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May 22 2019
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.


Tourliner becomes simpler to buy, simpler to run

MAN’s philosophy for its Neoplan Tourliner range is to make it a simple coach to procure and also to operate. Leasing and R&M are part of that; so too is continuous product improvement, as it explains

Tourliner comes in four varieties; all will gain a leasing option, says MAN

Choice for buyers in the new coach market means that continued product improvement is imperative for manufacturers. MAN is no different, and its Neoplan Tourliner range will benefit from incremental upgrades over this year and next.

It offers the Tourliner in four lengths: The 12.1m P21 and 13.1m P10 on two axles, and the 13.4m P20 and 13.9m P22 on three. All are held in stock at its Trafford Park base, and it can deliver them in the time that it takes to register, PDI and finalise funding.

One recent change is under the bonnet. The TipMatic automated manual gearbox, a badge-engineered ZF AS-Tronic, has been superseded by the Traxon.

ZF’s other coach product, the EcoLife, is unchanged. It is available with the D26 engine at up to 460bhp in all four variants.

Tri-axle models for 2019 are now equipped with active rear steering. “That’s natural evolution; we have active steering on tri-axle chassis and we also did on the Starliner,” says General Manager Bus and Coach Wayne Ulph.

Production of active rear steer Tourliners began in January. Prior to that, the third axle was passively steered, although lock angles on both variants are identical.

A further recent introduction is of a small triangular window at the front. It forms part of the styling ‘sash’ immediately behind the platform area, and it is below the existing glazing. It is not obvious from the outside, and there is no option to retrofit it to existing coaches.

Caught on camera

MAN was the first manufacturer to show a coach with rear-view cameras, a demonstration left-hand drive Neoplan Cityliner. At the time, it said that the cameras - which a brief drive showed were easy enough to become accustomed to - would be offered optionally on the Tourliner. That remains the case, but it is now likely that they will be rolled out from 2020 onwards.

“Cameras are a retrofittable alteration and we plan to fit a demonstrator,” says Wayne. “A customer also is looking at modifying one of its coaches, but we will order stock Tourliners with mirrors. Cameras will be fitted only if the buyer specifies.”

Rear-view cameras will become an option in place of mirrors during 2020

Leasing solution

MAN is one of several coach suppliers to have identified that leasing is becoming popular. It will very soon be able to offer operating lease packages on all Tourliners via MAN Financial Service and Volkswagen Financial Services.

“The minimum period is three years, but we have already quoted on five-year leases,” adds Wayne.

“We’ve adopted leasing because of market demand. We increasingly find that customers want to take a vehicle, run it, return it, replace it with a new one and repeat the process.”

As part of the leasing process, coaches will come with MAN Warranty Plus. It includes three years’ comprehensive coverage and a further year’s driveline support; a fifth year’s driveline warranty can be added at extra cost.

A further benefit of operating lease is that the operator receives access to MAN’s telematics web portal for the duration of the contract.

That generates a report on how the coach is driven, including fuel consumption and idling time. The latter is a particularly interesting aspect; besides a real miles per gallon figure, the software also calculates a theoretical return were there to have been no idling. MAN also offers bronze, silver and gold repair and maintenance packages. They can either be dealer-specific, or as a UK-wide package.

That sums up what MAN wants to do with the Tourliner: Make it a simple coach to own and to operate. It believes that’s the way that operators’ wishes are going, and it’s hard to argue with such an opinion.

Coaches available quickly from stock, including 460bhp P22 with EcoLife

Top-power, auto ‘box Tourliner on the road

routeone was able to look over and drive a 13.9m Tourliner P22 with the most potent driveline in MAN’s armory: The 12.4-litre D26 producing 460bhp and 2,300Nm of torque coupled to a ZF EcoLife automatic gearbox.

In the P22, a maximum of 61 seats is possible with a toilet or 63 without. A leather-trimmed steering wheel is now standard and the centre is black on 2019 coaches.

Also part of the specification are a DAB radio, a reversing camera with a colour monitor, USB charging points at every seat, leather headrest inserts and piping, and MAN’s trademark sausage boiler as part of the servery.

Performance wise, the coach does as would be expected. The D26/EcoLife combination allows it to pick up speed at a scarcely-believable rate and give other traffic a run for its money. As is usual with a Tourliner, speed is shed as well as it is gained.

Active rear steering has a noticeable benefit, making negotiating a badly-parked lorry outside MAN’s premises easier than it would have been in a two-axle coach. As with the P10, P20 and P21 Tourliner models, the P22 is available in built-to-order accessible specification.



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