Niesmann + Bischoff iSmove 6.9E Review
Innovation and creativity oozes in the outstanding iSmove 6.9E
The iSmove 6.9E is the result of more than 23,000 hours of development – and it really does feel as though every second of that time has been well used to look at each aspect of the motorhome as we knew it and ponder how it could be better. There are seven patents pending on this vehicle, emphasising the creativity and innovation that has gone into it.
At first glance, however, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether this model was worthy of its lavish launch, accompanied by dramatic music and lights. Not that the exterior doesn’t look amazing – it does – but it’s, ultimately, a compact Arto in appearance. Niesmann+Bischoff probably has the most distinctive exterior in the business – and the iSmove doesn’t stray too far from the well-loved blueprint.
As a result, it’s a modern and sporty look with attractive contours, paired with two-sided aluminium sandwich walls for all-year travel.
At 7m and 3.5 tonne, the iSmove is quite a bit smaller than the 7.9m Arto 78 F and considerably more compact than the 8.76m Arto 88 LF.
But it’s when the door opens that the magic happens. In fact, the door itself is worth a mention as here Niesmann+Bischoff has taken the unusual – and perhaps even brave – move of removing the window. The marketing literature asks: “Where did the idea come from that the only door in an integrated motorhome needs a window, and why?” A fair question, as without the window the door seamlessly integrates with the walls of the vehicle and creates a smart and modern feel.
The next immediately obvious change is the dark, anthracite headliner which runs the full length of the motorhome. Previously understood rules of design mean that this should make the vehicle appear smaller – and maybe even a little depressing – but here it has the effect of creating a homely and luxurious ambience.
Lounge cabinets have also been scrapped in favour of soundproofed felted walls, which create soothing acoustics.
There are clear sight lines down the one side of the vehicle, a feat achieved by ensuring everything that once took up room can now be moved when not in use, either electronically or by hand.
This ‘only there when you need it’ philosophy is particular apparent in the kitchen. With the premium kitchen package in play, surfaces and cabinets are only there when required, disappearing into obscurity for the rest of the day. There’s an electric kitchen shelf that vanishes at the push of a button, an extendable work surface which completely covers the gangway, a pull-out chopping board and a 138l compressor refrigerator in a drawer under the sink, including a 12l freezer compartment.
It almost goes without saying that the drawers have electric central locking and are soft close.
Face-to-face settees are all the rage so it’s no surprise to see them here. What is new, however, is the genius way Niesmann+Bischoff has made them beautifully easy to convert into rear travel seats. A rotating bench seat swivels to transform into two travel seats with head restraints slotted in. It’s a truly sumptuous solution that takes away all of the complex conversion headaches seen elsewhere. On the opposite side, a fifth travel seat can be optioned.
A 32in smart TV is fitted flush with the wall behind the travel seat.
A vehicle of this size would usually have to compromise on the shower – but not on the iSmove 6.9E with Niesmann+Bischoff’s patented solution. Here, the sliding door opens to reveal the corner washbasin and toilet, but there is no shower to be seen. To access this, a bolt is undone and the whole wall moves, pushing the basin above the toilet to unveil a good-sized shower.
When it comes to sleeping, there are comfortable 2m long single rear beds in a bedroom that feels huge, along with plenty of storage and power sockets. The ultra slimline above-cab bed is also a joy to behold, creating extra headroom. Its innovative design means it folds away more neatly, too.
You’ll be the envy of any campsite in the iSmove 6.9E, but it’s also more than capable of off-grid adventures thanks to a beefy 200l fresh water tank, a 50l fixed gas tank, a standard 100 Ah lithium cabin battery and optional 110W solar panel with an MPPT solar controller.
There’s also a generous rear garage with space for all your bikes, surf boards, skateboards and whatever else you need.
The large cab is appreciated and there’s a real automotive feel about the driving experience. There’s a 7in touchscreen with satnav and reserving camera, upgradable to 9in if you wish.
The Fiat 140bhp engine is standard which can be optioned to 160bhp, and the chassis can be upgraded to 3,700kg or 4,500kg.
It’s refreshing to see a motorhome really push the boundaries and come up with new space-maximising solutions.