Amidst several teasers that have reached the Interwebs, Volvo revealed their latest concept car due at this Frankfurt Motor Show, which provides the public with a clear eye of the Swedish automaker’s intended trajectory in terms of its corporate design philosophy. Volvos have never really been lookers, the kind that sticks to one’s memories, though this new Volvo Concept Coupe—which the brand touts as the “next-generation P1800”—appears to be putting Volvo’s years of complete obscurity into the past. Because holy wienerschnitzel, just look at it!
For those who need a quick history refresher, the Volvo P1800 was a very iconic and formidable sports car back in the 1960s and even went head-to-head with other icons like the Jaguar E-Type, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, the Aston Martin DB4, the BMW E9, Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, and the Porsche 911. So despite Volvo’s modern day ho-hum characteristics, the new Volvo Concept Coupe seeks to relish the heritage of the original P1800 into the modern world.
Representative of Volvo’s latest Scalable Product Architecture, which adopts one of the latest industry trends of streamlining production, the new Volvo Concept Coupe is said to even provide a pointer to the first car that employs Volvo’s new SPA design, the all-new XC90 crossover due in 2014.
But for those even willing to postulate outside the box, the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe sets the stage for the brand to reveal a new flagship coupe that could very much be in line with being a successor to the brand’s current C70.
The Volvo Concept Coupe was also used to showcase Volvo’s experimentation into gasoline plug-in hybrid powertrains, which features a 2.0L Drive-E gasoline engine (most likely a four-banger) designed with a supercharger and turbocharger. An electric motor is mounted to the rear axle, for a total combined output of 400hp and over 440 lb-ft of twist.
For the press release and what Senior Vice President of Volvo’s Design, Thomas Ingenlath, has to say about his latest pride and joy, check it out below.
The Volvo Concept Coupé – the next-generation P1800:
Elegant confidence enabled by the new scalable architecture
Inspired by contemporary, progressive Scandinavian lifestyle and design as well as iconic elements from the past, the elegant new Volvo Concept Coupé is the first of a series of three concept cars that reveal the design possibilities created by the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).
After a more than a year of rising expectations, the first design by the new Senior Vice President of Design, Thomas Ingenlath, showcases how design builds emotion into the Volvo brand and points toward the next generation of Volvo models, starting with the forthcoming XC90 in 2014.
“The Volvo Concept Coupé is no futuristic dream car. It is designed to demonstrate the capability of our new architecture: the confident stance, the proportions and the most prominent design signatures. Even though the all-new XC90 is an entirely different type of car, you will recognize the connection instantly when it is revealed next year,” said Ingenlath.
Developed in-house for Volvo Cars only, the Scalable Product Architecture liberates Volvo’s designers and engineers from the limitations of previous cross-brand platforms.
“The new Volvo Concept Coupé reveals how we could shape our cars from now on. Free from the superficial surface excitement of other car brands, we add emotional value to the Volvo brand with the calm, confident beauty that is the hallmark of Scandinavian design,” says Thomas Ingenlath.
Powerful visual impact
The visual impact of the new proportions is most powerful when viewing the Volvo Concept Coupé from the side. The distance between the dashboard and the front axle is extended and the greenhouse has been moved slightly rearwards.
A low hood, roof, and the five-spoke, 21-inch wheels also contribute to the impression of an elegant Gran Tourer oozing effortless power. The confident stance is emphasized by a beltline that spans an elegant bow along the whole car.
“Think about the powerful calmness of a lion. He doesn’t have to prowl to radiate respect. Even lying down he shows very clearly what he is capable of,” smiles Ingenlath.
New T-shaped Daytime Running Lights
The face of the Volvo Concept Coupé is characterized by a new topography on the hood and the ‘floating’ grille, flanked by headlights featuring new T-shaped daytime running lights guides. Just like the rear light signature, the daytime running lights are distinctive elements in the new design direction of Volvo Cars.
“The face is new, but it also carries more than 85 years of Volvo heritage with great pride. We are still working with the final interpretation of the grille and the iron mark and this will be revealed together with the XC90 next year,” said Ingenlath.
Echoes the iconic P1800
The Concept Coupé also features elements that echo the design of the Volvo P1800 from the 1960s.
“It is a car designer’s duty to reflect and incorporate design signatures that are vital parts of the company’s heritage. The P1800 is an iconic Volvo, renowned for its beautiful forms and detailing. However, 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 recognized part of Volvo’s identity. That journey starts with Concept Coupé,” said Ingenlath.
Sparkling crystal gear-leaver
The blue-grey exterior is echoed on the inside of the Volvo Concept Coupé. Refined, handcrafted elements such as the leather instrument panel, inlays made of naturally aged wood and the dark blue woven carpets are blended with beautifully machined metal details.”
“To me, handcrafted crystal is one of the finest examples of high-quality Scandinavian design and I love the idea of bringing it into the car. The prominent position of the gear-leaver is the perfect place for this sparkling sensation,” said Robin Page, Design Director Interior at Volvo Car Group. He adds: “The experience inside Concept Coupé is an excellent example of how we will make Volvo customers feel truly special.”
Large portrait touch-screen
The concept car also includes a totally new approach to Volvo Cars’ human-centric user experience. A large portrait touch-screen in the center console interacts with an adaptive digital display and head-up display in front of the driver.
“This is a natural integration of user interfaces in our new car generation. Interaction with pleasure but without distraction is the key. We bring connectivity into our cars to make them both more enjoyable and safe,” explains Ingenlath.
The Scalable Product Architecture is also being prepared for completely autonomous driving. The first features with autonomous steering to avoid accidents and make driving more comfortable will be introduced in 2014 – and Volvo Cars’ aim is to have cars with fully autonomous technology out on the roads before 2020.
Gasoline plug-in hybrid – powerful and efficient
The gasoline plug-in hybrid driveline in the Volvo Concept Coupé reflects Volvo Cars’ strategy to use electrification to create the most powerful versions in the new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family. This will take power figures up into V8 territory.
The concept car features a two-liter high-performance Drive-E gasoline engine with a supercharger and turbo. The petrol engine is teamed with an electric motor on the rear axle. This gives Volvo Concept Coupé a total output of around 400 hp and over 440 lb.-ft. of torque.
– By: Chris Chin