New Mercedes-Benz Tourrider Specifically Designed For The North American Market
By Harrell Kerkhoff
Busline Magazine Editor
A new era of luxurious, reliable and efficient motorcoach transportation in North America has begun with the emergence of the Mercedes-Benz Tourrider Premium and Business models, from Daimler Coaches North America.
Designed specifically for the North American market, the 45-foot three-axle Tourrider is setting new standards for design, comfort, technology and individuality. Both models feature an optimized aerodynamic shape and low fuel consumption.
The Tourrider replaces Daimler Buses’ Setra motorcoaches, which have been available since the 1980’s in North America.
“We started Tourrider production in Q1/2022 under serial conditions, after having completed comprehensive tests and prototyping activities. We are very excited to see Tourriders on U.S. streets and highways,” Orhan Dönmez, Project Manager for the new Tourrider, said. “The North American coach market is unique. We have followed the requirements of our customers, adding more value along the way, with the goal of helping their businesses experience greater success.
“Tourrider is tailor-made for the North American market. That includes state-of-art safety and comfort features.”
The Tourrider’s two models feature different vehicle and interior heights. Both, however, are 45’8” long and 102” wide.
“The Premium model, in particular, represents a special feeling of space, which is impressively emphasized with our Top Sky Panorama glass roof. Great flexibility in customized equipment applies to both models. The right vehicle for every application is available with these two models,” Dönmez said. “On one hand, we have our very economical standard vehicle, the “workhorse,” with 60 seats and a toilet. And, of course, there will be a high-end luxury coach, with exclusive Luxline passenger seats, 2+1 seating — and our highlight: atmospheric ambient lighting that envelops the interior in a cozy light, with a choice of 12 color variants.”
Major components will be identical between the Premium and Business models.
“That includes the Mercedes-Benz OM471 engine, available exclusively from Detroit Diesel, the Allison automatic transmission, and the Eberspächer Sütrak air conditioning system,” Dönmez said. “Most of the trim parts and the trunk lids are also identical. The intelligent arrangement of our BraunAbility lift, above the drive axle, will allow a continuous usable trunk between the axles — and will be independent of the lift installation.
“Also, the unbeatable maneuverability of the Tourrider, with a turning radius (to bumper) of 39’11”, will help during downtown trips. Even extreme long distances will be possible, as the fuel tanks for both models will have a volume of 220 U.S. gallons.”
Other Daimler officials are delighted as well about the emergence of the Tourrider.
“This is an exciting time. A lot of technical know-how has gone into this product, and a lot of heart and soul,” Daimler Coaches North America President & CEO Dr. Thomas Rohde said. “We, within the motorcoach industry, serve a fundamental human desire — to travel. That desire is probably stronger than ever, due to what everyone has experienced over the past three years. It’s great to see our customers coming back and doing what they love — moving people.
“This is a privilege for Daimler Coaches North America, but also a big responsibility. As operators, our customers carry the most precious load — human lives. At Daimler, we put safety first at the center of all of our product development, and are proud to bring the full range of active safety options to the North American market.
“It must be noted, the Mercedes-Benz Tourrider is not an European coach that Daimler Buses has adapted for North America. Rather, Tourrider is a newly designed coach from scratch, specifically made for operators in the United States and Canada, meeting their requirements.”
“We started by bringing our company’s strongest asset to this market — the Mercedes-Benz brand,” Till Oberwörder, Head of Daimler Buses, said. “It’s a strategic move to become a true part of the North American motorcoach industry, and to grow stronger roots within that market. It also helps that we are one of the world’s largest coach manufacturers.”
When it came to developing the technical features of Tourrider, Dönmez added, “We dreamed a lot, researched well, and constructed carefully — based on the needs and expectations of our North American customers. For us, they were the compass that navigated Daimler through the entire development process. The result is a product exclusively adapted for their market needs.”
It is also important to ensure that the Tourrider is a coach ready for the next decade.
“I feel we have achieved that goal,” Dönmez said. “Through experience and technical expertise, Daimler Buses has created a vehicle of the highest level. The Tourrider stands for longevity, quality, comfort, and maximum safety — all objectives that are synonymous with the Mercedes-Benz brand.”
Officials at Daimler Buses met extensively with North American motorcoach company representatives, prior to the development of the Tourrider. The objective was to listen to their needs and desires for a new type of coach.
