Veteran builder Newell pulls out all the stops when it comes to creating a super luxury coach destined for only a few
OK I’m going to cut to the chase. The article you are about to read may seem like it applies only to those who are wealthy. Let’s face it, getting into a luxury motor coach like a Newell requires great financial resources — or enough luck to win the lottery. Clearly, with only 26 Newells rolling off the assembly line each year, the vast majority of motorhome enthusiasts will never own such a coach. But don’t let that fact dissuade you from reading all about the 2019 Newell. It’s a magnificent machine loaded with cutting edge technology, some of which is sure to trickle down over the years to conventional Class A builders who will likely implement these ideas (on a more practical scale) when designing their future models.
Newell is no ordinary builder of super luxury coaches; it does not start with a bus shell. When the first piece of metal is pulled off the shelf, the process of building the manufacturer’s proprietary bridge-construction frame is started. Emulating aircraft-type construction using aluminum in a semi-monocoque configuration, the entire body becomes part of the chassis support system. The result leads to a highly refined and gorgeous body that’s created in cooperation with Porsche Design, the folks who create luxury sports cars.
Every coach is built to order, so no two are alike, other than the exterior lines, which are personalized by graphics and color schemes. Once an order is initiated, the company applies a coach number and the process of choosing a floorplan and all the ancillary componentry needed to produce a custom coach begins. Newell provides a brochure with a number of common floorplans, but that’s only to get the new owners started with the planning phase of their coach. From there, buyers work closely with the design and engineering teams to create a coach that portrays individualism and satisfies personal requirements, all revolving around intense comfort and convenience. In just about all cases, customers start at the top of the food chain when picking appliances, entertainment systems, electronics, décor packages and furniture. It’s an exercise in opulence that potential owners have no interest in compromising. The end result is nothing less than spectacular, and requires a check for just shy of $2 million.
Coach No. 1643 was built to display at shows, so we were given a chance to spend time with it until it was sold. That timeframe was short — a prime example of how fast these RV mansions are being gobbled up by discriminating buyers. The factory sold out its latest production run by last December.
The test coach had its own pedigree, one that is a departure from the norm when it comes to bus-style floorplanning. Conventional wisdom encourages designers to focus on a front entry door in diesel pushers, which is something the big-rig community has grown to expect. Newell bucks that trend by offering a mid-entry, which we questioned until stepping inside.
While there is no universal protest against front doors, entering through the spiral staircase into the center of the Newell has its inherent benefits, including the ability to be where the “action” is on most RV sites. Once the button is pushed and the pneumatic apparatus sounds off its melodically pleasing whoosh, the solid door pops out and moves gracefully to the side; you immediately know the stairs will lead to something special. Surprisingly, this particular coach is void of an overly glitzy décor treatment, and some who relish a more showy atmosphere might even think it’s too understated. But, it didn’t take long for us to really like the softer colors and overall stately look.
The back portion of this coach is definitely more exotic. Spanning across the very rear is the bathroom, which enhances the bedroom suite in both form and function. A big hatch in the ceiling, covered when needed by a sunshade, provides plenty of ambient light to shine brightly on the Art Deco motif gracing the corner sink and counters. Mosaic flooring complements the bathroom fixtures, including the large glass-clad shower, beautifully. The shower is right sized for the bathroom and has the expected high-line faucets and accouterments. It’s certainly a nice place to linger, and the water will always be warm, compliments of the Aqua-Hot comfort and water heating system. Lots of glass and mirrors surround the sculpted sink and faucet, and the large wardrobe closet that butts up to the lavatory structure is lined with cedar. A closet with the washer and dryer occupies the space across from the shower and has doors that can be pushed out of the way when doing the laundry.
As expected, the toilet is not standard-issue. Here, a Blooming seat on a Headhunter toilet offers a well, you know, great experience. Unless you’re familiar with this type of toilet seat, it’s best to read the manual before trying to work the controls on the side of the seat. Don’t worry about the close proximity of the shower and wardrobe; this bidet-equipped seat makes toilet paper almost obsolete.
Connecting naturally to the bathroom is a stately bedroom that has an exceptional amount of room when the opposing slides are extended and the power mattress is retracted. The mattress is 9 inches thick and offers dreamy comfort. To get below the mattress, a button is pushed (of course) and the platform rises to access a large storage area.
Across from the bed is a beautiful array of cabinetry that blends seamlessly with the large picture window. The cabinet doors are almost undetectable, a tribute to the craftspeople who work in the cabinet shop. There are a number of cubbyholes and shelves that add to the décor, blending with the ceiling sculpting; a TV can be raised in front of the window for bedtime viewing.
Switches, tied into a multiplex wiring system, can be found everywhere, and all the controls are loaded into a touch screen next to the bed. The screen is duplicated in a number of locations throughout the coach and allows the user to operate just about anything, including the power blinds that are sheer until the internal slats rotate, providing total privacy. These blinds are used universally throughout the interior and match the décor perfectly. A touch pad, similar in size and style to a tablet, is magnetically attached to the wall near the entry so users can pull it off and work the systems remotely. It’s all part of the Intrepid 2.0 Coach Management System that can also be connected to any handheld device, like a smartphone or tablet.
As you move toward the front parlor, you’ll pass through a dividing corridor with the half bath on the right and refrigerator on the left — before getting to the aforementioned entryway. Guests using this bathroom can get the same Blooming toilet seat experience, and can clean up in the opposing sink.
