Motorhome Review: 2024 Bürstner Lyseo TD690G

 

The Lyseo TD 690 G sits mid-pack for length in Bürstner’s glam-packed Harmony Line range, with three shorter models below it. Yet it’s still such a sweet thing to drive, despite the slight increase in longitudinal real estate, says Paul Owen.

 

Bürstner Lyseo TD 690 G

 

 

It’s the second time around for me and the Bürstner Lyseo TD 690 G Harmony Line, with my first encounter with the model three years ago. Emotionally, nothing’s changed. I’m just as enamoured with the TD 690 G as I was back in 2021 when I declared it the ‘Goldilocks’ of semi-integrated motorhomes of slightly less than seven metres in length (6.99 metres to be precise). It retains those ‘Goldilocks’ qualities: not too short and not too long.


It also still hits my personal sweet spot of the perfect-sized motorhome with laser-guided accuracy.

More objectively, this is a far better motorhome than it was three years ago (that’s not to take away from the earlier model; it’s just that it boasts newer technology and innovations in this fast-paced sector).

 

Now based on the Series 8 Fiat Ducato instead of the Series 7, the step up to a new generation of the world’s most popular motorhome platform is a big one. The Ducato is now one of the smartest European commercial vehicles on the market. The powertrain is highly capable and efficient, and there’s probably enough computer power onboard to launch a space shuttle.

 

Fiat has used all the bits and bytes ricocheting around Ducato’s new CANBUS electronic network to increase both active and passive safety. Plus, you get three driving modes – Sport, Eco, and Normal – to tailor the vehicle to suit your preferences.

Crosswind assist, emergency brake assist, hill start assist, an electronic suite that includes traction control, stability control, and a grip-enhancing system called Traction Plus, combined with self-adjusting cruise control to keep you trucking along safely. And if they finally can’t rescue situations that are getting out of hand, the Ducato has a post-collision system that automatically unlocks the doors and lowers any cab windows that are still operable.



Smooth operator

Screen to the right of the steering wheel shows the reversing camera view

Screen to the right of the steering wheel shows the reversing camera view.

The above is all extremely nice, but there’s one more key feature that makes the latest Ducato such an eighth wonder of the world, and that is the smooth refinement it displays.


It makes my own 2022 Volkswagen Crafter-based RV feel like it was designed last century, rather than a mere couple of years ago. The 160bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel is skilfully calibrated to the nine-speed automatic gearbox and throttle response is silky and instantaneous, especially from rest.

 

It’s also one of the quietest motorhome platform powertrains in existence, making it a perfect match for Bürstner’s habitation cabin, which has sound-proofing closer to recording studio quality than most motorhomes. Topping off the superiority of the Series 8 Ducato over all those that preceded it is Fiat’s claim that it makes every litre of diesel stretch 10% further than before.


The price of progress

Roomy bench seats face forward to carry two extra passengers

Roomy bench seats face forward to carry two extra passengers

 

The post-pandemic economic climate hasn’t been kind to automotive manufacturers. Supply chains are still recovering, skilled workers are still hard to find, and any given currency no longer buys what it used to. These factors have eroded both production numbers and profits and those that make and sell things with wheels are doing it particularly tough right now whether their products are bicycles, motorcycles, cars, vans, trucks, golf carts, or motorhomes.

The overview is justification for the $40,000 price increase of a Lyseo TD 690 G Harmony Line, a fiscal surge from $179,900 in 2021 to $219,900 today. That’s a 22% increase and my enthusiasm for buying and riding high-end Ducati motorcycles and specialised bicycles has been only slightly tempered by price rises of similar magnitude over the past three years. It’s become the norm across the industry.

 

If something is nice to own and meets or exceeds your expectations, who cares what it cost a few years ago? The bottom line is that the TD 690 G HL continues to represent one of the highest-quality seven-metre semi-integrated motorhomes on the market and sits in pricing territory occupied by rivals of similar stature that arguably isn’t quite as well considered or executed.

 

Harmonious cabin

Sliding table has a hinged section to serve all front lounge seats

Sliding table has a hinged section to serve all front lounge seats

Consider the Harmony Line package to be the finishing touch that completes any Lyseo TD model imported from Germany into New Zealand. It creates a more spacious ambience to the cabin, with the ergonomically correct seating featuring white leatherette upholstery, the wider side entry door, the sunroof over the cab, and extra ambient lighting.


It also includes a second garage door for the rear garage (218 x 120 x 82cm), alloy wheels, and exterior graphics.


Capping all of this off is the extra cabinetry that greets you to the left of the power step-equipped entry door. This contains extra shelves for shoes, topped by a little bench where keys, binoculars, cameras, and phones are likely to accumulate when camping.

Above the latter is a recess where the 22-inch smart Chromecast-equipped TV/DVD player sits, complete with a satellite receiver for Freeview and Bluetooth. Further above that is Bürstner’s trademark control panel, a clever piece of retro design that recalls top-end audio system controllers of the late 20th Century. It makes the usual Truma controller for the gas water and cabin heater placed alongside it look decidedly low-rent.

