For the 1992 SAE/I.Mech.E. exchange lecture, the Chairman of the Automobile Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers reviews the background to the major evolutions in bus design in Europe over the past decade or so. This includes a review of the bus and its environment, together with the effect of legislation. An overview of European bus operations is included, with comments on the climate of change within the industry in Great Britain. Trends in bus production levels in Europe are also examined.Considered in the bus design evolution are: the changing nature of vehicle configurations with a movement towards low floor one step entry products, changes in engine design to achieve diesel exhaust emission standards, and innovations in transmission design yielding benefits in fuel economy and improved foundation brake life. Views are expressed on future design needs, including alternative fuels and vehicle electrics. The progress towards a European bus is reviewed.