The GE Monogram refrigerator and adjacent pullout pantry are concealed by integrated cabinetry and door panels. While the refrigerator might seem to be on the small size visually, the main door and two pullout freezer drawers (the top one for ice) swallow up quite a bit of food. Again, this is personal preference, dictated by the buyer.
Up front, the galley, couch, dinette and recliner are configured in a rather conventional pattern, but the materials, floor and sculpted ceiling are definitely the handiwork of an experienced decorator. Opposing slides open up the space dramatically and the mechanism is choreographed artistically, leaving the floor flush and seamless.
For those who can break away from the restaurant scene, the galley offers enough space to spread out, featuring a clean-looking solid-surface counter and a large rectangular sink. The appliances and fixtures are top-notch and compare favorably with components in a custom-built luxury home. Appliances, like the Wolf two-burner induction cooktop, dishwasher in a drawer, built-in coffeepot and microwave convection oven, fit smartly within the smooth-looking cabinetry. Concealed cabinet hardware works flawlessly, and there’s exceptional room in the abundance of drawers and cabinets for storing foodstuffs and cooking implements. Again, the stately décor kicks in, using a beautiful backsplash presented in a very tasteful manner. Cooks never need to leave the kitchen to control other systems, as there is another monitor panel located strategically within reach. And the heated floor (throughout the interior) and toe-kick areas make standing in the galley comfy in cold weather.
Adjacent to the galley counter and filling out the remainder of the front slideout is the couch. While leather seems to be the fabric of choice among luxury coach owners, this couch is upholstered in plush material that’s very friendly to your skin. It makes into a bed for sleeping two adults, and for lounging it’s very comfortable. A big window behind the couch offers a commanding view of the outside, and a massive array of lighting (throughout the interior) keeps things bright.
On the other side, and in the opposing slide, is an interesting use of space. Close to the entry door is a standard-style booth dinette with plush leather cushions that offer plenty of support. The solid-surface table can be expanded for additional diners with the use of additional cushions, and is fitted with a pop-up utility center for powering and/or charging electronic devices.
Nothing extraordinarily fancy here, but adjacent to the dinette is a leather-covered swivel rocker flanked by a hutch with a solid-surface countertop and storage areas. According to Newell, this arrangement has become more popular than a desk/work station, since laptops seem to do the trick these days. Above the counter is a TV, which is viewable from the couch and/or by people gathered in the galley. A bigger TV is mounted over the dashboard complex. Once the cockpit seats are swiveled toward the action, the front of the coach can comfortably handle quite a crowd. Accent lighting used liberally under counters and toe-kicks, and around window valances, provides great ambience when the evening mood inspires.
Future buyers can easily take the elements in this coach and modify them to suit their personal tastes, and Newell excels in this department. Seasoned professionals from all the departments contributing to the build process are at the customer’s beck and call until the coach is completed — and Newell has established an exemplary reputation among highline aficionados.
Outside, the exercise in opulence continues with stunningly shiny and smooth full-body paint, handsome graphics, integrated awning and flush slideout seams that are hard to detect. Add the wheels, flush-mounted and dark-tinted windows, LED lighting and the four air conditioners that are hidden from view, and the profile is a sight to behold.
Storage compartments also blend perfectly with the exterior lines and all are fitted with latches that activate the lift mechanism, which stops precisely at a safe point when the slides are out all the way or when the coast is clear. Access to the tremendous amount of goods that can be stored is via stout slide-out trays that extend with a push of a button (of course). Utility centers are robust and include all the hookup items, including a power umbilical cord reel that features a remote control. A Lippert Components Waste Master RV Sewer Management System (hose and nozzle permanently attached and secured in a dedicated housing) is built in on the left side of the coach and the standard type dump fitting (for a hose) is ready to go on the other side. There’s only one holding tank for the black and gray water but it’s 143 gallons. Another TV is mounted in one of the patio-side compartments and when swung out, owners can access the Aqua-Hot components.
One of the great attributes of owning a Newell is driving it. The driver’s compartment is plush and exudes an electronic sensory overload. Push the ignition button and the dash lights up dramatically with instrumentation and controls that give the driver full command of the driving experience. The feel, especially for the co-pilot, is quite different without the front door and floor cover over entry steps. If you like the center entry, you’ll undoubtedly love the coziness afforded by the lack of a cockpit door, which also circumvents the need to climb around the passenger seat to get to the living area.
Driving this coach is definitely worthy of the sticker price. Beyond the comfortable captain’s chair, which is designed for long stints behind the wheel, the powerful 605-hp Cummins ISX diesel engine propels the coach with quiet brilliance. The six-speed Allison is perfectly matched to the engine and the ZF active tag axle steering and suspension systems make the ride hard to beat. This coach is fast, smooth and hugs the highway so well that seat-of-the-pants speed perception is virtually impossible. Thankfully, speed is clearly visible in the electronic instrument cluster, and the coach is fitted with a radar detector.
Make no mistake, this is a 45-foot coach, and even with the driver enhancements — like powered tilt and telescoping wheel, the Total Vision camera/monitor system and the EasiSteer electric steering assist — there’s an acclimation period for new owners. Fortunately, becoming an accomplished Newell pilot takes less time than expected, especially since the coach handles so well and can turn more sharply than its profile suggests.
Newell may not be the only player in the super luxury motor coach space, but it has managed to perfect the process through its commitment to excellence over many years. Those fortunate enough to own a Newell will have an ultimate RVing experience, while the rest of the motorhome community reaps the benefits of advanced technology that can be designed and applied when money is no object.
If nothing else, it’s fun to dream.
Newell Coach Corp. | 888-363-9355 | www.newellcoach.com