 

 

Two floors are better than one

The kitchen in full galloping gourmet mode

The kitchen in full galloping gourmet mode

Bürstner was one of the first motorhome makers to put a double floor in a semi-integrated motorhome. The advantages make the format well worth the weight that it contributes to the 3850kg Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of the Lyseo TD 690 G.


The extra barrier between the road and cabin hushes the thrumming of the tyres on the tarmac to a nearly inaudible level and creates a level surface inside the cabin so you can wander from one end to the other without fear of a sudden trip or a stubbed toe.


Despite the doubling of floors, there’s plenty of room for tall folk inside the TD 690 G, as the ceiling is located 205cm above the upper floor. Much of the 42mm gap between the two floors is filled with insulation to deaden sound and prevent cabin heat from escaping in winter, but there are also two handy storage compartments located mid-floor – perfect reservoirs for extra shoes or the extending walking poles.

Other features of the Lyseo body are the GRP walls and roof, both skinned with aluminium sheets with a 30mm layer of foam insulation in the middle. Windows are the usual aluminium-framed double-glazed composite portals with built-in shades and screens shared with many motorhomes, but Bürstner adds elegant internal blinds that still let in ambient light while guaranteeing privacy.


Solid underpinnings

Twin single beds quickly convert into a king-sized double

Twin single beds quickly convert into a king-sized double

The Lyseo retains all of Fiat’s ladder chassis with Bürstner adjusting it to carry the motorhome body through the fitment of a wider rear axle. It’s possibly a heavier solution than the usual hybridisation of the front part of a van chassis with a lighter AL-KO rear section comprised of honeycombed alloy beams, but there are advantages. A towbar will be more easily accommodated, and Fiat’s solid galvanised steel beam rear end is arguably stronger and more durable.

Maximum payload for the Lyseo TD 690 G Harmony Line is 660kg, which is adequate for a two-berth motorhome that’s a turn-key proposition when the list of fitted standard equipment is considered.


For there’s nothing really to add to the wish list, as that payload figure accounts for the large Thule awning on the right side, the dual 9kg gas bottles in the locker, dual 95Ah leisure batteries, 100W solar panel, and the 1000W inverter that converts 12-volt battery power and feeds the multiple 240-volt sockets dotted around the Lyseo (there’s even one in the garage).

 

The house batteries and solar panel were both factory-fitted in this model. This is a first and has significant advantages. It means that the installation and wiring are well-considered during the manufacturing stage. For instance, you don’t have an aftermarket installer deciding where to put the wires. The inverter, however, was fitted locally in New Zealand.

Additionally, the Bürstner can store 120 litres of freshwater and collect 90 litres of greywater. It has a high-pressure pump to make sure the shower head produces a robust spurt. BBQ cooks will appreciate the exterior gas feed line located just above the toilet cassette compartment.


The last item on the essential equipment list is the aftermarket reversing camera, which sends images to an added screen located on the far right of the dashboard. A neater way of providing rear visibility would have been to have a factory-fitted version, which would show the view behind the Lyseo on the Ducato’s central 10-inch touchscreen, which is Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible.

 

Space in the right places

Plenty of storage space in the TD 690 G

Plenty of storage space in the TD 690 G

 

The TD 690 G is targeted at couples. This focus has given Bürstner the opportunity to make space a priority in the parts of the cabin that are used most while compacting the facilities likely to be occupied only for relatively short periods.


The kitchen is fully equipped in terms of appliances and storage space and a hinged sink cover can be swung outwards to create extra bench space. It’s an example of how functionality can be maximised within a small area, along with the slimline dimensions of the three-way 142-litre absorption fridge and its attendant 15-litre freezer.


On the other side of the kitchen is the equally useful, space-conserving washroom. It’s laid out longitudinally with the toilet at one end, the shower cubicle at the other, and a washbasin in the middle. This creates a relatively wide path to negotiate when headed for the rear bedroom and adds to the sense of roominess within the TD 690 G.

You might not be able to practice dance moves while having a shower but step out into the aisle and there’s enough space to fine-tune your karate kata.


Given the spacious garage below, the rear bedroom also demonstrates the talents of the Bürstner design team to limit the spatial compromises posed by a compact motorhome floorplan. The default layout of the bedroom is to have two 199cm long single beds on each side of the TD 690 G, both with a slatted base and memory foam mattress. This gives access to the rather majestic stairwell in the middle, with steps that double as storage lockers with their hinged lids.


The bottom step can slide backwards to create access to either the large wardrobe on one side or the set of large drawers on the other. I suspect that this is how most couples will configure the bedroom, as it works best in this layout. However, in times of stars aligning, moons rising, and high tides surging, the two singles can be quickly converted into a 199 x 210cm double bed, with an access ladder fetched from the rear garage to allow access to and from it. It’s a bedroom capable of adapting to the occasion. It’s also the finishing touch to one of the most desirable, compact semi-integrated motorhomes on the market.

 

Bürstner Lyseo TD 690 G floor plan

Bürstner Lyseo TD 690 G floor plan

 

Learn more about Bürstner motorhomes and the 2023 Bürstner TD 690 G — plus read the review of the 2024 Bürstner TD 727 G.

 

This review was written by Paul Owen and originally published in the Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations Magazine on 3rd December 2023. We are republishing the review with the magazine's permission.

 

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