The Bailey motorhomes portfolio goes forward for the 2017 season with one major change – for now.
In keeping with the manufacturer’s two-year update cycles, it is the turn of the flagship Autograph line-up for an update – and with an all-new range of six layouts, there’s plenty to get stuck into.
Bailey is making life easier for motorcaravanners going forward with a revised naming convention. Its new motorhomes, which will be launched in September, have dropped the ‘Approach’ moniker. Of the digits that follow the name, the first two refer to body length, the next to the number of travel seats.
The Autograph range is therefore new for 2017, logically succeeding the best-selling Approach Autograph, and took 18 months to develop. There are six models, a quartet of four-berth ’vans with sub-3500kg MTPLMs, plus two heavier six-berth models.
A revised Advance portfolio will be revealed next year, to replace the existing Approach Advance entry-level line-up.
Let’s take a look at the brand-new Autograph ’vans. Starting with the four-berth models, the Bailey Autograph 75-2 has a French bed in the rear nearside corner, a washroom in the offside corner and a parallel lounge at the front, which converts into a double. The 75-4 is the same, but opts for a half dinette up front with a pair of forward-facing travel seats on the offside.
The sole island bed model in the range is the Autograph 79-4. The in-line island bed is at the rear, flanked by wardrobes. There’s also an offside washroom and a nearside kitchen in the centre of the ’van, as well as a lounge with two forward-facing travel seats and two further individual seats which can make up into a second double. Its sister model is the 79-4 T which is the same, but has twin fixed singles at the rear, with a wardrobe at the foot of each.
Both the six-berth 2017-season Bailey motorhomes have a front lounge, and an offside washroom and a nearside kitchen in the middle of the ’van. They differ at the rear where the 79-6 has a U-shaped lounge and the 79-6 G has a fixed transverse double bed.
On the outside
All new Bailey Autograph models sit on Al-Ko’s AMC chassis, which has an ultra-low profile and a wide track, for improved handling and braking performance, and use the new Peugeot Boxer cab. They’re powered by Peugeot’s new Euro 6-compliant, 160bhp, 2.0-litre, direct injection engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. These ’vans are sold new with a three-year/100,000-mile warranty and Peugeot Assist Cover for 12 months.
Of course, all new Bailey motorhomes benefit from the marque’s Alu-Tech bodyshell construction, which boasts Grade III classification for heating and thermal insulation.
Gone are the black cabs of the previous generation models. A ‘Bianco’ white cab with colour coded bumpers and door handles and a ‘Polar white’ bodyshell, plus new exterior graphics, a new rear bumper with LED lights, revised wheelarches and side skirts, and a new Fiamma wind-out awning mark out the new Autograph ’vans from the outside. You could further distinguish yours by selecting the optional 15in graphite alloy wheels.
In the cab, twin cupholders, ESP and a cab battery isolation switch are also new, as are fully-adjustable upholstered driver and passenger seats with twin armrests and integrated headrests. These join other already-standard desirable features which include DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, cab air-con, two 12V sockets, anti-lock brakes, variable power steering, electric cab windows and heated wing mirrors with direction indicators, and remote central locking for both the cab and the habitation doors.
The Dometic slimline, flush-fit habitation door has a window and a high-security lock. Also of note are the new, sleeker-looking double-glazed windows and the double-glazed, opening ‘sky view’ over the cab window, as well as the kitchen window’s splashproof roller blinds.
The new centrally-mounted exterior gas locker compartment features a flush-fit double seal exterior locker door with heavy-duty handles, two compression locks and a retaining clip – impressive, as that’s the kind of feature you’d expect to see on an upmarket German ’van. A very welcome addition to the Autograph’s standard kit list is an exterior gas barbecue point, to accompany the existing exterior 230V power inlet.
The new Autograph collection of Bailey motorhomes also showcases a raft of updates inside, with new trims, finishes and fabrics. In fact, there are far too many to go into in detail here, but here are some of the highlights.
The furniture finish is known as ‘Mendip Ash’, and a brushed steel finish is used for the fixtures and fittings. In the living area, these are teamed with redesigned, high-gloss, dual-finish overhead locker doors. Those ‘Aero Style’ overhead lockers are high quality units made by Tecnoform of Italy and have split-level storage, domestic-style metal hinges and push-open locker doors which rise on gas struts, while structural locker dividers give a good load-bearing ability.
