On the road in the Setra ComfortClass 500: following a tradition of progress
12.11.2012 - 01:00

German version

On the road in the Setra ComfortClass 500: following a tradition of progress
  • The new ComfortClass 500: attractive and practical too
  • From the first journey, the new Setra is a perfect fit
  • Simple, straightforward operation
  • A powerful but refined six-cylinder in-line engine
  • Comfortable, safe chassis
  • Safety systems of the highest standard

Setra ComfortClass S 516 HD/2

Setra is starting a new chapter in coach development in the shape of the ComfortClass 500. From the very first journey in the Setra S 515 HD, it quickly becomes clear that this new high-deck touring coach has plenty to offer. After all, as a classic brand, there is a tradition of progress at Setra.

The new ComfortClass 500: attractive and practical too

A quick tour of the high-decker reveals a host of interesting features. From the striking headlamps and flamboyant side line to the rear with its spoiler lip, distinctive tail lights and asymmetric vent grille, the new ComfortClass 500 is sure to attract admiring glances in any coach parking area. As well as being stylish, the vehicle is also practical: stowage compartments above the axles, tool compartments on the left and right at the rear, a clearly laid-out engine compartment, and three-section bumpers at both the front and rear are all signs of a job well done.

Setra ComfortClass S 515 HD

The wide entrance area is equally impressive, making access easier for passengers and the driver. Spaciousness in this area also means there is plenty of room for the tour guide. With a full-sized and comfortable seat, generous legroom, a folding step for the feet, storage, cup holder, and a separate compartment for a microphone with connections for media on the centre console, the new Setra caters for every touring requirement.

An elegant cockpit and high-quality materials

The cockpit is an elegant flourish through the front section of the new ComfortClass. It is two-tone and has been provided with a high-quality, leather-grain finish by the design and development teams. It looks good and feels pleasant to the touch.

From the first journey, the new Setra is a perfect fit

It is time to try out the new driver's seat and take a closer look around: the view is good – including through the side window with its almost invisibly thin heating elements. What are the most noticeable features? A broad range of seat adjustment, plenty of room to move and the steering column can conveniently be adjusted using a button in the cockpit. The pedals are modern and include a suspended brake pedal. Instruments are fully within view and all buttons are within reach. The new Setra really is a perfect fit.

Simple, straightforward operation

Control buttons are combined logically and clearly in blocks of four, with the tachograph easily accessible close to the steering wheel. On the other side, the new Coach Multimedia System takes the stage, combining easy-to-use radio, CD and DVD player functionality as well as a navigation system and telephone keypad. Operation of the entertainment electronics is clearly delineated between the driver's area and the passenger compartment. The operating instructions are intended only as a back-up and for the finer points of the system – basic functions are self-explanatory throughout.

The instrument cluster forms the heart of the cockpit and features non-reflective glass for good readability of the speedometer, engine rpm, and fuel and AdBlue levels. In the middle, there is an informative colour display which is operated via keys on the steering wheel. Drivers of the new Setra will find they are well-informed at all times.

Plenty of storage plus an electronic vehicle key

There is room for plenty of equipment, even on an extended round trip. Storage for documents and bottles, a cupholder, a stowage compartment in the centre console and a variety of open storage solutions for items, large and small, are provided comfortably within reach.

The conventional ignition key has given way to an electronic vehicle key which is inserted to one side in the cockpit. Pressing the silver-coloured starter button once engages the ignition; pressing it for a second time brings the rear-mounted engine to life.

A powerful but refined six-cylinder in-line engine

There is not a lot of noise as the six-cylinder engine from the new OM 470 series is restrained in that respect, working smoothly and unobtrusively. At the touch of a rotary switch on the steering-column lever, the new Mercedes-Benz PowerShift GO 250-8 transmission switches to "D" mode so that when the parking brake is released using the easily accessible valve, the Setra gently starts to move thanks to the fully automated transmission's crawl function.

As soon as the vehicle begins to accelerate, the high-decker quickly picks up speed and the diesel engine has punch, responding immediately to the accelerator. The transmission shifts amazingly fast yet comfortably, always find the right gear and consistently keeps the engine at the lower end of the revs where possible.

The six-cylinder engine complies with this manoeuvre and does not protest if the revs drop below 1000 either. A two-mass flywheel absorbs any vibrations. The engine also builds powerfully from rock-bottom revs. This Setra's performance complements the high-decker's dynamic look flawlessly. It is possible to intervene manually into the transmission at any time at the touch of a button. This would, however, only be necessary in an extreme scenario because the powertrain components from a single source are perfectly attuned to each other.

Comfortable, safe chassis

The same applies to the chassis. The front axle springs back gently yet firmly and there are no rumbles. The steering is precise and the four-spoke steering wheel sits comfortably in the hands. The new ComfortClass 500 contains a great deal of bus and coach engineering expertise. As a clear sign of this heritage, the trademark "K" on a red background adorns the centre of the steering wheel.

Safety systems of the highest standard

The Setra benefits from a host of guardian angels which help to protect the vehicle, passengers and driver. The sensitive foot brake is designed to be powerful. Although the steering-column lever with integral gearshift is new, the way that the auxiliary brake is operated remains unchanged: braking power is delivered in stages while moving down so that the driver knows where they stand at all times.

What is more, the new ComfortClass is the only touring coach in its class to be equipped with all the safety systems currently available. Lane Assistant, Adaptive Cruise Control (ART) with stop assist system, Active Brake Assist which even supports emergency braking, Attention Assist which recommends that the driver takes a break if fatigue is detected – no other touring coach provides this level of support. Even though many of the safety systems will hopefully never be needed during a coach's long service life, it is reassuring to have them on-board and fascinating to hear what the new ComfortClass 500 has to offer.

Photos and text:
EvoBus GmbH – Setra Omnibusse


gedruckt am 10.08.2020 - 01:41