The new NEOPLAN Skyliner – an unmatched standard of travel
23.09.2010 - 14:49

German version

The new NEOPLAN Skyliner – an unmatched standard of travel
NEOPLAN allows first view of new double-decker coach generation at IAA.

The new NEOPLAN Skyliner

At the IAA in 2010, NEOPLAN will continue the over forty year long success story of the double-decker coach when it previews the new Skyliner. As the founder of the double-decker coach class in 1964, the Skyliner looks back not only at a long tradition but also at great popularity with the customer: more than four thousand Skyliners are on the road around the world, opening up a unique dimension of luxury coach travel to their passengers. Dynamic, elegant and packed full of innovations: in the new Skyliner, which can be delivered from the beginning of 2012, the exclusive premium brand from MAN Nutzfahrzeuge continues with a new chapter in the successful history of the double-decker coach.

When giving the new NEOPLAN Skyliner its exterior form, the designers oriented themselves towards the traditional features of the double-decker coach, but their interpretation of them is radically new. The forward-thrusting window columns are typical of the NEOPLAN, as are the dynamically upswept two-part windscreen, the horizontal ventilation grilles of the engine compartment flap and the rear bumper – design elements reminiscent of predecessors but interpreted in a modern fashion. At the same time, new stylistic elements such as the visor look of the forebody, the dynamically-angled wheel arches, the striking rear end with its V-shaped window and chromed panel as well as the clear-glass headlights identify the Skyliner as a member of the current NEOPLAN family. With its skilful mix of curves and edges such as the diamond cut of the windows along the edge of the roof and its smooth, consistent lines, the Skyliner assimilates the prize-winning "Sharp Cut Design" of its NEOPLAN siblings, the Starliner and the Cityliner. The Skyliner's new window line stretches the bodywork, while the curvature of the upper windscreen, the rounded rear end with its taperings and the upward angled skylights make the double-decker coach appear less weighty, while conveying a dynamic and simultaneously elegant impression to the vehicle, despite its 13.99-m length and a height of 4.00 metres.
Rear view

The new Skyliner also cuts a fine figure in the wind tunnel: the large front radii, the windscreen curved through three dimensions, the seamlessly smooth bodywork, doors and hatches set flush and the rear with its lateral taperings and defined separation edge all combine to produce a drag coefficient equivalent to that of a modern medium-class van. The Skyliner's sophisticated aerodynamics reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission as well as decreasing wind noise for the passengers.

Space and light – the Skyliner's interior leaves nothing to be desired

The Skyliner's developers paid special attention to the interior, which offers space for up to 83 + 2 seats. The requirement specifications called for maximum freedom of movement for the passengers, a feeling of spaciousness combined with outstanding visibility in all directions and a bright, friendly atmosphere. These objectives were achieved with the help of many innovations and design ideas, which were consistently implemented in the new Skyliner.

The skylight concept, well-known from the Starliner and further developed for the Skyliner, makes for ideal visibility and a bright upper deck. The NEOPLAN-typical side windows extending up into the roof make an additional contribution, as well as increasing headroom above the outermost row of seats and making it even easier for passengers to get up. The big skylight in the roof dome is an extra for the passengers in the front row - at around half a square metre, it turns the front row into a mobile panoramic terrace. In addition, the glazed emergency exits also add to the incomparably bright and friendly atmosphere. Headroom of 1,680 mm and spacious stowage racks turn the Skyliner's upper deck into an exclusive travel zone, every inch a member of the VIP Class.

The designers were highly successful in creating a feeling of space on the Skyliner's lower deck, which has 1,810-mm headroom: additional triangular windows behind the doors let even more light into the ground floor. A transparent dividing wall provides the necessary separation of the driver's workplace from the stairs to the upper deck. This allows more light into the interior than the previous, closed-off solution and at the same time makes the stairway even brighter.

In order to meet the high expectations of the new Skyliner's passengers in terms of comfort, the double-decker coach has a completely newly developed air-conditioning system. The usual air-conditioning unit in the rear now services only the upper deck, while the lower deck has two evaporators of its own, located left and right above the front wheels. And: thanks to the separate systems, temperatures on the upper and lower decks can be individually regulated better than ever before. The driver is now able to regulate with precision the different temperatures that suit passengers on the upper deck (rest area) and lower deck (communication and catering). Impressive: the two air-conditioning systems together deliver a cooling performance of 56 kW, which is almost 40 percent more than in the previous model. The diameters of the air ducts in the roof have been increased to enable a 25-percent greater throughflow, so that the air, which is at just the right temperature, effectively reaches the passengers.

The new air-conditioning concept even benefits the Skyliner's baggage compartment: because the air ducts to the lower deck (and the big rear overhang) are now superfluous, it was possible to increase the volume of the baggage compartment again relative to its predecessor. Depending on the vehicle configuration there are from nine to over eleven cubic metres available for the passengers' baggage – the biggest amount of space on the market. The baggage compartment can be accessed from both sides, and on demand, also from the on-board galley. It is largely free of uneven surfaces and edges.

The most modern technology for top ride comfort and safety

Great strength at low weight – this is what distinguishes the bodywork of the new NEOPLAN Skyliner. Weight-optimised tubing of high-strength steel form the supporting frame, which is reliably protected against corrosion by cathodic dip painting. The stable passenger cell has solid rollover bars integrated front and rear, which will absorb most of the laterally-acting forces in the event of the vehicle turning over. The forebody of the new Skyliner was developed along the lines of NEOPLAN's Cityliner and Starliner models and can absorb significantly more energy than its predecessor – just in case.

But to make sure that this never occurs, the new Skyliner is equipped with a large number of safety systems: the list of standard and optional features ranges from an anti-locking braking system (ABS), braking assistant (BA), electronically-controlled braking system (EBS) and maximum speed control (MSC) to automatic cruise control (ACC) and the lane guard system (LGS).

The new Skyliner's high level of driving dynamics and safety is a result of tried and trusted suspension modules from MAN production: in front, independent wheel suspension suitable for a low-floor vehicle and with a very good steering angle, at the rear, the proven MAN hypoid axle in combination with an electronically steered trailing axle. NEOPLAN was one of the first bus manufacturers to introduce this suspension, which is specially adapted to double-deckers and has been used successfully for years. It contributes to the great manoeuvrability of the Skyliner and also reduces wear on the tyres.

For the first time, a double-decker is being offered with electronically controlled comfort drive suspension (CDS), which improves both ride comfort and safety. Electronically controlled dampers react with lightning speed and adjust the hardness and intensity of the damping to changing load and driving situations in a matter of milliseconds. Particularly in a coach four metres high, CDS can really show off its safety advantages: any rolling movements of the body are considerably reduced thanks to CDS, the vehicle stays on course when cornering and when full, and, in conjunction with the ESP fitted as standard, it is always safely under control.

The new Skyliner is propelled powerfully yet economically by the 505-hp (371-kW) MAN D26 common-rail engine, which, thanks to MAN PURE DIESEL® technology, requires no additives to comply with the EEV emission standard, currently the strictest standard there is. As standard, power from the engine is transmitted to the rear axle via an automated transmission: the MAN TipMatic® Coach, with its special manoeuvring mode and EasyStart for pulling away, changes gear fast, precisely and extremely comfortably.

Starting early next year, selected customers will be running the first of the new NEOPLAN Skyliners in field trials. In 2012 the luxury double-decker coach will go into series production.

Photos and text:
MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH


gedruckt am 13.08.2022 - 05:59