The ride

Our vehicle of choice is a fairly unique blend of worlds. It consists of a somewhat standard European RV, which has been outfitted with a decidedly non-standard 4×4 drive train.

As base vehicle we are using a Hymer MLi 540. It’s built on a Mercedes Sprinter, sporting a 143 bhp diesel engine with 7 gear automic transmission. Below is the blueprint of the interior and here is a nice 360 degree view of the inside.

Hymermobil ML-I 540

The MLi 540 is the shortest version (there is a 580 and a 630 as well), coming in at 6.4m length (that is pretty much exactly 21 feet, for the imperial crowd). This gives it a nice, tidy turning circle and makes it usable in most city environments. Overhang in the back is also manageable. Adding a bike rack at the back added about half a meter in total length.

The custom 4×4 system is done by Iglhaut, who partner with Mercedes and VW on these things. Modifications include a 12cm uplift (good for departure angle and general ground clearance), heavy underbody protection, permanent all wheel drive, low range and a central diff lock. All-in-all, the stability of the cabin is probably the limiting factor in offroading capabilities.

The max weight has been upgraded to 4.2t from the usual 3.5t limit, which is very helpful for loading anything into the car. Upgraded springs give a nice 2.5t max load for the back axle, so we don’t have to worry too much about putting things into the back.

Overall, the camper is no match for a “real” offroader, but it adds enough punch to enable us to go pretty much anywhere in Europe. Our first destination is Iceland and we are putting the vehicle to a proper test there. For some pictures, check the 4×4 photo album.