Volvo Reveals Stunning Coupe Concept

Volvos have very many qualities to recommend them but, with all the kindness in the world, aesthetics hasn't often been one of them. Over the last 30 years, at any rate.

Delivering a pretty hefty "shut up" to that opinion is this concept car, ready for debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. And it gets better - this is the first design from Volvo's new senior design boss, Thomas Ingenlath, heralding the future design direction of Volvo.

The last time Volvo made a truly gorgeous car was the early 1970s when it halted production of the P1800, and the resemblence between that and the Coupe Concept is fairly obvious right from the front. It may now be filled with a Volvo badge, but the gaping and slightly concave grille is an instant memory-jogger. The bodywork around the side ducts should, albeit with more chrome, remind you of the earlier car too.

Contemporary Jaguar-esque headlights bring the design into the modern era, with T-shaped daytime running lights due to become a feature we'll see on future Volvos too.

From the side, the Coupe Concept looks for all the world like a brutish grand tourer - an achingly modern Bristol (and a comparison to a 250,000 car is no bad thing) - but even here we see a styling line substituting for the P1800's chrome. A swage line picks up from the front wheel arch and curves up behind the door handle, then continues rearwards along the haunches, just as with the P1800.

Bereft of fins, the P1800 comparison ends towards the rear with another contemporary take - though the wall of dark silver doesn't do the design many favours back here, it's nonetheless clean and refreshingly Swedish.

But the Coupe Concept is more than just a pretty face. It represents an entirely new platform, developed by Volvo as a basis for their future cars.

Current Volvos are based on cross-platform underpinnings - primarily the Ford C1 and EUCD platforms. The Coupe Concept sits atop a new structure Volvo are calling Scalable Product Architecture (or SPA for brevity), planned to be the basis of all next generation Volvos, beginning with the XC90 replacement next year.

Furthermore, the power for the Coupe Concept comes from Volvo's next generation Drive-E twincharged (turbocharged and supercharged) 4 cylinder engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor driving the rears. 400 hp and 440 lb-ft is enough to back up the beauty with a bit of beastiness.

Verdict

On first glance it's yet another concept car for yet another motor show that will never see light of day. Right? Yes and no.

This concept is a showcase for the underpinnings of Volvos for the next 10 years or so - in fact, as soon as next year you could be driving a Volvo with the exact same chassis and engine combination . But it also represents the first sleek jottings from the pen of a new Volvo design team, and many of the features and details you see here will be coming to a Volvo showroom near you in the next couple of years as the conservative predecessors are phased out.

One thing Volvo haven't managed in recent years, for all their other qualities, is style - and the Coupe Concept is the first hint that they're bringing sexy back.

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