The new Mercedes-Benz Intouro is an economical high-floor vehicle which has been specially designed for rural-service applications such as excursions, rural regular-service use and regular school-bus services. It is manufactured by Daim-lerChrysler’s Turkish subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Türk A. S. at the advanced Hoş-dere plant (near Istanbul) which underwent another major expansion in 2005. When it is launched at the beginning of 2007, the Mercedes-Benz Intouro will re-place the successful rural-service variant of the Mercedes-Benz Conecto Ü which has been built for the Turkish and Eastern European markets since 1998.
Available solely as a high-floor vehicle, the design concept of the Mercedes-Benz Intouro is derived directly from the proven range of Mercedes-Benz rural-service bus modules and thus from the Mercedes-Benz Integro. In order to deliver rapid and sustained profitability, the Intouro’s economical purchase and operating costs add up to outstanding value for money. Long-lasting components, robust technol-ogy and a standard equipment package aimed principally at rural-service use are the defining characteristics of the new Intouro fully-equipped bus.
As well as offering attractive value for money, the new Intouro picks up plenty of points for its high resale value, too. This is due principally to its standardised equipment package and the fact that many of its elements are tried and tested in-dividual components and assemblies from the other rural-service bus ranges of-fered by the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit. As a robust "workhorse", built for demanding everyday use, it meets the special requirements of the Eastern European markets for a durable vehicle capable of high mileages on roads which are sometimes in very poor condition. This two-axle, two-door vehicle is available in two lengths (the Intouro, measuring 12.14 m, and the Intouro M, measuring 12.98 m) and seats 55 or 59 passengers, depending on the variant.
Design "Made by Mercedes-Benz"
From the front end to the engine flap, the new Mercedes-Benz Intouro has a com-pletely new and harmonious design, thanks to which it fits perfectly, both visu-ally and technically, into the Mercedes-Benz bus and coach family. The front sec-tion of this attractive rural-service bus, with its individual headlamp units, is characterised by taut lines, an impression which is reinforced by the integral air intake slot in the front moulding as well as by the rounded bumper which can be equipped with integral fog lamps as a special-equipment option. In keeping with its role, the lines of the new Integro are characterised above all by a high degree of practicality. The steeply angled windscreen extends right up to roof level to of-fer optimum visibility as well as sufficient space for the integration of a large des-tination display; this design feature has the additional advantage of allowing the available space to be used to optimum effect.
This new and clearly defined design idiom is also reflected by the side walls which are smooth and easy to clean thanks to their large, flush-bonded side win-dows and slender roof pillars. Like the rear, the side surfaces are ideally suited for the application of the operator’s own lettering or logo. The rear section incor-porates many characteristic styling cues which reflect the fact that the vehicle be-longs to the Mercedes-Benz bus and coach family. A particularly prominent fea-ture of the rear is the rounded form of the rear window, behind which the high-level tail lights are integrated. These light units are a high-quality, visually ap-pealing solution which ensures that the Intouro shares the characteristic look of the brand. The new rear light units frame the engine flap which takes up the for-mal vocabulary of the rear window and demonstrates that a rural-service bus does not have to be boxy and angular. But the design of the rear of the vehicle also functions at a practical level: for example, the new ventilation system prevents run-off rainwater, dust and dirt from entering the engine compartment while the three-part bumper ensures that minor knocks when manoeuvring do not result in major repair costs.
As well as enhancing the looks of the Intouro, the narrow seals on the doors and flaps are indicative of the high quality of the bodyshell, the latter also benefiting in its entirety from the optimum corrosion protection provided by the cathodic dip-priming process.
Economical purchase, operation and maintenance
Numerous measures to reduce the weight of the vehicle, such as the use of new and computer-optimised materials from the touring-coach sector have helped to ensure that the two length variants of the new Mercedes-Benz Intouro weigh less than their comparable predecessor model, the Conecto Ü high-floor bus. The re-duced kerb weight enables a higher payload and, with exactly the same load on board, lower fuel consumption. The long service intervals of up to 60,000 km (en-gine oil change) and the reduced fuel consumption keep operating costs down for the long term.
