Sitting in a luxurious soft leather armchair seats, sipping on chilled beer served from the bistro and looking out of the panoramic glass roof as the European landscape flashes by, on the way to the port of Rotterdam. Luxurious seats with adjustable luxury head restraints, individually adjustable leg rests and a sixteen seat restaurant serving warm breakfast and beer. Does this match your description of a bus? Yes, that’s a SETRA S 531 DT from the makers of Maybach.

Setra is the luxury bus brand from Daimler. The above description is for their Bistro Top Class buses. These buses are offered as long distance double decker buses with seating for up to 68 passengers. Incidentally, the bus described above seats 42 passengers on the upper deck under a panoramic glass roof. Want to stretch your legs, walk down to the Bistro on the lower deck which seats 16 at tables. The bistro has a kitchenette, freezer. toilet and trolley stowage for the meal service. There is enough space to stow wheelchairs behind the driver if required.

The S 531 DT is powered by Mercedes-Benz Blue Efficiency engines with Bluetec 6 exhaust gas after treatment. This is a 12 litre, 6 cylinder inline engines with pressure-amplified X-Pulse common rail fuel injection. The engine produces 510 PS of power and hold your breath, 2,500 N-m of torque. The engine transfers the power and torque to the driving wheels of the triple axle bus through a Mercedes-Benz GO 250-8 PowerShift 3 automatic transmission.

The front suspension of the bus has independent suspension with anti-roll bars. The driving axle has anti-roll bar while the trailing axle has an independent suspension with active steering. The front and rear suspensions can be raised and lowered independently. Stopping power is provided by pneumatic disc brakes on all wheels. From safety point of view, all acronyms have been provided, ie, ESP, EBS including ABS, ASR, Brake Assist (BAS), retarder, Continuous Braking Limiter (DBL) etc. The Continuous Braking Limiter prevents the vehicle from accelerating beyond a predetermined speed on inclines, thus stabilising the speed. It uses the retarder as a wear-free sustained-action brake. This prevents heating of the standard brake. The retarder is combined with a speed control also. The driver can define a fixed speed, which should not be exceeded on inclines. The system also prevents the bus exceeding the allowed maximum speed of 100 km/h , through warnings in the central display and braking interventions. Driving on inclines is therefore not only made safer but considerably more comfortable.

Life of the driver has also been made easy through the provision of Active Cruise Control including Active Brake Assist 4 and Lane Assist. The Lane Assist feature has a camera is positioned behind the front windscreen which continuously measures the lateral distance to side road markings. If the driver leaves his lane, the system warns him using a directional vibration in the seat cushion. For example, if he inadvertently heads to the right, the seat cushion vibrates on the right side. However, to avoid false alarms, Lane Assist is only active at speeds of 60 km/h or above. This prevents problems along construction sites, where coaches hardly drive at speeds greater than 60 km/h. If the driver consciously changes lanes and puts the blinker on, Lane Assist recognises this and does not give a warning.

Attention Assist to prevent the driver dozing off on long journeys. Attention Assist can detect early signs of driver fatigue and prompt him to take a break. At its core is a sensor thatv ery accurately registers the driver’s steering movements and steering speed. In the first few minutes of the drive, the system determines an individual driving behaviour pattern which is then continuously compared with the current steering behaviour and current driving situation. Based on this, the system can detect typical indicators of drowsiness and warn the driver with audible and visual cues. Attention Assist increases both driver and passenger safety.

The bus is also provided with a tyre pressure monitor, Predictive Power Train Control and Side guard Assist. The Sideguard Assist turning assistant feature considerably increases the safety of unprotected road users, especially in cities, since it helps the driver recognise critical situations
in a timely manner when turning. The system operates in different stages: in a first stage, it informs the driver, in second stage, it provides an additional warning. If a moving object is located in the lateral or side monitoring zone, the driver is informed optically. In the exterior mirror
on the passenger’s side, an LED light in a triangular shape illuminates yellow at the driver’s height of vision. It intuitively directs the attention to the situation next to the vehicle. Additionally, a warning message appears in the central display. If the driver initiates or continues an action that could lead to a collision, an additional visual warning is given: the LED light flashes several times red with higher luminosity and then permanently. In addition to this, a tactile vibration acts as a warning in the driver’s seat. Moreover, Sideguard Assist warns the driver of stationary obstacles in the coach’s turning curve and can also take on the task of a lane changing assistant, in which case it operates with the same warning cascade.