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Volvo XC coupe concept (2014) gives first glimpse of new XC90 styling

Wed, 11 Dec 2013

By Damion Smy and Ollie Kew

First Official Pictures

11 December 2013 12:00

A teaser picture and two design sketches give the latest official clues to how the 2014 Volvo XC90 will look.

This is the XC Coupe, the second of three concept cars penned by Volvo’s new design chief, Thomas Ingenlath. Many of the car’s cues are shared with the Volvo Concept Coupe we saw (and liked) earlier in 2013.

Details like the split headlights, upright front grille and clamshell bonnet are carried over the XC Coupe, along with the latest interpretation of Volvo’s trademark ‘climbing’ rear lights. These slim LEDs emphasise the car’s butch shoulders, and hint at Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System, first pioneered in 1991.

The main concept car fodder applied to the two-door XC Coupe concept are the vertical exhausts and chunky, coloured tyres. We’ll see the car revealed in full ahead of the Detroit motor show in January 2014.

Unlike its BMW, Mercedes and Range Rover rivals, the Volvo SUV won’t wear overtly brash styling. Design director Thomas Ingenlath tells CAR: ‘We are not reinventing Volvo; we want to be beautiful and elegant in an era where the whole market is about being loud.’

Ingenlath is keen that Volvos have a distinct character, a ‘Scandinavian Design’ unique to the Gothenberg-based brand following the sad demise of Saab in 2012. What does this mean? Not having designers scan Ikea and Bodum catalogues, says Ingenlath. ‘We’re designing cars, not chairs,’ he says. ‘Scandinavian design needs this utter consequence of attention to detail.’

So, if you’re jaded with fussy modern car design, Volvo might be onto a winner with its clean-cut future. Ingenlath describes the minimal ‘hard styling lines’ of his new Volvo as ‘a classic way of describing the highlights of the car – just like the crease in your trousers’

The reveal of the XC Coupe comes just a day after CAR scooped the new XC90 test mule, undergoing evaluation in the UK. The cut-and-shut V70 exposed a wider track and taller ride height sprouting from its bizarrely exaggerated body. Underneath, the 4x4 will use Volvo’s new SPA platform (Scalable Product Architecture).

Unlike the VW Group’s modular ‘MQB’ chassis underpinnings, SPA isn’t just for mid-sized cars. While VW’s MQB is used for the new Mk7 Golf and Passat, Volvo’s SPA can be used to support anything from a family hatchback to a large SUV, cutting production costs, saving weight, and increasing cabin space.

By Damion Smy and Ollie Kew