This year’s International Bus Competition (IBC) in Europe saw three double-decker buses put through their paces by the jury. At the end of an intensive week of testing, MAN’s Neoplan Skyliner managed to score the highest number of points and defeated the VDL Futura and the Van Hool Astromega.
Head tester Wolfgang Tschakert emphasized the objectivity of the IBC: “Points are awarded based on the opinion of the test team. The team includes taller and shorter drivers with different temperaments and different preferences – just like you would find in a professional fleet.”
The NEOPLAN Skyliner, equipped according to test regulations with a long-distance package including wheelchair space, extra wide doors and destination display, achieved the best performance figures in the categories for suspension, passenger comfort and the repair shop test. The top level of the double-decker bus is particularly impressive: the side windows (skylights), which extend all the way up to the roof, provide an amazing view from the window seats, while the roof itself is made of five glass panes and thus allows for an almost continuous line of light to fall onto the middle aisle and create a wonderfully spacious ambience.
Aesthetics aside, safety is also a key feature of this vehicle. The jury were impressed by the braking distances measured during the tests, which ranged between 39.8 and 39.1 metres respectively with cold and hot brakes from a speed of 80 km/h, as well the steering precision and vehicle balance. The latter is assisted by the electronically controlled shock absorber MAN CDS (Comfort Drive Suspension) among other things. Another assistance system built into the test bus is the MAN Efficient Cruise predictive cruise control function and the MAN Attention Guard alertness assistant.
The IBC Award is presented as part of the IAA Commercial Vehicles show 2016. “We are very proud to have won this prestigious prize. It shows that the ongoing improvements to our Neoplan Skyliner have really paid off,” says Rudi Kuchta, Senior Vice President Product & Sales Bus at MAN Truck & Bus. “It also reflects the opinion of our customers, who are very satisfied with the NEOPLAN Skyliner for long-distance travel.”
Since June 2015, the NEOPLAN Skyliner has been available in the Euro 6 variant. The premium double-decker impresses with its optimum combination of efficiency, environmental performance and exclusive comfort. Its prizewinning ‘Sharp Cut Design’ with clear, consistent lines guarantees top aerodynamic performance. Fuel savings of up to five percent can be achieved in comparison to double-deckers without aerodynamically-optimised designs. The luggage compartment of the NEOPLAN Skyliner also sets the bar high, with best-in-class performance figures: measuring up to 11 m3, it offers adequate space for cases and bags.
The generously designed interior delivers maximum freedom of movement inside the double-decker. And, with up to 83 seats, the bus is perfect for long-distance travel. Its long-distance package, including destination display and 230 V plug sockets and/or USB ports for every seat, as well as its latest driver’s seat featuring optimal positioning, ensure an increased level of comfort for both passengers and driver. Entertainment on both short and long journeys is provided by the Onboard Entertainment system. Next to the option of an integrated Wi-Fi system, the TopLine Multimedia Centre with two 19-inch TFT monitors on the upper deck and 10-inch flat screen monitors on the lower level is also included.
A particular challenge when it comes to long-distance buses is accessibility, but the NEOPLAN Skyliner solves this problem comfortably and conveniently for bus companies, drivers and passengers. Passengers with restricted mobility can access the bus via a folding ramp. To create the necessary space inside the vehicle, MAN has developed an extremely convenient solution for bus operators, whereby up to three double seats can be pushed together using a sliding system. This saves the bus company having to completely remove seats if extra room is required. Instead, the seats remain inside the vehicle so that they can be made accessible again in a matter of minutes – not just in the depot but also on the road.