“We officially began the Tourrider project in 2017, but started earlier with customer interviews and benchmarking — allowing us to determine the project’s scope. That research revealed the need for a tailor-made product, focusing on market requirements. That included stainless steel and Mercedes-Benz branding,” Dönmez said. “We were in touch with potential customers since the beginning of the project, and are very pleased that those customers have ordered the first Tourrider coaches.”
All Tourriders are built at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plant in Hoşdere, Turkey. Mercedes-Benz has built a facility at the plant solely for the production of the newly developed motorcoach. Although the Tourrider is designed especially for the North American market, it still has one thing in common with all Mercedes-Benz coaches: the very highest quality standards, secured by the expertise of experienced Mercedes-Benz bus and coach engineers, according to Dönmez.
“The modern plant is state-of-the-art, featuring 25-plus years of experience in coach construction. That includes highly-trained personnel and established manufacturing processes,” Dönmez explained. “The plant is already the central production site for Mercedes-Benz coaches in Europe, and is part of the European production network.”
He added specialized stainless steel used to produce the Mercedes-Benz Tourrider is of the highest quality.
“Stainless steel production is not new in the coach industry, but our goal has been to produce the best vehicles on the market, meeting the highest standards of the Mercedes-Benz brand. We have invested a lot in research and testing to achieve those goals,” Dönmez said. “Specialized stainless steel materials, with extremely high strength, are used for the Tourrider. The production of the metal is crucial. Therefore, we have built a dedicated hall at our plant in Turkey, using special equipment and tools for the production of the stainless steel bodies. We have separated this production from conventional steel processing, to ensure uncompromising quality.
“In addition to the stainless steel, we have developed a special coating material for added durability. The combination of experience and targeted investment in our stainless steel production makes us proud to offer the Tourrider for North American operators.”
THE MARKET IN MIND
Designing the Tourrider Premium and Business models took a team effort, following the basic principles of safety, function and style. The objective was to produce a motorcoach that looked new, felt fresh and worked well on North American roads.
“When people say design is invisible, they mean that when things simply work, you never think about why or how. But when something does not work, you quickly realize there is a problem with the design,” Daimler Buses Head of Design Stefan Handt said. “My personal belief is, at first glance, design itself should be invisible, with harmonious proportions. But with the second glance, the design should inspire with impressive details.
“Coach and bus design is important for society as future mobility will be heavily influenced by buses and motorcoaches. My design vision for a Mercedes-Benz motorcoach involves the vehicle being immediately recognizable as belonging to the Mercedes-Benz brand. It also has to convey the values of the Mercedes-Benz brand, down to the last detail. That involves being a luxurious motorcoach, featuring the very best in quality and reliability, with safety as the top priority.”
Handt explained that when members of his design team begin the process of developing a new style of vehicle, they first consider where the vehicle will be used. In the Tourrider’s case, the team carefully examined the current environment within the North America market. That included specific vehicle concepts.
“For instance, with the Tourrider, consider its radiator grill as a prime example of detailed quality. You can see the proportions change from narrow to wide, and you can also see extremely important trim elements, which create a three-dimensional look,” Handt said. “That makes the design both broader and elegant, and expresses a level of quality equal to Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles.
“Aerodynamics is another major issue for travelling coaches. That is why the Tourrider has the breakaway edge at the rear and a more pronounced v-shape at the front. It was also very important that the interior of the vehicle keeps the promise that the exterior makes. Personally, I find the interior of the Tourrider very inspiring, with its unique sense of spaciousness, created by the broader vehicle. This truly is an exceptional space and amazing to see.”
In the end, Handt explained that Tourrider’s design consists of many small components, which create a greater whole.
“When you look at this product, you see the passion that has been invested. That makes us proud,” Handt said. “We feel the Tourrider, designed for the North American market, is an extremely luxurious traveling coach.”
COMFORT IS KEY
When designing the Tourrider, one main goal was to build a vehicle that provides maximum comfort for both the driver and passengers. For drivers, the Tourrider Premium offers the functional Comfort Plus cockpit, while the Tourrider Business features the Basic Plus cockpit. Both cockpits are ergonomically designed, and offer a wide range of practical and innovative functions.
“The adjustability of the multi-function steering wheel and the driver’s seat of both models make it possible to create ample space for the driver,” Dönmez said. “In addition to heated seats, an active ventilation function is also available for drivers. When the driver is comfortable, there is a greater opportunity for him/her to better perform a job that comes with high responsibility.
“As far as the driver’s workplace is concerned, aerodynamics and user-friendliness were the main focus points of development from the very beginning.”
