DES PLAINES, Ill. — Motor Coach Industries has given its popular J4500 motorcoach an interior makeover that includes more legroom and a 60-seat capacity.
The new 2018 model J4500 will be unveiled during MCI Reliability Rallies in the U.S. and Canada starting this month.
The redesigned interior includes a reconfigured lavatory and air-intake system, resulting in 20 inches of new floor space in the 2018 model.
There also is an optional rear window, the first ever on an MCI coach.
New standard touches include indirect LED ceiling lights, puck-style spotlights and entryway illumination. The updates, along with the addition of rear-window views, make the cabin feel more spacious, MCI officials said.
“We’re very proud to unveil this coach to our current and future operators,” MCI President Ian Smart said. “It has been a collaborative effort at MCI, where we focused on operator needs and passenger wants.”
Brent Maitland, MCI vice president of marketing and product planning, said the project began in 2015 and was completed in two stages – the first focused on space maximization and the second on interior redesign.
To capture the extra 20 inches of space, MCI engineers lowered the air intake system duct 4.5 feet to just above the beltline of the coach and reoriented the lavatory, achieving a more comfortable fit with 22 percent more in volume total.
The reconfiguration allowed the last row of seats to move back 20 inches, providing a minimum of 15 inches more usable floor space that translates into at least a half-inch more legroom per passenger than the closest competitors in a 56-passenger seating configuration.
It also created even seat spacing on both sides and provided a more comfortable 60-passenger seating configuration.
Lowering the air-intake also created space for a rear window and a 500 percent increase in the side rear transom window for better views from the last two seats, as well as mechanical advantages such as improved engine air filtration and easier maintenance. After the redesign came the aesthetics. MCI worked with long-time partner BMW Designworks to upgrade seating, trim and lighting.
Durability and ergonomics also were considered in the redesign. Upgraded handrails on the J4500’s entryway minimize wear and easy-to-lock doors on the parcel racks have finishes that resist scratches, smudges and abrasions.
The parcel racks now integrate with the front interior cap for a cleaner look, and the windshield blinds recess into the front cap, creating a panoramic view for passengers.
The new J4500 driver cockpit features an integrated instrument panel that reduces driver distraction and provides easier-to-read gauges at all hours of the day.
The high-definition, 12-inch thin-film-transistor LCD instrument panel provides increased visibility for many key systems including tire pressure status and engine DPF regeneration notices.
The redefined space includes a slimmer left-side console with improved switches, a flexible cup holder and a place for a cellphone or personal items. It also offers better visibility over the dash hood, increased driver legroom and a toe kick.
The spiral entryway, which has always been a J4500 trademark, also has been spruced up. In addition to better visibility with right-and-left entryway white lighting, MCI has provided an option of variable LED lighting for customizable color choices to light up the stairwell and the right- and left-hand grab rails.
The new variable lighting system allows operators to choose between colors including red, green, blue, yellow, magenta, cyan and white lighting with full dimming and programmable customized colors. A super-bright “clean” setting illuminates every interior inch of the coach for spotless clean up between trips.
“Many customers have told us that customization is key to showcase their brand or corporate, sports and other specialized client groups,” Maitland said.
A number of MCI customers have already placed orders for the 2018 MCI J4500, including Peter Pan Bus Lines, which operates a fleet of 250 MCI motorcoaches throughout the Northeast. The 2018 J4500 will allow Peter Pan to move from 54 to 56 passenger seats.
“Two more seats for the life of the coach, that’s a significant amount of revenue,” said Peter Picknelly, chairman and CEO of Peter Pan.
Callen Hotard, CEO of Hotard Coaches in Louisiana, said it was “all about the legroom.”
“We’re excited to see the many enhancements made to the J4500’s interior, and legroom is one of things we hear about most from our sports teams and athletes that ride with us,” Hotard said.
The company, which has the J4500 in a previous 52-seat configuration, will take delivery of four 2018 models with 56 passenger seats.
The company opted for a coach with the programmable multi-color variable lighting, a feature that will support its sports clients’ extensive branding needs.
MCI will showcase the 2018 MCI J4500 during its Reliability Rallies throughout the U.S. and Canada this summer and fall at MCI Sales and Service Centers.
The one-day events, which will feature test drives of the new J4500 and Setra models, special promotions on pre-owned coaches, and parts and supplier partner educational sessions, are scheduled for:
- July 13 in Blackwood, N.J.
- July 25 in Winter Garden, Fla.
- August 3 in Des Plaines, Ill.
- September 7 in Dallas
- September 21 in Los Alamitos, Calif.
- October 19 (at Big Rig Collision) in Calgary, Alberta
- November 14 in Hayward, Calif.