In contrast to the predecessor model (Conecto Ü), the new Mercedes-Benz Intouro benefits from the functionality provided by the advanced FPS control concept for the onboard electronics. With this system, the vehicle’s electronics are managed by the integration of conventional switching systems with the freely programma-ble control system (FPS) whose modules are networked via a CAN. The FPS con-sists of "intelligent" modules that are decentrally integrated at points of the vehicle where electronic control is required. The advantage of this arrangement is that fewer cables, interfaces and relays are required. As well as ensuring a higher level of operational reliability, this reduction in complexity helps to cut the amount of maintenance required. An integrated diagnostic system enables workshop staff to identify the solution quickly and effectively in the event of a problem, thus reducing vehicle downtime to a minimum.
Also new is the optionally available FMS interface for standardised fleet man-agement. The Fleet Management System (FMS) gives the bus operator access to a complete overview of the technical condition of his/her Intouro bus or the current vehicle operating data. This is made possible by a vehicle-mounted interface, designed to a standardised specification by the leading bus and coach manufacturers, in the form of an FMS socket. The information which can be called up with this system includes the vehicle mileage, fuel consumption and gear-selection statistics.
In order to simplify maintenance and repair work, the front-end flap can be folded down completely. The bumpers at the front of the vehicle with the headlamps and indicators can be replaced individually in the event of damage, as can the three-part rear bumper. Minor damage can thus be repaired quickly and inexpensively.
High standard of ride comfort
The Mercedes-Benz Intouro also sets new standards for ride comfort in its seg-ment. This is ultimately due to the use of high-quality components found in its rural-service stablemates from the Mercedes-Benz Integro model series. The chassis, which features authentic touring-coach technology, has been optimised for the special requirements of rural-service operations and plays a decisive role in the new Intouro’s safe and well-balanced handling. The drive axle is the proven and quiet-running Mercedes-Benz HO6 hypoid axle which is also used in a number of other models, including the Mercedes-Benz Travego and Tourismo touring coaches. The front wheels use the dual-wishbone independent suspension from the new Mercedes-Benz touring coaches and rural-service buses. As well as being safe and comfortable, this design allows very large steering angles (as much as 58 degrees for the wheel on the inside of the curve) which make the vehicle ex-ceptionally manoeuvrable. As a result, the Intouro has a turning circle of just 20.98 m. At 23.12 m, the corresponding figure for the longer variant is similarly favourable.
The new Mercedes-Benz Intouro has a spacious luggage compartment between the axles (with stowage space of 4.7 m³ in the Intouro and 5.7 m³ in the Intouro M). The luggage compartment is equipped with large, hinged flaps for particularly easy access. Full through-loading is possible thanks to the absence of an additional partition in the luggage compartment. The luggage-compartment handles are equipped with integral, long-life LED lights.
More space for the driver, tour guide and passengers
As in all Mercedes-Benz touring coaches and rural-service buses, the length of the front end of the new Mercedes-Benz Intouro has been increased by 140 mm. On the left-hand side, this additional space makes itself felt first and foremost in the driver’s area. On the right-hand side, it is the spacious entrance area, the folding tour-guide seat and the passenger seats that benefit from the extra length. The Intouro is equipped with 900-mm-wide single-leaf, outward-swinging doors at the front and in the centre. Customers have the option of specifying the central door as a 1380-mm-wide two-leaf outward-swinging door – a solution for peak-time regular-service operations or high passenger volumes. The new Intouro is equipped with one halogen spot entry light for each door leaf.
The new Mercedes-Benz Intouro is produced in two lengths. Measuring 12.14 m in length and with a wheelbase of 6080 mm, the Intouro can seat a maximum of 55 passengers. It is complemented by the Intouro M, also with two axles (length 12.98 m, wheelbase 6920 mm) and 59 passenger seats. Both variants measure some 3.36 m in height, have a rear overhang of 3300 mm and make full use of the statutorily permitted width of 2.55 m; this gives passengers more room and creates a pleasant sense of spaciousness on board.
Spacious and distinctive passenger compartment
With its 2.17-m headroom and 2.55-m exterior width, the passenger compartment of the Mercedes-Benz Intouro creates a pleasant sense of openness and spacious-ness. Measuring some 500 mm in width, the aisle allows the passengers suffi-cient space to reach their seats easily and comfortably. The 12-metre variant of the Intouro can carry a maximum of 55 passengers while the Intouro M has space for up to 59 passengers (plus the driver in both cases).
