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It's Merc's answer to the VW Camper
Got a festival to hit this summer? Can’t be bothered to trudge a load of camping gear across a field? Then you need glamping-on-wheels, otherwise known as the Mercedes Marco Polo.
Named, we think, after everyone’s favourite swimming pool-based tag game, it’s Mercedes’ answer to VW’s infamous hippy van, the California.
Based on the V-Class platform - the Viano and Vito replacement that slots in below a Sprinter - the Marco Polo follows the VW template with slavish devotion, only posher.
It’s a veritable house on wheels. There are two heated, swivelling seats up front for the captain and navigator. A sliding, adjustable rear bench in the back folds down to create a bed. An electric pop-up roof rises to reveal a ‘mezzanine floor’ and second ‘bedroom’. There’s a kitchen with two-hob burner, fridge and sink.
Laid out just like a California - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and all that - it’s got enough clever packaging to make you exclaim, “My, what clever packaging”. But Merc has thrown in a smattering of its S-Class-derived tech to trump the VW. There’s Active Parking, Attention Assist to warn against post-festival drowsiness, and optional 360-degree cameras so you don’t back it in to the campfire.
Power comes from any of three four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, ranging from 134bhp and 188bhp. On top models, an ‘over-torque’ function boosts torque to 355lb ft so you, three mates and the kitchen sink can scale Yosemite’s El Capitan with ease.
Where the VW Cali maintains a tradesman-like aesthetic, the Marco Polo looks properly swish inside and out. So good, in fact, we’d feel guilty getting it dirty, or disturbing the sharp lines outside by strapping scraggy old surfboard on top.
You’ll be able to go for a ride in Marco Polo when it goes on sale in July. But only if you live in Germany, as there are currently no plans to bring the glamping wagon to the UK.
But Mercedes admits it could be tempted to introduce the 50 grand camper to Britain if you lot drum up enough interest. So start drumming. We need this.