BS IV-compliant bus chassis features front-mounted engine; designed for inter-city applications.
MAN Trucks India has introduced the new ‘CLA’ bus chassis range that is now BS IV compliant. This includes two bus models – 18.250 (4×2) and 22.300 (6×2) multi-axle. The company has partnered with three leading bus body builders in India, including the MG Group who came up with MAN-MG Mammoth buses. The chassis are assembled at MAN Trucks’ manufacturing plant in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh.
The CLA bus chassis are designed for intercity coach application. A robust structure using tried and tested components in the chassis and driveline create the prerequisites for high reliability and longer product life, claims MAN. With the Central Government according greater priority to building new highways across the country for faster connectivity, intercity bus travel is expected to get a further boost. Operators are demanding for new solutions that offer attractive value proposition to help bring in more passengers.
The new CLA BS IV bus chassis are powered by MAN D-0836 turbo-charged, inter-cooled common rail direct inject system engines that comes in two power outputs – 250 hp and 300 hp. It is paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. Superior power delivery and linear torque provide powerful acceleration starting even at low engine speeds are assured by the manufacturer. To meet BS IV requirements, MAN has opted for SCR technology, thereby making the engine fuel efficient, environment friendly and more reliable.
As far as passenger safety and comfort is concerned, air actuated drum brakes and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are expected to improve braking safety and driving stability. The retarder and the patented engine valve brake from MAN provide enhanced braking efficiency and improved brake life.The New CLA BSIV chassis have been designed to incorporate the full range of comfort and safety at the driver’s workplace, in turn, making the journey much safer even under tough operating conditions.
The MAN CLA EVO range of medium and heavy duty trucks are aimed at the ‘Value’ bulk-cargo transportation in the domestic market. I took part in MAN Trucks India’s ‘Expedition’ campaign as a part of its eleventh anniversary celebrations to read the load hauling-cum-cruising capabilities and cabin dynamics of the trucks.
Expeditions are undertaken for both purpose and pleasure. When I received an invitation from MAN Trucks to participate in a road tour with their haulage trucks, I was excited. Since the expedition was a comprehensive one, spanning over 51 days and 9,000 kms across three different paths covering the length and breadth of Indian mainland, I must pick a moment in the trail to be pragmatic. To my convenience, I chose the 160 kilometer Coimbatore to Namakkal stretch in one of the expedition route en route MAN’s Pithampur plant, the one from Kochi via Chennai and Vijayawada.
Two other teams are scheduled to start from Pune and Dhanbad respectively in a similar vein to reach the destination, I was told. The ultimate purpose of these expeditions is to demonstrate the superiority of the CLA EVO cargo truck series in long-haulage applications across different terrains of India to the market audience. All through the journey, the trucks are to stop at key transport hubs, motels, and dealerships on the way to convey the message.
It was 6 am, hazy weather, when I reported at MAN dealership at Coimbatore. Awaiting me were MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor with a 40 ft. TSI trailer and 31.300 EVO 8×4 rigid hauler, along with the expedition team. Both the trucks are jacked-up with the rated payload, and will be driven only by trained ‘Master Drivers’ all through the expedition, so all I had to do was to cuddle myself to a co-driver seat of the trucks.
Design wise, the ‘EVO’ suffix to the MAN CLA cargo trucks does spruce-up its largely conservative looks. The redesigned dull-black bumper now boasts fresh headlamp units with daytime running lights. The ‘Lion’ in the brand logo is missing, but the MAN lettering under a chrome housing looks more pronounced. The custom blue paint scheme with attractive graphics made the expedition trucks more pleasing.
On the inside, the cabin and dashboard layout remains utilitarian. Both the driver and co-driver seats are air suspended, while the former gets 3-way adjustment. There are ample storage compartments in the dashboard and over-head rack, while the cabin is adequately spacious. The steering wheel is great to hold, and the column features height and rake adjustment. Both expedition trucks were equipped with cruise control and HVAC system with effective blowers, which literally made the day travel bearable.
The suspended cabin did filter-out a great deal engine heat and road noise. Road vibrations were partly taken care by suspended seats. Although, the ride was still bumpy, especially the tractor-trailer, but that was expected. Nevertheless, I must say that the MAN CLA trucks are a huge leap from basic trucks that are the norm of the haulage industry. Rightly termed as value trucks, these are kind of semi-premium offering that are fast-catching up in the industry. They strike a balance between affordability and premium comfort.
But what impressed me was the cruising abilities of these trucks. The 31.300 rigid truck, in particular, was simply brisk enough to make overtakes and pursual in highways, without any harsh acceleration and gearshifts as such. It was also partly the master driver who was behind the wheel of this truck, he kept up right rpm and managed gearshifts cleverly, so as maintain constant acceleration and speeds. In the 49.300 tractor, the drivers smartly used the Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB) for all anticipated slow-downs and while descending down flyover slopes, thereby averting regular braking which would otherwise demand a gear down-shift. This way they can maintain constant speed and lower fuel consumption. Although the trucks can hit speeds up to 80 kmph max, drivers of both the vehicles did not breach 60 kmph mark so as to register optimum fuel efficiency throughout the trip. In addition, the cruise control feature equipped in both the trucks helped their cause as well. Oh yeah, this whole expedition is to prove some point, right?