The "Inter-Star Eco" passenger seats – an all-new design specially developed for the new rural-service bus – are mounted on 170-mm-high bases. Thanks to the modular design of the backrest, these high-strength seats are available in different heights. Comfortably upholstered and offering a pleasant degree of lateral support, they also have a visually appealing shape and feature slender head restraints which improve the view for the passengers and contribute to the airy, spacious feel of the interior. Grab handles are fitted on the rear or the aisle side of the backrest. As the double seats are attached to C-rails on the side walls, the space between the seats can be adjusted as required with minimal effort. The Mercedes-Benz Intouro and the Mercedes-Benz Intouro M can also be specified with the particularly comfortable "Inter-Star Plus" or "Travel-Star Eco" seating in order to provide the seating comfort of a touring coach.
A powerful heating and ventilation system which can be controlled electronically from the driver’s area creates a pleasant travelling climate aboard the new rural-service bus and can be controlled independently for the driver’s area and passenger compartment; heat distribution aboard the bus is provided by blower heaters. Operators who wish to offer their passengers even more of a touring-coach experience can specify the Intouro with optional luggage racks above the passenger seats and a powerful rooftop air conditioning system with an output of 26 kW.
Ergonomically designed driver’s area with well thought-out stowage concept
Like the centre aisle, the driver’s area of the new Intouro rural-service bus is situated 860 mm above the road surface. As in all Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches, the newly designed cockpit, whose appearance is based on the driver’s area of the Mercedes-Benz touring coaches, places particular emphasis on meeting the needs of the driver and follows ergonomic principles. All the controls are arranged within easy reach in a semicircle in front of the driver. Immediately ahead of the driver, the instrument cluster features a large, clearly legible speed-ometer and rev counter. The central digital display provides the driver with the key information required for the task in hand. Easy, unobstructed access to the driver’s area is ensured by the adjustable steering column which is released by means of a pneumatic system.
Spacious stowage compartments are situated to the left of the driver’s area along with an open stowage tray on a base and – also within easy reach – the parking brake which is integrated in the new side panelling. An optional refrigerator with a capacity of 50 litres can be installed in the right-hand section of the instrument panel within the driver’s field of vision.
Powerful and economical Euro-4 engines with Blue-Tec diesel technology
Both variants of the Mercedes-Benz Intouro are driven by a vertically mounted Mercedes-Benz OM 926 LA six-cylinder in-line diesel engine with a displacement of 7.2 litres. In its standard form, it has an output of 210 kW (285 hp) and maxi-mum torque of 1120 Nm at an engine speed of 1200 – 1600 rpm. The powerful turbodiesel engine with Blue-Tec diesel technology based on the SCR principle complies with the EU’s Euro-4 emissions standard. It is characterised not only by its low pollutant emissions, but also by its highly economical operating profile re-sulting from its low fuel consumption. Positioned centrally, the engine can be accessed easily for maintenance work. Power transmission is performed by a Mercedes-Benz GO 110 six-speed manual transmission.
Active and passive safety features
As in every bus and coach from Mercedes-Benz, safety is very much a priority in the Mercedes-Benz Intouro. Whereas the Conecto Ü, the comparable predecessor model, still had drum brakes, the new Intouro is equipped as standard with disc brakes all round. In order to reduce service and maintenance costs, all the wheels are equipped with identical brake discs. The new rural-service bus is equipped as standard with the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and acceleration skid control (ASR). It is also possible to specify the Intouro with a hydrodynamic Voith retarder as a wear-free solution which reduces the demands made on the service brake.
The passive safety offered by the Intouro is enhanced significantly by the design of the bodyshell, which uses a system of annular frame members consisting of a series of transverse tubular elements connected by means of side members. This gives the vehicle a high level of torsional stiffness. The bodyshell skeleton goes through a cathodic dip priming process, in the course of which it is completely immersed in order to ensure that it is primed comprehensively and thus provided with optimum corrosion protection.
Like all other Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches, the Intouro can call on the tight-knit, Europe-wide Omniplus service network, as well as on the many Mercedes-Benz authorised dealers and company-owned sales and service outlets.