The recently launched Plaxton Panther B8R Exec is off to a flying start with orders for over 40 now in the pipeline.

The 12.8m version of the well-established Panther was introduced this year to compete head-on with imported products and the strategy of launching a cost-effective yet stylish coach with up to 61 seats is proving to be a winner.

Plaxton’s Commercial Manager Mark Ballam commented: “The B8R Exec opens up a whole host of options, combining versatility with comfort and luxury. On the one hand you can go for maximum passenger numbers or, on the other, still have 57 seats and a centrally located toilet.

“The mix and match options are numerous with a wide range of interior trim and specification levels available, including passenger seats featuring leather headrests, piping and sports trim; sophisticated DVD, sound and climate control systems; plus adjustable seats and foot-rests; and LED lighting throughout the interior. There are, of course, also toilet, fridge and servery options, all of which are packaged at a highly competitive price.

“Reliability, reputation, tailor-made options and best-in-class value for money, represent a powerful proposition, which is why we have had such a terrific response to the new Panther Exec. We currently have orders in the pipeline for over 40 and discussions are on-going with a wide range of UK operators.”

One of the first new B8R coaches off the production line joined the fleet of 14 vehicles operated by Birmingham-based Aziz Coach Service Limited recently.

Company Director Nazir Aziz commented: “We are delighted with the vehicle, which now has pride of place in our fleet. It has 59 seats, DVD and monitor systems, gangway lighting, Brusa seats with leather head-rests, and presents the perfect image of luxury and comfort, which is exactly what is required for private hire, day trips and tour work. We have also been impressed by the performance and economy of the 350bhp Euro6 engine.”

Another of the early production vehicles has been delivered to Jones Login, a third-generation family business based in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Their Panther B8R is a 53-seater complete with wood effect floor, Brusa seats, toilet, fridge and servery.

Managing Director Endaf Jones commented: “We have been in the business of quality coach travel for over 50 years and cover everything from private hires to luxury holiday trips at home and abroad. Our customers expect that little bit extra and on that basis the B8R fits nicely into our fleet. It will be used primarily on our UK tour programme, giving us the advantage of extra seats, 10.5 cubic metres of luggage space and built-in facilities, which are a big bonus for passengers on extended journeys.”

Technical Background

The B8R Volvo chassis is powered by a D8K 7.7-litre, 350bhp EGR Euro6, in-line six-cylinder engine and has a Volvo I-Shift automated transmission. It has full air suspension, I-start duel battery system, Thermo King roof-mounted climate control system, Alcoa alloy wheels and disk brakes all round.