When it comes to soft furnishings, buyers of the latest Bailey Autograph motorhomes will have a choice of ‘Berkeley’ or ‘Grosvenor’ for the pair of scatter cushions, coordinating decorative window panels and Roman window blinds – or you can upgrade to leather upholstery. And it’s claimed you’ll be more comfortable than ever, thanks to the new ‘DreamSleep’ domestic-style seat base cushions and backrests in the lounge.
A new ‘Basalt stone’ finish is used for the worktops in the kitchen, while the drawers in this area have a satin finish, a soft-close function and push-button handles. Kit in the kitchen includes a new Thetford Duplex combined oven and grill, and a dual-fuel hob with three gas burners and an electric hotplate, as well as a 800W microwave.
The same ‘Basalt stone’ finish from the kitchen is used for the washroom worktops and the locker doors here have a satin finish. Showers use an Ecocamel shower head, the cubicles are trimmed in ‘Granite stone’ and have a concertina partition door, plus there’s a retractable clothes line.
Come bedtime, you’ll be able to feel the other benefit of Bailey’s new ‘DreamSleep’ lounge cushions which, we’re told, make it easier to make-up the bed. The breathable, anti-bacterial ‘DreamSleep’ mattress is also new. And once your bed is made, you could snuggle up beneath bedding designed to coordinate with your ’van’s soft furnishings, if you select that (model-dependent) option.
The electrical control panel interface including a USB socket and a key storage pocket has been revised.
Finally, there are two factory-fitted options packs of interest. There’s a Media Pack which brings a Waeco reversing camera and screen, a Status 550 telescopic directional digital TV aerial plus a 19in Avtex digital TV positioned in the front lounge. Or there’s the Media Pack Plus which boasts not only the items listed above, but also a 6.5in touchscreen head unit, a second digital TV (24in or 32in, depending on the ’van, mounted in the rear bedroom), 300W door and lounge speakers with a remote-controlled under-seat sub-woofer, as well as a portable Bluetooth awning speaker.
Again, Bailey has introduced an extensive number of updates, but here are the most salient points.
Autograph ’vans will be fitted with a new 100W Truma solar panel, a 110Ah Banner leisure battery, an underfloor storage locker for two leisure batteries and a new electrical control panel with push-button operation for all the motorhome’s services.
Gadget fans will be pleased to learn that up to three USB sockets will be fitted, while additional ambient over locker lighting and low level task lighting should give the interior a refined feel.
You’ll be able to keep cosy in the winter thanks to the new Alde radiator heating system and water heater, controlled by a touchscreen, while the 100-litre external insulated fresh water tank should ensure you’re warm, whatever the elements chuck at you.
Quick look: 2017 Bailey Autograph 75-2 and 79-4
We had an opportunity to take a look around two new motorhomes from this British brand. The new Bailey Autograph 75-2 features a parallel-lounge rear-French-bed corner-washroom layout, based on the 740, which is the current range’s best-seller. It sleeps four, has two travel seats, measures 7.5m long and its MTPLM is 3500kg.
We also checked out the new Autograph 79-4, which has four berths, four travel seats and an MTPLM of 3500kg.
Outside, both these ’vans have distinctive new back panels that are very Continental in appearance – with the new skirts and wheelarch surrounds, it’s a great ensemble. The aesthetics are enhanced further by the more aerodynamically efficient, new-style, double-glazed windows.
The phrase ‘Aero Style’ overhead lockers sounds perhaps a little overblown, but these and those new extra-comfy sofa cushions help give the lounges a great sense of space and width.
The Roman window blinds make an elegant addition to the lounges – they also help give the lounges a distinct identity, just as the fully-lined curtains do in the bedrooms.
Full reviews of both these motorhomes will follow soon!
The new Bailey Autograph range at a glance
- Bailey Autograph 75-2 – four-berth, French bed, parallel front lounge
- Bailey Autograph 75-4 – four-berth, French bed, front half-dinette
- Bailey Autograph 79-4 – four-berth, island bed
- Bailey Autograph 79-4 T – four-berth, in-line fixed twin singles at the rear
- Bailey Autograph 79-6 – six-berth, rear U-shaped lounge
- Bailey Autograph 79-6 G – six-berth, rear fixed transverse double bed
Gone are the black cabs of the previous generation models