, which also features radiator space heating.

Price guide

Prices for the new Autograph range had yet to be announced as we went to press; as a guide, the previous line-up retailed from £54,999 to £59,999.

You'll need a C1 category licence to drive all but the 69-2, 74-2 and the 74-4, though - the rest have an MTPLM of 3850kg or 4250kg (the 81-6).

New Bailey Autograph at a glance

  • Number of layouts: eight
  • Peugeot Boxer Euro 6 cab
  • 2.0-litre Blue HDi 160bhp engine
  • Six-speed manual gearbox
  • MTPLM from 3500kg to 4250kg
  • Payloads from 370kg to 780kg
  • Lengths from 6.97m to 8.12m
  • Prices still to be confirmed

Autograph 69-2

  • Berths: 2
  • Belted seats: 2
  • Length: 6.97m
  • MTPLM: 3500kg
  • Payload: 507kg

The baby of the range, at less than seven metres in length, the 69-2 also offers a roomy rear lounge and a good-sized washroom.

Despite its shorter dimensions, however, a touring couple could really stretch out and relax in here. 

Autograph 79-2F

  • Berths: 4
  • Belted seats: 2
  • Length: 7.93m
  • MTPLM: 3850kg
  • Payload: 780kg

A generous French corner bed makes up half of the sleeping arrangements in this four-berth model, with the other half being provided in the front lounge, where the seating is easy to make up into a second double bed.

It should be noted that there are only two belted seats, however.

Autograph 74-2

  • Berths: 4
  • Belted seats: 2
  • Length: 7.37m
  • MTPLM: 3500kg
  • Payload: 370kg

Sister model to the 74-4, the 74-2 provides, as its name suggests, two belted seats, rather than the four that you get in its sibling.

Otherwise, the french-bed, corner-washroom layout here is the same as you'll find in the 74-4 floorplan.

Autograph 74-4

  • Berths: 4
  • Belted seats: 4
  • Lengt: 7.37m
  • MTPLM: 3500kg
  • Payload: 445kg

The 74-4 is one of four Autograph models featuring a French corner bed, and one of two that also has a corner washroom.

That type of washroom can sometimes feel a little cramped, but that's not the case here: we felt that there was plenty of space to move about, and you'll also benefit from the practicality of a separate shower cubicle. At the foot of the fixed bed is a wardrobe, and the kitchen sits across the corridor.

This model is a four-berth, and - unlike in its 74-2 sibling - up front you'll find four belted seats. The lounge is cleverly designed to allow you to fill in the gap in front of the travel seats, to create extra space for relaxing in. A double bed can also be made up from the front sofas, using a pair of tables as a base.

Autograph 79-4I

  • Berths: 4
  • Belted seats: 4
  • Length: 7.93m
  • MTPLM: 3850kg
  • Payload: 617kg

The only Autograph model to feature an island bed sleeps (and travels) four people, but we reckon many couples will enjoy using this as a luxury retreat for two.

The island bed can be pushed back during the day, to make it easier to access either side, and storage is great - we loved the drawers in the base of the bed, and the pair of wardrobes on the back wall, either side of the bed.

Up front, there's a very cleverly designed lounge with two belted seats - when you don't need them, an additional seat can be set up to increase the amount of lounge space you have available.

The washroom is a good size, and has a separate shower cubicle; the kitchen is also roomy.

Autograph 79-4F

  • Berths: 4
  • Belted seats: 4
  • Length: 7.93m
  • MTPLM: 3850kg
  • Payload: 720kg

If you'd prefer an additional two belted seats in the 79-2F, this could be the motorhome for you - it has the same rear-washroom, French-bed floorplan, but gets the added benefit of an additional pair of belts up front. The full-width washroom in this floorplan feels really spacious.

Autograph 79-4T

  • Berths: 4
  • Belted seats: 4
  • Length: 7.93m
  • MTPLM: 3850kg
  • Payload: 574kg

Couples who like the convenience of fixed single beds will have the 79-4T at the top of their wishlist.

As well as that practical sleeping configuration, this floorplan also provides a spacious lounge with an additional pair of belted seats, so two more occupants can be carried in safety.

Autograph 81-6

  • Berths: 6
  • Belted seats: 6
  • Length: 8.12m
  • MTPLM: 4250kg
  • Payload: TBC

The largest model in the range is the 81-6, and, as you'd expect, it's also the model with the largest number of berths (six).

A double bed can be made up from the U-shaped rear lounge, and from the double dinette up front; a drop-down bed has also been fitted.

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