Paul Horrell08 January 2014

Revealed: Volvo XC Coupe Concept

Concept at the Detroit Motor Show previews a new look for the XC90

Volvo unveiled another concept car in Detroit. And there'll be another concept in Geneva, designed to show their interior design prowess. And then... at last... there'll be the new XC90. And if the world can wait that long, the XC90 will be a new chapter. It's the first car to use Volvo's much-heralded all-new platform matrix as well as the first to be designed by Thomas Ingenlath.

Still the Concept XC Coupe gives us something to be getting on with. It's a full-sized crossover. They say we mustn't think it's just a coupe version of the next XC90 - it's too low for that - but it does show several cues that are lined up for production.

F'risntance, Ingenlath says you can expect all the next generation of Volvos to have this grille, the T-shaped daytime LEDs, the same bonnet profiles, and the shouldered tail-lamps. The concept also demonstrates the new platform architecture can make cars with the front wheels well forward, which makes them look like RWD premium cars even when they're actually FWD.

Lots of details on the concept are, Ingenlath says, inspired by action sports equipment and colours. Sure enough they are done nicely here. The grey rubberised material on the bumpers and grille is a nice departure from the usual flat black or chrome. But if we had a tenner for every time a car designer said a car was inspired by sports equipment, we could fund the BBC's licence fee.

He stresses this concept isn't just a three-door version of the next XC90, which will turn up at the Paris show this autumn. The XC Coupe is lower, in the bonnet and waist-line as well as the roof, and slightly wider too.

The concept on the show floor didn't actually have a finished interior, so Volvo hung on the wall a full-size model of the insides. It has just two seats in the rear, and they were folded to reveal special spaces for crash helmets and a personal watercraft thingy.

Volvo is making astounding claims for its coming safety tech. The platform uses a lot of super-strength steel and aluminium to make sure it's crash-safe but not heavy, and it's crammed with driver aids. Volvo says it expects that from the year 2020 no-one will get killed or seriously injured in its new cars.

The new XC90 will rely on the company's new family of four-cylinder engines, but the top one is supercharged and turbocharged for 300bhp, plus it gets an additional hybrid shove. That'll make a total of 400bhp, they claim.

The XC90 will come first, and then a new S80 saloon two years from now, and then a replacement for the V70.

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