The world premiere of the new Setra ComfortClass 500
A vehicle concept, optimised through and through
With its progressive design, passenger comfort and unparalleled safety systems, the Setra ComfortClass 500 appeals to young and old alike. It is a perfect fit for all coach operators who know exactly how to implement their business model in a profitable manner, while also appealing to a younger customer base. The Setra ComfortClass 500 requires no compromises on the part of coach operators, allowing them to take advantage of a completely optimised vehicle which is tailored exactly to the specific application.
New design with soft lines
Building on the tried-and-tested market values of efficiency, comfort and safety, the new ComfortClass 500 vehicle generation boasts a redeveloped design. The curved aluminium trim with the new decorative element at the B-pillar of the ComfortClass 500 is a striking feature when viewed from the side. A gently rising and falling line completely encircles the fully redesigned vehicle. At the front, it imparts a friendly face which captures all of the aerodynamic requirements with prominent lines and soft surfaces. The contours, including the reshaped exterior mirrors, were tested and improved for the first time in the development history of Setra vehicles in the company's own wind tunnel located in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.
Salient features of ComfortClass 500 coaches are the more powerful sides, the long roof slope at the front and the substantially more rounded windscreen, which runs down as far as the front logo panel. One of the most visible innovations on the ComfortClass 500 are the newly designed front headlamps equipped with standard LED daytime running lamps and H7 dipped-beam headlamps. The redesigned reflectors provide enhanced illumination of the area ahead of the vehicle for even greater safety. The ComfortClass 500 also offers optional bi-xenon headlamps. Setra's signature yellow direction indicators feature tried-and-tested LED technology, eliminating the need to change the bulbs during the entire service life of the touring coach. The new, modular-design headlamps and indicator segments with distinctive trim elements underscore the trademark elements of high quality and reliability and gently introduce the encircling lines, which sweep upwards into the side areas like wings.
A striking element on the sides of the vehicle is the dynamic, upwards-sloping beltline, which bears the three-dimensional brand emblem with its gleaming silver Setra logo and forms the base which supports the striking C-pillar. Its downwards-sloping styling in the area of the engine bay also serves to highlight to the new drivetrain visually. The aerodynamic rear section also adds to the new look of the ComfortClass 500.
Since the fitting of the new Euro VI drivetrain required a new ventilation system in the engine bay, the designers intentionally opted for an asymmetrical styling of the functional rear hatch with an opening on the right side only, which underlines the new engine bay layout.
A highlight of the upgraded rear section with the large window and Setra logo at the bottom is the restyled lighting units with brake lamps, side marker lamps and indicator lamps at the top of the rear section and a large LED unit at the bottom. The rear lamp cluster is equipped with a tail lamp in the shape of a "light curtain", an edge light serving as the brake lamp and a passive element on the side. Separate fog lamps and reversing lamps are integrated into the bumper. Another additional LED reversing lamp in the side section of the vehicle bathes the entire rear section from the rear axle onwards in white light, giving the driver an even better view towards the rear.
Aerodynamic styling lowers fuel consumption
A 20 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag contributes significantly to a fuel reduction of up to five percent. In conjunction with the new aerodynamic rear section, and also additional individual measures, the ComfortClass 500 achieves a drag coefficient of 0.33, a figure that up to now would have been considered unattainable in this segment. The engineers designed the front of the ComfortClass 500 with larger radii for the roof slope. The A-pillar was also redesigned, enabling the flow loss on the front surface to be reduced significantly and placing the air flow in this area on the vehicle body. This was achieved in part by giving the previously rectangular profile of the mirror arm a more aerodynamic form on the new vehicles. The aerodynamic engineers incorporated trendsetting modifications in the rear section as well. New styling with a tapered design of both the roof at the rear and the side section centres the air flow on the vehicle for as long as possible. Finally, the newly designed rear edge ensures a turbulent flow of air behind the vehicle, thereby reducing aerodynamic losses.
