Mercedes Benz raises the bar for mass transportation

Mercedes Benz is known for pushing the envelope of technology and engineering. Recently Auto Nation Group (ANG), the exclusive distributors of Mercedes Benz in the country, organized an event that required motoring writers to lay back, relax and become passengers for a day.

ANG gave us a preview of its latest offering that would change how the game is played in the luxury van market. With Mercedes Benz and ANG officials present during the event, the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Luxury Coach and the OF 917 Midi Bus were unveiled to an amazed crop of motoring media. With an ever growing demand from consumers for a more luxurious van, Mercedes Benz brings to the fight this premium version of its versatile workhorse, the Sprinter van. This variant has carved a respectable niche in the global arena due to its versatility, reliability and performance in terms of commercial or private passenger usage.

“The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter stands out because of its superior performance, which is second to none. And today, we are proud to unveil the luxury coach version of the Sprinter with a refined cabin that epitomizes the prestige of the brand,” said Joseph Ayllón, assistant vice president for public relations, ANG. To test both the Sprinter and OF Midi bus, ANG shuttled the media to Sant Rosa, Laguna, from the CATS Showroom along EDSA, for the participants to sample the comfort and overall performance of the vehicles.


Game changers
With a list of innovations stuffed into the Sprinter and the OF 917 Midi bus, Mercedes Benz has drawn the battle lines and is expected to compete with major players in the passenger bus industry such as Isuzu, Hino and Hyundai. The Sprinter bus on the other hand has set its sights to lock horns with the Nissan Urvan Premium, Toyota Hi-Ace Grandia and the Hyundai H350.

Designed to ferry people in comfort and style, the Sprinter has all the right features to stand out. To begin with, its low fuel consumption complemented by its outstanding power makes the Sprinter a reliable vehicle even for long-haul land trips. The Sprinter is powered by a 2.1-liter, 4-cylinder, two-stage turbocharged diesel engine that puts out 163 hp, paired with a 6-speed Manual transmission to deliver a best-in-class fuel efficiency.

An automatic privacy screen between the driver and cabin helps further reduce noise, while pleated curtains on all windows provide additional privacy for each passenger. Moreover, embarking and disembarking is quick and easy, thanks to its spacious side door entry (182.1 cm x 130.1 cm), which is currently the widest opening door in its class. An automatic stepboard also enables passengers to board the Sprinter with ease along with automatic sliding doors that close with the press of a button.

The high decker OF 917 Midi bus is sized perfectly, making it the ideal transport vehicle for a group of passengers traveling within the city or out of town. Its dimensions put the Midi Bus in between the small bus (six meters) and large bus (12 meters) categories, and offers more space and capacity than vans and coasters. Even with a length of nine meters, the OF 917 is maneuverable in the streets of Manila and nearby towns.

Powered by a Euro 5 emission standard 4-cylinder vertical in-line, turbocharged and inter-cooled diesel engine, the OF 917 Midi Bus puts out 170 hp at 2,500 rpm and a torque of 520 Nm at 1,500 rpm. Highly fuel-efficient, the versatile Midi Bus boasts of a fuel efficiency rating of 4 to 5 km/liter. A full tank of 200 liters on the OF 917 will cover a distance of 1,000 kilometers.

The bus unveiled by Auto Nation Group, Inc. features a 32 reclining seat configuration, with standard amenities including a rear compartment luggage space of 4,783 liters– one of the largest storage capacities in its class. Other features include high capacity roof-mounted air-conditioning, electrically-operated outward swing-type passenger door with remote control, and emergency escape roof hatch.

Unknown to many, Mercedes-Benz has been making buses since 1895 in Mannheim, Germany and the legacy continues today, with the same engineering DNA embodied in the OF 917 Midi Bus. With the chassis manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in India then assembled with an Alpha M8 body in Malaysia, the Mercedes-Benz OF 917 Midi Bus is an Asian product for the Asian market.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Luxury Coach is available for P5.99 million and comes in Arctic White, while the Mercedes-Benz OF 917 Midi Bus standard edition is priced at P4.9 million.

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