Bailey's top-notch Autograph range has been given a complete overhaul for the 2020 season; we got an exclusive sneak peek inside the luxurious two-berth.
It doesn't seem like that long ago when Bailey increased its tally of motorhome ranges from two to three, with the introduction of the Alliance.
Those three line-ups seemed to offer the would-be Bailey customer a huge variety of spec levels and layout, within a relatively narrow price bracket of £45,000 to £60,000.
Now the firm has given its top-notch Autograph a complete refresh - and added a couple of layouts to bring the tally to eight.
Just before the official launch, we were given a sneak prototype peek of three of the new models, including the 69-2. This shares the same rear-lounge layout as the old 68-2, only nearly 20cm longer, increasing the possibility that you might be able to get away with having two single beds, without having to make a double.
But that's not the only improvement you'll find in this roomy two-berth.
The GRP-skinned sidewalls are slate grey, and the decals decorating them take up much of the front part of those sidewalls, but then taper off as they float upwards - rather like they do on the Alicanto caravans that Bailey has brought out at the same time. It's a much more 'involved' look, which makes these vehicles appear less like your average shiny white metal box.
The extra length on this motorhome also means there is room for a small garage right at the back, with doors on each side.
Elsewhere on the outside, you'll find a gas barbecue point and external mains socket, both located where you would need them, near the door where the awning would be.
The cassette toilet access hatch and main hook-up point, meanwhile, are out of the way, over on the offside.
On the road
On many Continental models, where the cabs have been switched for the UK market, there often isn't a huge amount of space for the driver to move the cab seat back. However, on the Autograph, the space is fine.
We didn't get the chance to drive our prototype 'van very far, but the rear-lounge floorplan and lack of any obstructions from partitions, or anything in between, means you get a clear view through the back window.
In any case, one of the additions that comes as standard in the new Autograph is a reversing camera (reversing, not rear-view: it only comes on when you engage reverse gear). So you have that for added reassurance.
The cab seats are now fully upholstered, and another new feature is the flexible spotlight fitted above each of them, complete with a USB socket and a storage pocket nearby. Perfect if you need to check your road atlas or a mobile phone.
Lounging & dining
There is a cubbyhole for fobs and mobiles above the door, and it also has a double USB socket for charging.
The base cushions in the rear lounge now sit on sprung slats, which certainly makes them more comfy.
The standard scheme, known as Farringdon, is fairly neutral, although a more blue-grey alternative, Portobello, is a cost-option. There's no leather alternative, although you do get a bit of artificial leather along the edges of the cushions, which helps to define them.
In each rear corner, these new Autographs come with the same unclippable 'headrests' that you get in the Alicanto caravans. But you would really have to be a very small adult or a child to rest your head on these protrusions. And if you are bigger and managed to get your head down onto them, the relatively low height of the overhead lockers means you would need to be careful getting up again.
This is a well-lit lounge in the daytime, with a large rooflight and big windows. There is no central LED light at night - there isn't one anywhere along the central corridor at all, in fact.
Although there is ambient lighting coming out from behind the lockers, our prototype had no spotlights, either. This meant that, even on a slightly overcast summer afternoon, it felt a touch dark. We are told, however, that production models will feature four downlighters in the lounge, including two at the back with single USB sockets in them, and those handy storage pockets nearby. On our prototype model, these were in the wall, instead.
That does mean this two -berth motorhome will be unusually well equipped with USB sockets, with four (two-double sockets) in the cab, that double socket above the door, and the two here.
Two speakers in the corner should add to your listening pleasure. There is a TV socket station above a small shelving unit on the offside, and a mains socket in the base of the offside settee.
There is no front dinette that turns into a bed in this 'van, so you don't have a particularly sophisticated foldaway table. The tables in the larger new Autographs feel more robust. It does have a dedicated storage space behind the driver's seat - the door to reach it is, in fact, partly obstructed if you move the driver's seat back.
We thought it looked on the small side in this lounge. If there are only two of you, you could sit side by side, but if you were entertaining (and bear in mind you could seat at least six in here) it could be a bit of a stretch to reach the table.
The beauty of a spacious two-berth design like this, however, is that you get a second lounge of sorts up front. If you swivel the cab seats around, there is a shelf near each seat to rest a mug or glass on (between the wardrobe and the drawers on the nearside, and above the table storage on the offside), and you can make full use of the spotlights.
