Mercedes-Benz chose Belgium as the venue to launch a brand-new version of its successful Tourismo coach. Having manufactured and sold 26,000 Tourismos over the last 26 years, Mercedes-Benz decided it was time to replace one of the best-selling models under the Daimler passenger transport line-up.
The new Tourismo will make its public debut at Busworld in Kortrijk (Belgium) later this year, where operators can place orders. Containing all the gene pool and past traditions of the Tourismo which, according to Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses, has been the backbone of the European coach market for many years, the new vehicle has a fresh new design and additional safety features. €400 million has been invested in developing the new coach. At the moment, the Tourismo has a 20% share of the European coach market and this is a figure the company estimates that will be improved on. Available in two or three axle configuration, a new 456hp engine is now on offer to complement the existing range. In total, there are six different engine options (not all available in RHD – Right Hand Drive). Based on the reliable and efficient OM470 block, further fuel efficiencies have been achieved. Production will begin in late summer and Irish operators need not worry, the Tourismo will be available in RHD from the start, certainly in time for 2018 delivery.
Tourismo Irish style!
At the launch in Brussels, a right hand drive coach was on display, which will eventually make its way to Ireland. On a 12.3 m (2 axle) chassis and painted green, viper green in fact! Equipped with the 394hp version of the OM 470 engine, it comes fitted with an 8-speed Mercedes PowerShift auto box. With striking similarities to previous Tourismo, the new overall design has some more pronounced features. New mirror covers add to a dynamic look and some changes in the style of the rear of the coach give it a modern timeless appearance, which is more aerodynamic. Designers of new coaches are always careful to try and strike a balance that allows operators see only subtle changes in a new vehicle and still make it look updated, certainly this objective has been achieved. Some extra space has been created at the front of the coach which is added to the entrance door area. With some clever engineering and the additional space it will be noticeable to passengers when they enter. More storage has been added to the overhead lockers. Throughout the interior there are USB and EV plug points.
Always on the mind of a manufacturer is safety and just as Mercedes-Benz has improved the comfort and efficiency of the Tourismo, safety has also been significantly enhanced. Using stronger carbon steel, the coach achieves the ECE R66.02 rollover regulation. A number of additional safety features are included, some standard and others optional. ABS, EBS, DBL, BAS, ESP and AEBS feature as standard while ART, ABA3 and TPM are options. One of the most impressive safety features is driver assist. This software monitors the way the coach is being driven. If it detects steering, brake or acceleration inputs that suggest the driver is in danger of ‘nodding off’, it will give audible noises to alert to the driver.
At the end of the presentation Hartmut Schick concluded his comments by saying: “The new Tourismo is precisely configured to meet the wishes and requirements of operators. It sets a benchmark for efficiency and safety. We have taken the essential outline of the Tourismo and interpreted it for the future.”
I think he is right, let us see if his customers agree, I think they will. Sean Murtagh