World first in coachbuilding: Aquablade
Also contributing to the improved aerodynamic drag is the new Aquablade windscreen wiper system at the front end, which directs the washer fluid immediately in front of the wiper lip of the clipless wiper blade. The water passage is integrated in the Aquablade, guaranteeing an even distribution of the washer fluid. Measuring 1000 millimetres in length, the wiper blades in conjunction with the Aquablade represent a world first in the coachbuilding industry.
Wider entrance area
The soft lines of the exterior are carried over into the cockpit and the passenger compartment of the ComfortClass 500. The interplay of individual equipment details helps form a harmonious union of comfort and quality, form and colour. In the ComfortClass 500, touring comfort was not sacrificed to save space, rather space was increased through an integrated approach. This is particularly evident at the front, three-stepped entrance area, which has been noticeably widened thanks to a front-end extension.
On the right-hand side, next to the tour guide's seat, the ComfortClass 500 is equipped with an additional stowage box for brochures and information material. On the side opposite the entrance, a handrail harmoniously follows the flow of the steps with a curved form which extends into the cockpit area. In the two-toned cockpit, the entrance area is styled in "greige", a colour combination consisting of the colours grey and beige. This lends a warm note to the new generation of vehicles and extends throughout the passenger compartment. The steps in the front section up as far as the driver's workplace measure a comfortable 184 mm, and 220 mm from there on into the aisle. This step design in conjunction with the higher base frame made it possible to do away with the sloping aisle at the front of the vehicle. The steps at the rear entrance are 250 mm high.
Ergonomic: the new cockpit in the ComfortClass 500
Quick and easy ways to access the controls, an optimised seating position, ergonomically improved, suspended pedals and an improved overview will now make the driver's work easier. The developers have also took the driver's many tools into their functional considerations and created space for additional stowage options. The stowage compartment in the centre console also provides added space. The centrepiece of the redesigned cockpit is the high-resolution, high-quality colour display with four round dial instruments. The developers also redesigned the layout of buttons and arrangement of individual switch elements on the instrument panel in the cockpit. Everything's in the right place. Quick, sophisticated control is provided by the new "Stacks&Cards" system, which enables efficient navigation between individual menu groups (stacks, such as route information or current vehicle data, for example) and their submenus (cards). Another novelty in the ComfortClass 500 is a steering wheel keypad with enhanced functionality, making it possible to eliminate switches on the instrument panel. The steering column in the ComfortClass 500 is slightly raised electropneumatically, and the driver's cockpit, has also been raised slightly by 50 mm to 910 mm, giving the driver a superb overview of traffic conditions.
Coach Multimedia System: harmonious appearance and functionality
The standard Coach Multimedia System (CMS) stands for state-of-the-art entertainment, information and functionality. It is based on two components: the integrated Bosch Coach Communications Center (CCC) and the expanded Coach System Extension (CSX). The CSX is a bus-specific control unit in the standard package which makes use of a series of buttons for controlling the spatial separation of function and sound – in the case of volume control, for example – between the driver's area and the passenger compartment. The ComfortClass 500 is also equipped with a commercial-vehicle-specific navigation system as standard. The system allows manual input of vehicle height, width and length and suggests appropriate routes based on this information.
The new luggage compartments – open for anything
The interior floor-to-ceiling height in the ComfortClass 500 has grown from 1990 mm to 2100 mm. The design contour of the air duct opens outwards towards the side window. This means more light in the vehicle interior and a better view out of the side windows. The new generation of vehicles continues to make use of the proven system of open luggage compartments, now more easily accessible and with more stowage space. There is even enough space in them for a ski helmet. A further highlight of the ComfortClass 500 can be found at the front of the coach: a new, stepped front dome featuring the Setra logo and a panoramic smoked-glass window.
The new fabric ceiling: elegant and practical
Above the passengers' heads, a continuous fabric ceiling spans the centre aisle – an absolute first in the coachbuilding industry. The new concept makes the ceiling landscape appear to be a continuous surface, with a light colour which reinforces the new sense of spaciousness in the coach. Here too, Setra makes durability a priority: special climatic tests showed that the tautness of the fabric pieces attached to aluminium sections remains intact over a long vehicle service life even at different temperatures.
