It’s almost a sin for something so sensible to be packaged so beautifully. Delivering a superb blend of luxury, safety, efficiency and economy, the Skyliner has just won one of the top product design awards in the world.
The premium double-decker Skyliner, the latest addition to the NEOPLAN range from MAN, had its world premiere at the Busworld fair in Kortrijk, Belgium, in October last year. It was such a hit that 15 vehicles were sold immediately.
Many factors contributed to this instant acceptance. The Skyliner boasts some of the most up-to-date advancements in the world of the bus, including Euro-6 emissions technology and striking, modern styling.
Its “Sharp Cut” design and bright interior, meanwhile, has brought the Skyliner acclaim from the world of design too – the vehicle being honoured with the prestigious international red dot award for product design. Judged by a panel of 30 experts, the red dot has become one of the most coveted seals of approval for outstanding design. The Skyliner was one of 4 500 competing designs from
58 countries this year.
The luxury coach certainly has what it takes to rise above such stiff competition. The designers successfully infused the 14-metre long, 2,55-metre wide, 4-metre high vehicle with aesthetic lightness and dynamism without neglecting the perfect triad of form, function and ergonomics.
Traditional NEOPLAN design features such as the forward-thrusting window columns, big two-part windscreen, lookout-platform appearance when viewed from the front, dynamically-angled wheel arches and clipped headlights immediately mark the Skyliner as an unmistakable member of this bus family. At the same time, other well-known design elements have been newly interpreted. The Skylight concept, with its glazing in the roof roundings, huge windscreen and big windows in the roof that also function as emergency exits, enables spectacular panoramic views from the upper deck.
From the outside, the Skyliner’s windows appear to be uninterrupted, neutralising the division into upper and lower decks normally seen in double deckers. The line of lower-deck windows bonds with the generously dimensioned panorama window, which curves through three dimensions. MAN calls this holistic design, down to the last detail.
The clear lines and clean, angled edges of both glass and metal combine with uncompromising aerodynamics that set new standards for a premier coach. The result of the aerodynamically optimised design is a drag coefficient of 0,41. This value is so far unequalled by any other double-decker coach, being at the level of a modern mid-range van, and is a notable feature for operators to whom economy is a point of concern.
With regards to traditional components, the engineers and designers opted for continuity of the design seen in other models in terms of rear lights, headlights and flaps. This benefits customers in terms of product lifecycle and spare-parts provision.
The red dot award ceremony takes place in Essen in Germany on July 2, 2012, and will see the Skyliner continue a tradition of success: since 2002, this international honour has been awarded to eight different MAN and NEOPLAN buses, including the MAN Lion’s City Hybrid in 2011.