Volvo’s future starts here in the shape of this slinky Concept Coupe to be displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. But it’s a lot more than just a pretty looking grand tourer designed to evoke memories of the 1960s P1800. It introduces a new way of building cars, a new engine strategy and a glimpse into Volvo’s future design direction.
Now owned by Chinese car maker Geely, Volvo can no longer rely on previous owner Ford to provide the basis for its cars. The result is the new and completely flexible in terms of length, width and height Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). This will spawn two more concept cars before it makes its production debut on the all-new XC90 in autumn 2014. A second scalable architecture will be used for the smaller cars.
The SPA has no capability for larger engines. That’s because the days of eight, six and even five-cylinder Volvos are history. The Concept Coupe still manages a grunty 400bhp and 600Nm of torque courtesy of a two-litre four cylinder petrol engine that is boosted by a turbo charger and super charger along with an electric motor driving the rear axle. Other four cylinders in either diesel or petrol will use turbos to achieve the same power as much larger capacity engines. Expect a 1.5-litre three cylinder spun off the same architecture.
The 1960s P1800 is arguably Volvo’s most famous and desirable model ever. The Concept Coupe features a lot of that car’s design signatures although design director Thomas Ingenlath refutes that this makes the new car retro: “Using elements from the P1800 exterior and interior has nothing to do with being retro. We are using these subtle links to a glorious past to create a future where sheer beauty becomes a recognised part of Volvo’s identity. That journey starts with Concept Coupé.”
The grille is apparently still a work in progress and it’s likely to change before its finished iteration graces the front of the new XC90 next year. However, the sleeker looking bonnet, the way the grille appears to float, the ever increasing size of the ironmark badge, the sharper shoulder line, and the headlights featuring new T-shaped Daytime Running Lights are all design details that will grace future Volvos.
The interior was designed around the large touch screen which works like a regular tablet to control navigation, entertainment and ventilation. The lack of buttons means those that are present have had their quality improved. Each seat features an AUX-IN and USB port and the gear lever is made of crystal glass, which surprisingly is road legal.
Why a concept for a coupe? Is Volvo about to unveil a replacement for its most iconic car ever? Sadly no. But that shouldn’t stop us enjoying the Concept Coupe for what it is, a fine looking car that points the way to an exciting future.