Modular adjustable service sets
New in the ComfortClass 500: the speakers are arranged on a dedicated track in the air duct. Separated from the service sets, they are built into the air duct at the level of the window columns, thereby ensuring uniform sound throughout the entire passenger compartment. The reading lights are located behind a closed disc and are aimed directly at the respective passenger seat. The standard LED reading lights and air nozzles have a modular layout on the "service track" and can be adjusted to suit any given seating distribution. This new, patented system provides a significant advantage for the coach operator, who, in the event of a reconfiguration, can easily adapt the controls to the new seating layout using existing components. This makes it easy to reconfigure the ComfortClass 500 from 4-star to 3-star seating in a second coach life without any ceiling intervention. In addition to the main lighting at the service sets, ambient lighting imparts an exceptional sense of spaciousness.
The length concept: payload-friendly and made-to-measure
ComfortClass 500 coaches have grown and are now 95 mm longer than their predecessors. The new S 515 HD, for example, measures 12,295 mm in length while retaining the same width of 2550 mm. The total vehicle height is 3770 mm, including the roof-mounted air conditioning system. The S 516 HD is 13,115 mm long, and the S 517 HD measures 13,935 mm. The wheelbase has increased by ten millimetres and the overhang at the front has grown by 70 mm, whereas the front angle of approach has remained unchanged at seven degrees. The rear departure angle is 6.9 degrees on all HD variants. The base frame of the vehicles has been raised by 40 mm compared with the previous model series. This results in a greater luggage compartment volume, which has increased from 8.4 to 8.5 m³, and could even reach 9.7 m³ without a lavatory. Even when equipped with a lavatory and a driver's berth, passengers still have a luggage space of 6.9 m³ at their disposal.
More dynamics and improved safety with less weight
Aerodynamic engineers and designers gave the ComfortClass 500 its dynamic and elegant shape at an early phase of the project. The supporting structure and body include a whole host of weight-reducing measures which add up to an all-round efficient and safe touring coach. The bodyshell is still based on tried and tested circumferential annular frame members, but features a substantially stiffer design, thanks to innovative lightweight structures with new node elements and optimized column cross sections. Targeted use of high-strength steel guarantees effective passenger protection, such that all models of the ComfortClass 500 already fully comply with all aspects of the stricter European ECE R66/01 regulation which will come into force in 2017. This guideline specifically defines the occupant survival space which must be ensured in the event of a rollover, while taking significant payloads into account. Introduced in 2007, the Front Collision Guard (FCG), a passive safety system designed to protect the driver and tour guide, has undergone further development for the ComfortClass 500 and is now integrated into the vehicle skeleton.
New tyre pressure monitoring – a well-rounded system
The new ComfortClass 500 has got the lot, in the truest sense of the word. The new tyre pressure monitoring system, which shows the current tyre pressure on the cockpit display at the driver's request, delivers significantly more comfort, a better overview and greater safety. The inside cover of the wheel trim on the ComfortClass 500 can be removed with a single turn, allowing the driver and service staff to access the wheel nuts and tyre valves with even greater ease.
Responsive level control
The ComfortClass 500 comes equipped with a new, extremely responsive electronic level control system. By electronically lowering the vehicle body by 20 millimetres at speeds above 95 km/h, aerodynamic drag is reduced, resulting in noticeable fuel savings with the same smooth ride. The vehicle is raised again when the speed returns to below 70 km/h.
Resilient shock absorber link
ComfortClass 500 stands for significantly greater ride comfort for the passengers. This is ensured by a resilient shock absorber link which easily absorbs short, sudden impacts. A stiffer design means the steering is less vulnerable to vibrations. With their more direct steering ratio, the new-generation three-axle vehicles offer the driver even more precise steering characteristics, reducing the need for corrective action in future.
Electronic brake system puts the pressure on
The electronics for the new brake system, in conjunction with an advanced conventional, pneumatic-mechanical air compressor, have been integrated into the vehicle's new electronics architecture. The new, electronically controlled compressed air conditioning system reduces fuel consumption while lengthening service intervals.
