Source: Volvo - Press releases (4), videos (3), and pics (8) after the "read more" jump.
Volvo Car Group at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show:
- Concept Coupé and Drive-E powertrains introduce the new Volvo Cars
“We are creating a new product portfolio that blends a strong heritage with innovative technology and emotional design. Every core area is brought into a new dimension, also injecting more emotion into the rational properties that are the heart and soul of Volvo,” said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Car Group.
Concept Coupé is the first in a series of three concept cars that demonstrate the new design direction of Volvo Cars. They are paving the way for the introduction of the all-new XC90 next year.
“The Volvo Concept Coupé show what you can expect from our new architecture: the confident stance, the proportions and the most prominent design signatures. Even though the all-new XC90 is a different type of car, you will recognise the connection instantly,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Car Group.
Launch of Drive-E powertrains
The first three engines from Volvo Cars’ new two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E Powertrain family are launched during the autumn of 2013.
Initially, the new S60, V60 and XC60 are available with three engines from the new engine family: the 306 hp petrol turbo T6, the 245 hp T5 and the turbo diesel D4 with 181 hp. The T5 and the D4 are also available in the new Volvo V70, XC70 and S80. To deliver the desired responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient drivability, the engines are teamed either with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox from Aisin or an enhanced six-speed manual, tuned for improved fuel economy.
Volvo Cars’ strategy is to use electrification to create the most powerful versions in the new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family, taking power figures up into V8 territory. The concept car in Frankfurt is equipped with Volvo Cars’ ingenious plug-in hybrid technology. A high-performance petrol engine teamed with an electric motor on the rear axle gives Volvo Concept Coupé a total output of about 400 hp and over 600 Nm of torque.
“Our successful V60 Plug-in Hybrid has already proved that the most efficient car can be one of the most fun to drive, and the pleasure is guilt free. And today we can confirm that the new XC90 also will come a plug-in hybrid at the top of the range,” said Lex Kerssemakers.
The high-performance petrol engine T6 is fitted with a supercharger and turbocharger combined, while i-ART delivers seemless and frugal diesel performance. Developed together with Volvo strategic partner Denso, i-ART features pressure feedback from each fuel injector. This ensures that the ideal amount of fuel is injected in each of the cylinders during each combustion cycle.
“Our four-cylinder engines offer higher performance than today’s six-cylinder units and lower fuel consumption than our current, already efficient four-cylinders,” said Lex Kerssemakers.
New features in 60-series
On top of the new Drive-E powertrains, Volvo Cars introduce new infotainment and safety features in the 60-series. Sensus Connect features a refreshed HMI with a number of innovative functions. Lane Keeping Aid, which helps the driver stay in the lane by applying extra steering torque to the steering column, and the parallel parking wizard Park Assist Pilot are now available in the S60 and V60.
The Volvo Concept Coupé – the next-generation P1800:
- Elegant confidence enabled by the new scalable architecture
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 towards 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 recognise the connection instantly when it is revealed next year,” says Thomas 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 bonnet, 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 Thomas Ingenlath.
New T-shaped DRL lights
The face of the Volvo Concept Coupé is characterised by a new topography on the bonnet and the ‘floating’ grille, flanked by headlights featuring new T-shaped DRL light guides. Just like the rear light signature, the DRL 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,” says Thomas 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 recognised part of Volvo’s identity. That journey starts with Concept Coupé,” says Thomas 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,” says 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 feeling 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 centre 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 Thomas 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.
Petrol plug-in hybrid – powerful and efficient
The petrol 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-litre high-performance Drive-E petrol 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 600 Nm of torque.
The design direction of Thomas Ingenlath:
- Releasing the full potential of the Volvo brand
“Volvo Cars was already transforming rapidly when I joined the company in 2012. My team and I have focused on creating a new interpretation of the design language. It will help taking this great brand in the desired direction,” says Thomas Ingenlath.
This is how Thomas Ingenlath expresses the new design direction for Volvo Cars.
Why Volvo Cars?
“Everyone that knows me well would agree that Volvo is a perfect match for me. I have never been an instant crowd-pleaser who likes fast and loud designs. I am thoughtful. I like to explore the intellectual elements below the surface. If you do that right, the aesthetics will come naturally.”
“Volvo is a human-centric brand with an exceptionally strong heritage. It is exciting to create a new design expression that supports the established brand values as well as the repositioning towards a more distinctive premium brand.”
What’s your view of Scandinavian Design?
“Well, since Volvo Cars is the only remaining automotive brand in Sweden, we are by definition the only carmaker that can create original Scandinavian Design. The challenge is to create a modern, desirable interpretation.”