Rohde noted the global driver shortage is well documented, and is the biggest challenge for many within the transportation industry.
“Mercedes-Benz is committed to offering drivers a truly great place to work,” Rohde said. “With high-end driver seats, climate control options, a modern cockpit, great visibility, and, most importantly, outstanding driving characteristics, drivers will be thrilled steering the Tourrider.”
Dönmez added ample storage space with both models will add to the comfort of driver and passengers — even on long journeys. Quality seating is also part of the comfort equation.
“Both Tourrider Premium and Business seats feature maximum comfort due to high-quality design and in-house manufacturing. The seats are available with adjustable comfort headrests,” Dönmez said. “Both Tourrider models are also equipped with the latest mass media systems, including internet access and streaming opportunities.”
FIRST AND FOREMOST
Safety is a core brand value of Mercedes-Benz, and includes next-generation assistance systems. Onboard the new Tourrider coach, a multitude of proven and upgraded safety and assistance systems guarantee drivers, passengers and other road users optimum protection. Additional protection is provided by a robust stainless steel body with integrated Front Collision Guard and energy-absorbing bumpers.
Proven and newly developed systems — such as Active Brake Assist 5, the ESP stability program, and the 360° camera — underpin the Mercedes-Benz brand’s uncompromising commitment to safety.
The new Tourrider provides the following advanced safety systems:
- The ABA 5 supports the driver during an imminent collision with stationary and moving objects, including pedestrians. If a collision is imminent, the ABA 5 can carry out automatic emergency braking within the system’s limits. The system can thus reduce or, in ideal conditions, completely prevent accidents.
As a further development of ABA 4, the ABA 5 combines the use of radar and camera. Thanks to sensor fusion, the system can now react to people crossing, approaching or running in their own lane with an automated emergency stop within the system limits up to a vehicle speed of 30 mph (50 km/h). This also applies to pedestrians who walk in front of the vehicle, who are detected by the system while moving, and then suddenly stop.
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with ABA 5 relieves the driver by maintaining a constant distance — defined by the driver — from the vehicle ahead, based on continuous measurements. In doing so, ABA 5 additionally supports the driver in case of an imminent collision with stationary objects, moving objects and moving pedestrians.
- Sideguard Assist is a safety assistance system that supports the driver in critical cornering situations, where visibility on the right side (curb side) may be limited. When turning or changing lanes, the system is designed to help avoid critical situations within the system boundaries or reduce the consequences of accidents.
The function of the system and the warning concept were established based on the analysis of accidents while cornering that involved pedestrians and cyclists. In the majority of accident scenarios, the accident happens from the movement of both parties involved (vehicle and pedestrian/cyclist). In these cases, the system provides early information (yellow display) about moving persons or vehicles in a zone beside and over the entire length of the vehicle, and then warns as soon as the situation becomes critical (red).
- With the aid of a camera, the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) detects when the vehicle unintentionally leaves a marked lane. As soon as the vehicle crosses the markings, the driver is warned by a vibration on the corresponding side of the driver’s seat.
The LDWS is activated from a speed of 40 mph (60 km/h). The lane assist system is switched off when the turn signal is activated, for example when the driver initiates a deliberate lane change. The system can be deactivated in the ICUC menu, e.g. in a construction site.
- The 360° camera system consists of four cameras that capture the immediate vehicle environment and generate an indirect all-round view. The associated 10” screen is located on the A-pillar above the cockpit. This system allows pedestrians, cyclists and obstacles to be seen even in areas that are otherwise not visible to the driver. In this way, the system increases road safety, as collision hazards can be detected and, at best, prevented.
The system evaluates images from the following cameras for this purpose: rear-view camera (below the rear window); front camera (below the windshield); and two side cameras (above the side windows). The function is limited in case of heavy rain, snowfall or heavy soiling of the cameras. The screen is divided into two sections. This provides five different views to choose from. A corresponding selection menu is available on the screen.
- The Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) significantly reduces the risk of the vehicle skidding and overturning. That is done by counteracting the vehicle’s breakaway or overturning through targeted braking of individual wheels or by fully braking the vehicle.
High-performance electronics monitor the signals of ESP® sensors, and continuously check whether the driver’s steering intention and the actual motion of the vehicle correspond. If the values differ, the system reduces the engine torque to restore the vehicle’s balance and stability. If that is not sufficient, it additionally brakes individual wheels or the entire vehicle. The driver’s deceleration request is respected at all times.
