Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has unveiled two new coach models in its Plaxton line-up. The Panther LE is an innovative low entry vehicle that combines bus accessibility with coach comfort, while the versatile Panorama double decker is built for high capacity, luxury travel. With these new additions, Plaxton now offers a full range from midicoaches to double deckers – ensuring that more than ever, whatever operators’ requirements, the answer is Plaxton.
The Plaxton Panther LE is designed for stage carriage services that require both easy access and comfort, such as commuter express routes or longer-distance connections doubling up as local services in rural areas.
This single deck, low entry coach has a flat floor in the front saloon, where 16 coach seats and a permanent forward-facing wheelchair position are offered – all accessible through the front door without the need to navigate stairs. Three shallow steps take able-bodied passengers to the remaining seats the rear saloon. In total, the Panther LE provides 53 high-back coach seats with integrated bell pushes, USB charging points, dimmable lights and – in the rear saloon – individual rack mounted service units. Full coach quality air conditioning is provided throughout the entire vehicle.
A manual wheelchair ramp is stowed in underfloor hold space ahead of the rear axles, accessible externally from both body sides. With a volume of 2.1m3, this locker allows additional luggage loading.
The 14.6m Panther LE is based on Plaxton’s proven stainless steel coach body structure, ensuring a high degree of commonality across the range. It is built on the three-axle Volvo B8RLE chassis and powered by an efficient 350hp Euro 6 engine that is matched to either the Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission or a ZF EcoLife fully automatic gearbox. Forward collision warning, emergency braking and lane keeping support systems are standard safety features.
With up to 87 seats, the Plaxton Panorama double deck coach is a versatile choice for intercity coach operation, commuter express services as well as high-capacity touring. 65 of the seats are on the upper deck, accessed via staircases at the front and centre of the coach.
Different lower saloon layouts are available to offer wheelchair access through the front or centre door, depending on operator requirement. A sliding seat system enables rapid conversion to provide a wheelchair position complying with Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.
The 14.5m Panorama is built to an overall height of 4.0m – facilitating international tours – and shares much of its body structure with Plaxton’s Elitei interdeck coach, giving parts commonality and making it a good fit for mixed fleets. Total luggage capacity is 10.1m3, of which 6.8m3 are in a flat floor luggage hold above the rear axles and engine. This hold is easily loaded along its entire length through locker doors on both sides of the vehicle, as well as a nearside full height compartment access door.
Based on the three-axle Volvo B11RLE chassis, the Plaxton Panorama is powered by a 460hp Euro 6 engine matched to Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission. It also has safety built in with forward collision warning, emergency braking and lane keeping support systems provided. Plaxton’s standard stainless steel structure provides a strong, lightweight body frame with durability and peace of mind built in.
Colin Robertson, ADL Chief Executive, says: “These two new coaches, which represent a multi-million pound investment in new product development, are an important step in making sure we have the right products to suit all our customers’ operations, enabling us to remain competitive in the highly contested coach market in Britain and Ireland. With best-in-class aftermarket support and proven residual values, Plaxton coaches provide value for money on day one as much as in the long run.”
Mark Ballam, ADL Commercial Manager for Coach, adds: “With these great new additions to our line-up, we now have coach operators covered for all vehicle sizes. We offer a more extensive range than any other manufacturer, and are uniquely able to tailor vehicle specification to provide bespoke arrangements. Whatever you need, we’ve got the answer!”
ADL’s Plaxton coach range now comprises the Cheetah XL and Panther Cub midicoaches, the entry-level Leopard, the versatile Panther all-rounder, the easy access Panther LE, flagship Elite head-turner, interdeck Elitei and double deck Panorama. With the exception of the Cheetah XL, all are built on Volvo chassis.
Colin Robertson comments: “The development of these new coaches has been fully supported by our partners at Volvo, who have made chassis designs available to meet the specifications set by us and our own customers. Volvo’s focus on highest levels of built-in safety as well as clean and fuel-efficient Euro 6 engines means their chassis underpin our Plaxton coaches perfectly.”
Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “We value our relationship with ADL Plaxton and the introduction of these new models further enhances the comprehensive joint product offering already available.
“This launch demonstrates the commitment from both Volvo and Plaxton to develop a global project that brings a new chassis combination to the market that puts the customer’s needs and requirements first.”