Improved safety systems
Alongside the proven active safety systems, the ComfortClass 500 is available with an optional emergency brake assistant with enhanced functionality and Attention Assist, a first in the touring coach industry. The advanced Active Brake Assist (ABA2) with a new radar sensor decelerates the touring coach even upon detecting stationary objects. The adaptive cruise control system is responsible for maintaining a preselected distance. This is accomplished by a sensor which scans the area in front of the touring coach every 66 milliseconds. Previously, whenever there was no vehicle in front, the system operated as a regular cruise control system, switching off automatically at speeds below 15 km/h. Not so with the ComfortClass 500, in which the adaptive cruise control system is now also available with the enhanced functionality of the stop assist system. This system remains active at lower speeds and brings the coach from a standstill to the desired distance control function at any time, even in stop-start traffic.
ATAS keeps an eye on the driver
A coach-industry first is the innovative use of Attention Assist (ATAS). Based on specific criteria, such as steering movements and braking activity, activation of the direction indicator, vehicle speed and time of day, the system continually retrieves information about the driver's condition. Attention Assist infers the driver's ability to react as well as the level of fatigue based on the correlation between the information gleaned and the adapted driver profile. If a defined model value is exceeded, an electronic signal causes the driver's seat to vibrate ‒ unbeknown to the passengers.
With Euro VI into a new future
The engine in the ComfortClass 500 is a vertically mounted in-line six-cylinder from the OM 470 model range. From an engine capacity of 10.7 l, it develops 315 kW (425 hp) at 1800 rpm, reaching its peak torque of 2100 Nm at 1100 rpm. These figures and the power characteristic of the new engine guarantee superb performance. The engine employs the unique X-PULSE common-rail injection system with pressure booster, enabling extremely precise fuel injection with cylinder-selective timing, high injection pressures of up to 2100 bar and an injection characteristic which can be freely modulated. This is the prerequisite for low fuel consumption, low exhaust emissions and smooth engine running.
Further advantages come from the efficient, significantly more powerful three-phase engine brake and the asymmetrical exhaust turbocharger, which provides a quick response to movements of the accelerator pedal despite exhaust gas recirculation, making for agile handling. The torque characteristic of the new engine allows for unusually low, fuel-saving rpms. Alongside its eager acceleration, the engine proves impressive with its low-speed power, which reaches its full torque of 2100 Nm at engine speeds as low as 1000 rpm.
New GO 250-8 PowerShift gearbox
Along with the engines, Setra is introducing the new eight-speed GO 250-8 PowerShift manual transmission in the ComfortClass 500. The fully automated unit is based on the time-tested GO 240-8 PowerShift transmission. As previously, drivers benefit from the progressive spacing of the gearbox as well as fast, uniformly smooth gearshifts. The gear ratio spread ranges as usual from 6.57 in first gear to 0.63 in the highest gear. Another innovative feature is the gearshift mechanism of the GO 250-8 PowerShift in the form of a well-designed steering-column lever which encompasses all functions.
Crawling mode and new water retarder
The gearbox has a new crawling mode, similar to torque-converter gearboxes. It enables responsive manoeuvring at idling speeds. The newly integrated retarder achieves braking torques of up to 3500 Nm. Designed as a secondary retarder, it uses engine coolant as a braking and cooling medium. This eliminates the previously required oil/water heat exchanger, along with the need to change the retarder oil. Yet another new feature is the largely wear and maintenance-free clutch operation.
Combined equipment packages
Alongside countless innovations in the areas of technology, comfort and safety, the new ComfortClass 500 concept also includes for the first time exclusive equipment packages tailored precisely to the requirements of coach operators, drivers and passengers. The "cockpit package", with a focus on comfort, features optional equipment for the driver's cockpit, including an Isringhausen driver's seat with a height-adjustable three-point seatbelt, a leather steering wheel with decorative inlays, numerous additional stowage compartments and other design decor.
The "view package" provides a combination of safety features. Among other things, the package includes bi-xenon headlamps for dipped beams and main beams as well as a reversing camera. Also in the category of safety is the "assistance systems package", which includes the lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, Active Brake Assist (ABA) with additional stop-start traffic function, Attention Assist (ATAS) and the tyre pressure monitoring system.
Setra milestones and innovations
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