Images courtesy of Volvo
Last week, we received word that Volvo would be debuting their radical new design direction with what they've dubbed the Concept Coupe, the first new vehicle under SVP of Design Thomas Ingenlath, and it's been lighting up the boards, so to speak, since it was unveiled on Thursday. Forum members' reaction to the new car has been mixed but mostly positive thus far, and there is indeed more to it than meets the eye. Ingenlath offers a few choice remarks about what he calls "Volvo unleashed":
The last few years car design has become increasingly standardized and streamlined, and too often defined by cluttered and overly complex design. While other brands try too hard to look luxurious and muscular, Volvo Cars will stand out as the calm, confident and naturally powerful challenger. We have no ambition to blend in, and the Concept Coupe efficiently manifests how iconic design will reinforce Volvo's identity...
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...
It's up for debate as to how successfully the Concept Coupe actually "merges contemporary Scandinavian lifestyle and design with iconic elements from Volvo's 1960's era" (per the press release). Yes, it includes certain signature elements such as the distinctive grill—the 'cow horns' at the bottom also refer to the iconic P1800 (which was secretly designed by a 24-year-old Pratt grad)—but the streamlined form factor doesn't quite scream Volvo. Not that it's a bad thing: Michael DiTullo notes that "It feels a bit like the concept that Bertone did for Jaguar last year in a really good way," and Orrkwankit gets a little more specific: "I see some G35 Coupe C-Pillar, some VW XL1 tail, some MB CLA lower grill, some Jag F-Type front fenders... Yet somehow it all comes together pretty nicely."
I was also curious to see introduction of the T-shaped DRL headlights, which radically depart from the round lamps of the P1800 towards what might be considered as the counterpart to the C-shaped taillights (which are polarizing in themselves). The headlights will reportedly "be found on all future Volvos in the upcoming generation."
Meanwhile, the interior boasts high-end materials that at least one skeptic anticipates will be downgraded in production. As it stands, it's a classy combination of "a leather instrument panel, hand-carved inlays made of naturally aged wood, woven carpets from Kasthall and a gear-lever of handcrafted Swedish crystal."
Less talked-about is the fact that the Concept Coupe is "the first car built on Volvo's new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA)." Among other future possibilities for the concept coupe, this means that it may eventually be adapted 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."
As always, we invite you to join the discussion.