Mercedes Benz coaches are relaunched with body from Wrightbus International, after they failed to take off in a big manner with previous Sutlej Body. More of Chassis issues and with limited network, Mercedes is trying to correct them in their second innings.The coach is now full 15m length (CMVR mandate for a rigid multi axle is upto 15m) Chassis has got few vital change like disc brakes, steerable tag, and Polymer fuel tank, improved retarder (same Voith – Hydrodynamic retarder). Fuel tank is now just above the rear axle and is nicely protected as well.
More changes are in body – majority now the superstructure is made of Alumink – an Aluminium alloy. This has greatly reduced the weight and increased structural strength. This will be first coach to have all aluminium superStructure coach to be manufactured in India (the earlier one being the Optare Solo from Ashok Leyland, which even had stretched Aluminium panel, but was fully imported one). Still there is no AMT (even Thunder Bolt trucks are now with 12 speed AMT) – which is currently the selling point of Scania and Volvo B11R, PTO driven hydrostatic cooling system and is still with age old RFD (Remote Fan Drive) cooling system.Mercedes should have given these features as competition is really tough in this segment and Mercedes is still not the preferred brand in most part of country. Tyres are now with Pirelli and Michelin. Mercedes Benz has earned poor reputation for after market service support and they are doing a course correction now by roping in BB dealers as well. Though this will be a damage control, parts support and ontime availability will make difference.
Most uninspired look from front. Seems so much of parts sharing like headlights have taken a toll in front design. Engine options are simply too high to about 140hp and 170hp for a 9T bus. All are 4 cylinder common rail engines complying to BS III/BSIV. BharatBenz claims premium pricing for the products but nothing seems to be much impressive. Fit and Finish were just ok and this was not expected from BB. Understand ABS is std (little ahead of regulation), suspension both front and back have anti roll bars. 235 section Apollo tubeless radials like in Ultra. BB in first look seems to be unimpressive and will have to wait till it sees some good takers, because selling trucks is completely different from selling school buses as price, fuel performance matters a lot.