The Talent is an articulated railcar with Jacobs bogies. Partially as a result of this, the interior of an entire unit is essentially a single, long cabin; it is possible to see or walk from end to end without opening doors or passing through narrower gangways. The sharing of bogies also means that a Talent unit cannot be easily disassembled or rearranged without the assistance of a railway yard. In those variants whose floor is 590 mm (23.2 in) above the rails, this means that the articulation floor is raised, but with ramp access, since it needs to be higher than the wheel diameter, above rail level. In the variants with 800 and 960 mm (31.5 and 37.8 in) floor height, the floor is flat from the first door to the last. The endsections have a raised floor in all variants, because the traction equipment installed underneath requires more space than unpowered bogies.
After a prototype was presented in 1994, the first Talents entered service in 1996. They are used by mainline railways in Germany, Austria and Norway. More than 260 are in service worldwide.
In a more unusual use, three diesel Talents identical to Deutsche Bahn’s class 643 once formed the fleet for Ottawa’s O-Train Trillium Line, a diesel light rail transit line running entirely within the City of Ottawa. The Trillium Line shares a lightly used freight railway line. As the Talent is not certified for concurrent shared-track operation with freight trains in North America, freight traffic is not permitted on the Trillium Line’s route while passenger services are running. Although it is still legally classified as a main-line railway, Transport Canada allow the O-Train Trillium Line to use One-Person Train Operation, with fares collected through a proof-of-payment system. In March 2015, all three Talent units were replaced by Alstom Coradia LINT diesel units and presumably retired.