Powering the CLA EVO trucks is a 6.9-litre, in-line 6-cylinder, MAN D-0836 engine with a turbo-charger and intercooler. Mated to a 9-speed ZF synchromesh gearbox, the engine generates a healthy 300 hp power in both the expedition trucks. This time, the company has added 250 hp variant in its engine range for the buyers to choose as well. MAN Trucks have earned a great reputation in the Indian market for their reliable engine and longer life, even touching 1 million kms in odo-reading! I could feel that all through the ride, the engine felt refined at all speeds, with lower NVH levels.
We cruised like a pro in the NH 544 Coimbatore-Salem expressway up to Komarapalayam. It’s time for some narrow district roads now, I was a bit skeptical too. I know this upcoming stretch very well, full of twists and turns, including a railway level crossing with a height gauge! But both the trucks took the challenging road with ease, steered through the clumsiness of the town traffic of Tiruchengode, and reached the destination Namakkal, the ‘truck town’ of South India, by noon. I bid adieu to the trucks later with a sense of contentment. It was a good trip!
The tipper segment has been MAN’s forte all these years. But with improved potentials, especially post GST where inter-state and long-distance hauling is expected to get huge boosts, the company is eager to penetrate into the cargo segment. Plus, it has a very vibrant range of haulage trucks in the 16 to 49 tonne category that needs no formal intro. With improved fuel efficiency and lower TCO of these trucks in BS IV livery, the CLA EVO makes an appealing proposition for long-distance haulers.
MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6×4 & 31.300 8×4 – Image Gallery
SPEC FOCUS – MAN CLA EVO Haulage Series (BS IV)
49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor
31.300 EVO rigid truck
Dl, Turbo-charged Intercooled
MAN D-0836, 6.9-litres
Max Power: 300 hp @ 2,300 rpm
Max Torque: 1,150 Nm @ 1200-1800 rpm
ZF 9-speed synchromesh gearbox
Heavy-Duty Drop forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings
Heavy Duty Drop Forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings
MAN Planetary Tandem Bogie with Hub Reduction, Inter Axle and Stabilizer Bar
Fully floating single speed Hypoid Axle
Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock Absorbers
Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock absorbers.
Heavy Duty Bogie type suspension
Bell Crank Type Suspension
S-Cam, Dual-Circuit, Air-actuated Drum Brakes with ABS
MAN Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB)
Inter-axle Differential Lock
*An edited version of this article has been published in the January 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.
MAN´s premium touring coach now bags unique design language, improved engine dynamics, and a more rigid skeleton.
MAN Truck and Bus introduced the Lion´s Coach in 1996. Since then, the bus range has set several benchmarks in the segment, especially in the European markets. At the 2017 Busworld Europe, the company has premiered the latest iteration of the Lion´s Coach, with loads of improvements and visual updates. The bus has even won “Grand Coach Award” at the traditionally held Busworld Awards Competition European Coach Week (ECW) in the run-up to the event.
To start with, eye-catching new-age design language and styling cues with unique silhouette and LED-DRL embellishments presents a whole new character to the Lion´s Coach. The fully-LED headlamps, just as the tail lights, are around 50 percent bright than halogens, while also offering greater range and visibility. On the inside, MAN has slapped-in several changes to make the cabin more attractive. Take for instance the LED strip-illuminated floor area, or the improved storage areas and luggage racks.
The latest Lion´s Coach is compliant to the ECE R66.02 roll-over standards of Europe, which is applicable to all class II and III buses from November this year. MAN says that high-strength steel components into bus´s skeleton and use of tube-in-tube technology for the roll bar in the B-pillar area ensures that crash energy is absorbed effectively in the event of a roll-over. There is also a 20 percent improvement in aerodynamics of the body, adds the company.
The Lion´s Coaches are powered by `D26´ 12.4-litre 6-cylinder diesel engine (Euro 6) that can deliver power up to 500 hp depending on the variant. The latest improvements have enhanced the output by around 20 hp and 200 Nm of torque, along with the addition of a secondary retarder and a more powerful EVBec engine brake. Power is transmitted to the wheels by MAN TipMatic gearbox featuring Smart-Shifting function and Idle-speed driving.
The driver assistance and safety technologies available in the MAN coach includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Guard System (LGS) and Attention Guard system. MAN´s `EfficientCruise´ cruise control with the EfficientRoll coasting function is also on the list. The premium touring coach is available in three avatars – 12.1 m, 13.3 m, and 13.9 metre in either two or three axles configuration. By this year end, a 13 m dual-axle variant of the Lion´s coach will also be ready.