Nick Harding

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Indulge yourself with our Niesmann+Bischoff Arto 79F review and discover a true luxury motorhome that will effortlessly cocoon you all year round

Overview

Money no object? Or is reading about this ’van as close as you’re going to (or want to) get to such opulence?

OK, so Germany’s Niesmann+Bischoff wasn’t the only one who didn’t see Brexit coming: it produced its UK 2016 price lists in Euros. Very attractive they are, too – the Arto 79F starts at €84,782. But that’s ex-works, and doesn’t include VAT; then there’s a delivery charge of £2000, plus a similar amount for right-hand drive, which is par for the course. But it’s when you get to the options that the real fun starts.

ŠThe 79F was one of three new floorplans that Niesmann+Bischoff introduced to its Arto range for this season – essentially, it’s a single replacement for the now-dropped 76F and 83F – but key with this latest layout was keeping the overall vehicle length to just under 8m. That’s about where the compromise ends, but it does make it the longest single-axle model in the current line-up.

And this was one of two Arto 79Fs in the large showroom at Niesmann+Bischoff’s sole UK agent, Shropshire-based Travelworld – a retail set-up that also exclusively encompasses other Erwin Hymer Group products. The other is ‘just’ £129,833; but the concept here is a start point to which you can add extensive options.

Key is some of the pure engineering excellence that goes into any Niesmann+Bischoff motorhome. Underpinning the Arto 79F is Fiat’s Ducato cowl with Al-Ko’s low-frame chassis: that means a proper double-floor construction. Inside, meanwhile, there are plenty of floor hatches to access storage spaces, the electrics, water tanks and so on. And, of course, the insulation is geared towards use in the most extreme weathers.

Niesmann+Bischoff is a long-term advocate of maintaining the stiffest of bodyshells. That explains why potential structure-weakening holes cut for windows and doors are kept to a minimum – it also explains the smaller-than-the-norm habitation door. Likewise, cab doors barely feature on the extensive options list, although those side windows are double-glazed.

ŠThe Arto 79F’s cab itself has a familiar Fiat dashboard, with a padded steering wheel, automatic air-con, a Kenwood stereo, silver trim around the air vents and so on. Arguably, though, the star feature here is the pair of superb ISRI Ska captain-style seats, which offer all manner of adjustment. Again, it should be stressed that most of these highlights are from the options list.

Base vehicle upgrades include the three-litre engine at £3469, £1814 automatic transmission, £1168 alloy wheels and the £1840 Chassis Pack, which comprises automatic air-con, front-axle Comfort springs and cruise control.

It’s the ‘F’ in the Arto naming that denotes an island bed (there’s also the 79E and 79R, both with single beds). But there’s a more than adequate drop-down bed over the cab, too; although this will likely be relegated to second-bed status.

A solid door closes off the master bedroom and en suite facilities from the rest of the ’van. The bed itself is luxurious, complete with Froli springing under the super-comfy mattress.

Criticisms? The kitchen’s Dometic three-burner hob (not to mention its overfiddly glass lids) seems out of place here, more so because it’s surrounded by Corian-style worktop. The Dometic fridge and freezer and Siemens microwave – the latter a bit higher than some will appreciate – are more in keeping with the overall opulence.

If there’s any compromise, it’s possibly in the lounge area, which isn’t the biggest. There’s a neat extending pedestal leg table, though. Indeed, one of the key things about vehicles of this ilk is that everything works. There are no sticky catches, bodged fittings or similar; neither should there be, of course. The drawers are soft-close, on solid runners, and overhead lockers have shelving adjustment.

You’re going to have to do your own research regarding the contents of further options packs, but among the extras fitted here are the £2513 Liner Pack, the £1672 Comfort Pack 1, the £1142 Clou Line Design option, the £1773 Media Pack 2, a £1334 5.5m awning with LED lighting… the list goes on. Right down, in fact, to £408 for the smaller, second garage door. This Arto really does seem to have all options covered.

The fall in Sterling after June’s EU referendum vote has made goods priced in Euros more expensive for British buyers. Things may improve over the season, of course, but then buying a Niesmann+Bischoff motorhome is hardly going to be an impulse purchase.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM4500kg
Payload850kg
Length7.93m26′
Width2.32m7′7″
Height2.95m9′8″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water200L / 120L
Leisure battery95 Ah
Gas tank size11kg
Number of gas tank compartments2
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob

Verdict

This is unashamed luxury for anyone lucky enough to be able to afford it. Superb engineering underpins everything, and Niesmann+Bischoff has also added plenty of style in recent years. The long list of options means you can build your own dream machine, too.

Conclusion

Pros

  • This is a truly luxurious motorhome
  • It is suitable for year-round touring
  • It can be personalised – at a price!

Cons

  • The lounge isn't huge
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