“To me, Scandinavian Design according to Volvo is firmly rooted in the values of the Swedish society and the way of life enabled by this unique environment. Our approach goes beyond just bringing Scandinavian design items and signatures into our cars. Our job is to understand the spirit and the confidence that make Scandinavian design so special. Then we must translate it into car design.”
What is your approach?
“It is important to recognise that Scandinavian design will only be perceived as attractive if it is crafted with precision and attention to detail. Meticulous execution and consistent quality are prerequisites to qualify for the premium league of automakers.”
Explain the new design direction.
“In my opinion, Volvo design has always had a certain authority. We aim to extend this calm, intelligent and strong side of our brand with a greater potency, modernity and expressiveness. Concept Coupé clearly expresses this direction.”
“Outdoor activities are an important part of the Swedish lifestyle. We will continue to refine Volvo’s strong connection to these activities with more emphasis on modernity. It’s about making functionality an emotional experience. Just like an exclusive goose down jacket, our cars will have a true feeling of sophistication with an underlying strength and capability.”
“Creativity is thriving in the Swedish society. This includes design and technology as well as the fashion, music and art scene. We use this as an inspiration for creating a new kind of attainable luxury. Our future cars will show that there are new, exciting ways to express the soul of Sweden.”
What opportunities does the new Scalable Product Architecture create for the designers?
“The new architecture enables us to create the great proportions that are important to achieve a premium look. The dash to axle ratio is more generous than any other architecture I have worked with before. This gives us the opportunity to be up there among the top premium brands when it comes to proportions.”
“The hip point is another example of the new opportunities. It is low enough to create a low profile on a sleek sedan without compromising headroom.”
Which are the most the most prominent new design signatures?
“Every strong brands needs a set of visual keys that makes it unique. Future Volvos will be characterised by the distinctive iron mark in the floating grille, flanked by the T-shaped DRL lights. The larger bonnet with its new topography, the beltline spanning an elegant bow along the whole car and the sharpened shoulder connecting with the new rear light are other important design signatures. They all contribute to the confident stance. The overall simplicity, both exterior and interior, has a strong connection to the Scandinavian lifestyle.”
How about the interiors?
“We will continue to build on the premium feel in the new Volvo V40. The new user interface with a large, portrait touch-screen in the centre console allows us to remove almost all buttons. This simplicity is perfectly in tune with our Scandinavian design heritage. It opens up clean surfaces that give us the opportunity to create a luxurious interior experience with new forms.”
“We will deliver on our brand promise to make Volvo customers feeling special by blending, classic handcrafted elements with distinctive, surprising delight details.”
A true cosmopolitan turns 50
Volvo P1800 1961 - 2011
Planned in Sweden, designed in Italy, unveiled at the car show in Brussels, built in Britain and a huge success in the USA. The Volvo P1800 is perhaps Volvo’s most internationally renowned model ever and the one that arouses most emotions. In 2011 this remarkable people’s favourite turns 50. It was in 1961 that it entered production and reached showrooms after four years of careful planning and development, remaining in production for the next twelve years. From the sales perspective it played perhaps a marginal role for the company, but from the image viewpoint it played a far bigger role than any previous Volvo model – and few if any subsequent models have matched it image-wise.
The Volvo P1800 was born for that very reason – to attract the attention of passersby to Volvo’s display windows and to increase what today is known as ‘floor traffic’ so that people who entered the showroom left it in a new Volvo.
Volvo had tried its hand at a sports car back in the early 1950s – the open two-seater plastic-bodied Volvo Sport which was built from 1955 to 1957 with a total production run of just 67 cars. "Not a bad car, but a bad Volvo" was the way Volvo President Gunnar Engellau put it when he retired the model. However, he did recognise the importance of having a prestigious and exciting model to boost overall sales, and Volvo dealers were desperate for just such a car.
Design proposals were ordered from Italy, where Volvo consultant Helmer Petterson – who was deeply involved in the planning of the new car – had got his son Pelle a job at Pietro Frua thanks to Pelle’s fresh degree in industrial design from the Pratt Institute in New York. When the time came to unveil the four proposals to Volvo’s board in 1957, Helmer sneaked in his son Pelle’s fifth design – and that was the one that everyone picked. Engellau in particular liked it since he had very definite views about wanting an Italian-designed car. That of course is precisely what he did get, but it was penned by a 25 year old native of Göteborg who would later make his mark as a boat designer and win Olympic medals in yacht racing.