- By constantly comparing data, the Brake Assist System (BAS) continuously detects the speed at which the brake pedal is pressed. If this exceeds the usual level, the system automatically provides additional braking force within fractions of a second. During such situations this significantly shortens the stopping distance of the coach.
The control unit also takes into account the speed, as well as the load, of the coach. The BAS is a software function that builds on, or uses, the sensors and actuators of the EBS (Electro-Pneumatic Braking System). Interventions by the BAS can lead to the intervention of other stability control systems, e.g. ABS.
- The High Beam Assistant automatically switches the high beams on or off depending on traffic, so that optimum illumination of the road is always ensured. When active, the system contributes to greater safety through improved lighting conditions and optimized illumination, and increases driving comfort and safety.
The function can be activated or deactivated. It is active from a speed of approximately 20 mph (35 km/h) and is automatically deactivated below a speed of approximately 15 mph (27 km/h). The function adapts to the illumination/brightness of the surroundings (no automatic switching on if there is sufficient street lighting).
- A rain sensor and automatic headlights are assistance systems that activate automated functions by means of a sensor system and relieve the driver of routine tasks. The rain sensor increases traffic safety, especially when driving in convoys, through individually adjustable, automated wiping functions. A light sensor increases road safety by automatically switching on the driving lights depending on the current lighting conditions, and thus improving the visibility of the roadway.
EFFICIENT SERVICE NETWORK
IN PLACE FOR TOURRIDER
Daimler Coaches North America has an efficient and comprehensive service network in place throughout the United States and Canada for the Mercedes-Benz Tourrider Premium and Business models. Operators can rely on more than 650 Detroit Diesel service locations and 21 Mercedes-Benz/Setra coach service centers.
“We understand that, as entrepreneurs, motorcoach operators have to keep an eye on day-to-day costs. Their coaches serve a dual purpose — move people and bring revenue to the company,” Rohde said. “It’s important to help our customers keep vehicles on the road and idle time at a minimum. That involves service and spare parts supply.
“When it comes to service, select Detroit Diesel distributors have been qualified to perform full motorcoach service and warranty work on Mercedes-Benz and Setra coaches. Whether it’s engine or transmission work, whether it’s electrics or electronics, those workshop locations will offer genuine one-stop service.
“At Daimler Coaches North America, we understand that an operator’s business is unique, and so is the operator’s needs. That is why we strongly believe in local partnerships between the operator and our service locations. We also understand the challenge of delivering spare parts in a fast and reliable way, into every corner of the country. That is why we have joined forces with Daimler Trucks North America, the leading manufacturer for heavy-duty trucks and school buses, to integrate our coach parts into their spare parts network.”
Rohde added nine Daimler Trucks North America regional distribution centers now carry not only parts for Freightliner, Thomas Built and Detroit Diesel, but also Mercedes-Benz and Setra coaches — all ready to be delivered to specific locations.
According to Drew Backeberg, Senior Vice President of Aftermarket at Daimler Trucks North America, “We understand how critical up-time is to delivering a world-class customer experience. We listen intently to feedback from our customers, and they all say the same thing, ‘Regardless of whether it is a car, truck or coach, the world’s greatest vehicle is irrelevant if there is no way to reliably get that vehicle serviced.’
“We know that when the unexpected happens, motorcoach operators need the confidence that they will be backed by a strong supply chain that can deliver parts wherever, and whenever, needed. Our parts distribution centers in the United States and Canada have decades of experience handling and distributing 100,000 stock parts at any given time — from within a total of 3.5 million square feet of warehousing space.”
Backeberg added that Daimler Trucks North America’s distribution network is integrated and optimized for rapid deployment, with over 160 trucks moving parts to dealers every day.
“We have a mature network in place, one that has strategically been expanded and reinforced to provide the right parts, the right processes and the right systems to meet the needs of North American motorcoach operators,” Backeberg said. “Customers initially buy our products because they are some of the best in the world, and then return due to the world-class support we provide, allowing them to keep the world moving.
“Whether hauling freight or people, together with Daimler Coaches North America, we are the one-stop shop for parts and service.”
Till added: “Let me re-emphasize one idea that is really important to all of us at Daimler Buses. We want you, the North American motorcoach operator, to be successful. That is our main driving force, our main purpose, and why we have made changes within the U.S. market with our Mercedes-Benz Tourrider. We feel it’s a strong commitment that involves quality, safety and reliability. We are really proud, and happy, to offer such a commitment to our customers.”
Visit mercedes-benz-bus.com for more information.