If you were asked to visualize a stunning but sophisticated four-place sports coupe design, chances are something like a BMW M4 or Nissan Altima coupe, or maybe a Mercedes-Benz E Class, would come to mind.
A Volvo? Probably not even on the radar.
Said to be 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 in the pipeline from the now Chinese-owned Swedish automaker.
It's the first vehicle wholly designed under the direction of Volvo's new senior vice-president of design, Thomas Ingenlath – and it bodes well for the future.
Volvo says the Coupé illustrates the design possibilities created by the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), while pointing toward the next generation of Volvo models, starting with the 2015 XC90.
While no production plans have been revealed, "The Volvo Concept Coupé is no futuristic dream car," Ingenlath. "It is designed to demonstrate the capability of our new architecture... how we could shape our cars from now on."
The visual impact of the Coupé's proportions is most evident from the side, where it is apparent that the distance from the windshield to the front axle has been extended and the greenhouse has been moved slightly rearwards.
From the front, the Concept Coupé features a new hood shape and a ‘floating’ grille, as well as headlights with T-shaped daytime running lights that are scheduled to become signature features on new Volvo models.
"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," says Ingenlath.
Inside, handcrafted elements such as a leather instrument panel, inlays made of naturally aged wood and woven carpets blended with machined metal details, while the shift lever is adorned with Scandinavian crystal.
The concept car also includes a new approach to Volvo's human-centric user experience, with a large portrait touch-screen in the centre console that interacts with an adaptive digital display and head-up display in front of the driver.
The Concept Coupé is powered by a plug-in hybrid driveline incorporating the most powerful version of Volvo's new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family, with a supercharger and a turbocharger, and an electric motor on the rear axle. Combined output is said to be about 400 horsepower with more than 440 lb-ft of torque.