Benchmark Vehicles has introduced an overlanding-ready Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based camper that it calls the AWOL. The van costs $500,000, but the company can take commissions starting at $250,000.
Benchmark Vehicles shipped a Sprinter with a 170-inch wheelbase to Iglhaut Allrad in Germany. That company added front, rear, and center locking differentials for maximizing traction off-road. It also had an 11-inch suspension lift to overcome obstacles, which required the wheel wells to be modified. Revisions to the ECU and power control models allowed for fitting 37-inch tires while maintaining the active brake and lane assist systems. The front and rear axle gearing is different to work with the lower revs, which would be helpful for overlanding.
Gallery: Benchmark Vehicles Iglhaut Allrad 170
The suspension uses a mix of Bilstein Heavy Duty struts and Fox 2.5 rear shocks. The AWOL comes with two sets of wheels that both use 37-inch tires. The road-going setup consists of BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain rubber and BF Goodrich KM3 mud-terrain pieces for off-road work.
The builder claims this setup means a wheel can be 36 inches off the ground, and the van is still level. Plus, it can go through mud bogs as deep as 18 inches, according to the company.
The powertrain consists of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 and a seven-speed automatic.
The cabin includes swiveling front seats that provide access to a table. At the back, there's a mattress and a kitchenette, which consists of an induction cooktop and sink. There's also a Guzzle H20 two-stage water filtration system. The vehicle has a 35-gallon water tank and a 4-gallon boiler for hot water. A Dometic RTX 3000 AC unit keeps occupants cool.
There are 640 amp hours of lithium batteries to provide electricity. Plus, 245 watts of solar panels are on the roof.
Mercedes Sprinters are common starting points for creating overlander builds. For example, the company Outside Van recently did a custom version specifically for folks who are into kiteboarding.