BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Mercedes-Benz builds a glamper van

About the author

Ken is a freelance writer and editor who resides in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Ken has more than 25 years of editorial and communications experience.

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo. (Daimler)

If Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was reimagined for road trips, the elegant new Marco Polo – Mercedes-Benz’s latest take on the luxury camper van – just might sit atop the psychologists’ famous pyramid.

Designed by Westfalia-Werke, renowned for its classic “pop-top” Volkswagen van-conversion packages, the Marco Polo relentlessly eliminates “roughing it” from the  camping lexicon. Based on the sleek new V-Class design, which was unveiled earlier this year and effectively replaces the Viano and Vito vans, the stylish Marco Polo sleeps four people, courtesy of a two-seat rear bench that morphs into a single or double bed in seconds, and an upper berth that nests beneath an electric-powered pop-up roof.

The Marco Polo might transform even a trip along the arduous Silk Road into a pleasure excursion, thanks to amenities such as a kitchenette with two gas burners, a sink, a 10½-gallon refrigerator, a 10-gallon fresh-water tank, a 10½-gallon waste tank, a large wardrobe and a fold-away tabletop. There’s even a swing-out, illuminated mirror.

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo. (Daimler)

Refined aesthetics come along for the ride, too, with porcelain-colored furniture, roof and walls that create an aura of spaciousness; a replicated yacht-decking floor; ambient LED lighting; and piano-black lacquered trim. And to sate the need for speed, chose from several turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engines that top out at 190 horsepower. Can an AMG version be far behind?

Set to debut this month at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Marco Polo is nimble, too, with a turning radius of just under 39 feet, comparable to many luxury cars. Whether on the road or at home for a driveway staycation, camping just got a whole lot cushier.

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo. (Daimler)

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Autos, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.