Eventually, however, the truth behind the winning design proposal emerged. The choleric Engellau blew his top, felt he had been hoodwinked and promised that Pelle would never be acknowledged as the car’s designer. And indeed many years went by before the truth was made known and Pelle Petterson received the credit he was due for penning one of the world’s most attractive sports coupes.
The new sports car – which is how Volvo presented the model – had a fixed roof, a steel body, a lot of the mechanical components lifted straight from the Amazon and the newly developed B18 engine in its 100 hp sports version when it eventually arrived in the showrooms.
Three prototypes were built by Frua in Turin in 1957-1958 on Amazon underpinnings and these cars were used for a variety of purposes, for instances as templates for the production of press tools, in a range of tests, at shows, for press work and advertising photo-shoots and much else. All three have survived and are still on the road.
At this time, Volvo found itself in a hugely expansive phase and the company realised from the outset that it did not have sufficient in-house capacity to manufacture the new model – not for pressing of body panels, nor for painting or assembly, not even on a small scale. The hunt for a suitable partner got under way, led by Helmer Petterson, and after much deliberation a decision was taken to use two British companies to build the car: Pressed Steel would build the bodies and Jensen Motors would paint and assemble the cars. Production got under way but this was a far from friction-free method. Constant problems with personnel, working methods, quality, suppliers and logistics along with an unwillingness to deal with these issues meant that as soon as it was possible, Volvo transferred production home to Sweden.
As of spring 1963 – after 6000 Jensen-built cars – production of the 1800 started up in Volvo’s Lundby factory but it was not until 1969 that body pressings were transferred from Pressed Steel in Scotland to Volvo’s press shop in Olofström. The move home also coincided with a change of name for the P1800. First it was badged the P1800 S, later in 1963 it was known simply as the 1800 S, S standing for Sweden.
During the coupe’s long life, no radical changes were made to the successful exterior lines. Only details such as the grille, trim mouldings, wheels and colours differentiate the various model years. From the technical viewpoint the 1800 shadowed the development of Volvo’s other models and was continuously upgraded. Disc brakes all round, more powerful engines and electronic fuel injection were the most noticeable changes.
Cult car for The Saint and a world record-holder
In 1971, however, a new body variant was presented, the 1800 ES. A sporting hatchback with an extended roofline and an estate car rear featuring a large glass tailgate. A GT and estate car combined. The ES was designed in Göteborg and attracted considerable attention, but it also divided opinion into two camps. It has nonetheless achieved cult status along with its coupe sister and many have survived to this day. Volvo’s 1800 models are very sought-after by enthusiasts – there are several clubs serving the model – and they were for many years relatively inexpensive to buy, although in recent years their prices have started to rise on the classic-car market. Renovating an 1800 is neither easy nor cheap. Many parts are no longer available, particularly for the Jensen-built cars, but owners who have taken the trouble can expect many miles behind the wheel of an exceptionally pleasant, agile and robust car whose value to Volvo in terms of image can never really be fully quantified.
Just ask Roger Moore, who was fortunate enough to drive a P1800 in his role as debonair crime-fighter Simon Templar, a sort of modern-day Robin Hood, in the British TV drama series based on Leslie Charteris’s “The Saint”. The TV production company was looking for an attractive sports car that would suit a gentleman of independent means, and after being turned down by Jaguar approached Volvo to ask for the P1800. Volvo was quick to oblige. It was a brilliant PR move for the new Volvo model and the car became etched firmly in the minds of everyone at the time. To this day the P1800 is still often referred to as The Saint’s car.
Another person who can testify to the car’s excellence is New Yorker Irv Gordon, who has covered more than 4,500,000 kilometres in the 1800 S he purchased in 1966, making him the holder of a Guinness world record that will probably never be able to be beaten. Irv Gordon has spent a total of almost 12 years behind the wheel of his car and he is now aiming for 3,000,000 miles, that is to say about 4,800,000 kilometres. On the same engine!
Timeless 50 year old
The Volvo P1800, this alert 50 year old, was never intended to be a mass-produced car. It was and still is a niche product, the top of the model range, yet at the same time viable enough to be within the reach of ordinary people who wanted a car that looked like a Ferrari but cost and functioned like a Volvo: pleasant, reliable and economical. It appealed to people even before it arrived in the showrooms in 1961 and its design has been shown to stand the test of time: it is timeless, classic and sporty in a well-balanced way. Congratulations to Gunnar Engellau and Helmer Petterson who pushed for Volvo to build the car, to Pelle Petterson who designed it, to Volvo who kept the model going in good times and bad over a period of twelve years, and to all those people who today own and value an 1800 – a truly living piece of Volvo history.
Descriptions and facts in this press material relate to Volvo Car Group's international car range. Described features might be optional. Vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.