The new sink has been redesigned to hide its fixings more effectively, and there is a large - perhaps too large - splashback between the dual-fuel four-burner hob on the left and the lounge.
That hob comes with the wooden cover that is now standard on all Bailey motorhomes and caravans, except the entry-level Discovery caravans.
The two drawers under the sink are not as large as they might look from the outside, although the locker beneath them is ample. There is a smaller locker under the separate oven and grill beneath the hob.
Up above the two cupboards - one shelved - next to a microwave with a small shelf above it that would be a good spice rack (for taller people).
Across the way, there is a 134-litre tower fridge (but you only get the two-way opening Series 10 version on larger Autographs), with lockers above and below.
If you want to make up the double, the slats pull out from the middle, although because of the space, they are more than usually wide, which in our experience increases the chances of them coming adrift.
Because of the external garage underneath here, the slats on our prototype model slid into a slot immediately under the base cushion, not a cavity. Anyone sitting down and moving about on this central cushion could nudge them around.
We would like to have seen platforms here: given that there's not a great deal of space in the underseat areas, you wouldn't be sacrificing much by having them.
Again because of the space, the double bed mattress has to be made up with an extra infill cushion. Fortunately this can be stored in the underseat area on the nearside, where it is easily accessible through the hatch.
The basin is conventional, not salad-bowl style (once again, a new trend the Autograph shares with the Alicanto) and has a swan-neck tap. Three rather attractive lit shelves are stacked on top of one another in the corner, next to a large mirror.
To the other side of that, above the toilet, there is a cupboard with three lit shelves and a toothmug. All in all, it really is set up nicely, so it seems a pity there is no mains socket near here for a hairdryer. You could admittedly stand by the large mirror outside the washroom, and use one of the kitchen's sockets.
There are two hooks for robes and towels opposite the toilet. The shower beyond this has a low entry height for taller people. But it does, impressively, have two drainage holes, an LED light and a small pull-down rail for drying wet clothes, although there is no second rooflight or vent in here.
The external garage might have a door at both ends, but it isn't large enough even for folding bikes, although it would do perfectly for outdoor furniture, parasols and skis.
You do get internal access to the nearside underseat area, but the wheel arch takes up some of the space in here.
There is even less space on the offside, thanks to the Alde heater. The slats on both of them lift up and stay up, but they are heavy to lift, because the base cushions are not split.
There is a small set of shelves on the washroom wall next to the offisde settee, but they are too small for books and DVDs.
At least the overhead lockers are large, with open shelving between them.
Up front, the wardrobe is only half-height, and as with the kitchen drawers, the drawers underneath look impressive on the outside, but open out to be only moderately sized.
Outside, you get a Thule Omnistor awning fitted as standard, too.
As the baby of the family, the 69-2 misses out on some features that are included in larger models, such as a more robust table and the two-way opening fridge.
|Fresh/waste water||93.5L / 93.5L|
Dometic Fridge, 4-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill, Microwave
Separate shower cubicle
The new Autograph 69-2 makes a very comfortable and spacious motorhome for two of you to go travelling in.
It is particularly well designed if you are the kind of couple who can't live without a range of digital devices that need regular charging - you will have plenty of USB sockets to do that.
The table may be a little too small for major entertaining inside, but you will still have plenty of room to invite any new friends you make on your travels in for drinks.
Although there's a decent, 507kg payload, you might run out of storage space trying to use it all up. But that small niggle aside, the overhaul of the Aurograph does feel a success.
Our test team's notes
CLAUDIA DOWELL: "I was a fan of the last Autograph, so I'm really looking forward to spending time in the new version. Our previous Autograph had full leather upholstery, and the cream fabrics in here now look to be much more practical."
SARAH WAKELY: "It's the spacious lounge that really makes this layout, and this one is great: the sofas are supremely comfortable. If you want, you could also choose to leave the bed up during the day and park yourself on the cab chairs in the evening."
PETER BABER: "It's good to see that some Autograph models (including the 69-2) now feature a full-width garage. The one here isn't the tallest, but there's enough room to stash levelling ramps, umbrellas and so on."
- Plenty of room to stretch out
- Cushions very comfortable
- Excellent workspace in kitchen
- No socket for hairdryer in washroom
- Bed is fiddly to set up
- Moderate storage