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Volvo XC60 Concept

 


17th December, 2006

 

Volvo XC60 Concept

The XC60 Concept offers the world a preview of the next XC model to come from Volvo Cars. A production model to be known as XC60 is expected in 2009. The concept car will make its international debut at the 2007 Detroit Motor Show in an endeavour to attract attention to the Volvo stand.

The XC60 Concept also introduces several design innovations and reveals several design elements that will be part of future Volvos.

Volvo Cars Design Director Steve Mattin and his team have designed the XC60 Concept while keeping focused on one clear goal. "In recent years we have successfully emphasised the Scandinavian characteristics that base prestige on timeless, functional elegance. Now we're elevating our design DNA to an entirely new level by literally pumping up our cars' visual volume," says Mattin.

He adds: "With more expressive, emotive shapes, it will be a magnet for the viewer's eyes. If you say that you recognise a Volvo from 50 metres today, I want to get to the point in the future where you will instantly identify a Volvo from twice that distance."

From the design viewpoint, the XC60 Concept is a daring, emotionally charged design. The concept car, dazzling in Tin Bronze livery, combines attributes from two dynamic car types.

Enlarged Iron Mark in the grille
The Iron Mark was reintroduced on Volvo's cars almost two years ago and now it has been enlarged to make the brand image even stronger. Embedded in the trapezoidal grille, the enlarged Iron Mark outwardly displays confidence.

The new angled position lights on both sides of the grille are also part of the DNA of Volvo's next car generation. Together with the headlamps and the sweeping front guards, they radiate an aggressive stance that also emphasises the bonnet's V-shape.

The sculpted, emotive shapes that are such an important part of Mattin's design direction in the future become particularly pronounced when the XC60 Concept is viewed in profile.

With 20-inch wheels, accentuated wheel housings and aluminium scuff-plates, the muscular XC feel is emphasised in the lower half of the car, while the windows' sleek profile and the dramatic roof line give the upper part a sporty coupe ambience.

Three-way innovative tailgate design
"At the rear, the expressive, sculptured shapes provide additional hints on the direction our design DNA is set to take. The contours of the tall tail lamps highlight the muscular shoulders and the tailgate's trapezoidal shape is a further development of the glass tailgate in the Volvo C30," explains Mattin.

The tailgate design features another ingenious innovation. The lower section moves out and up over the upper section. This provides a sufficient opening for small items without requiring the entire tailgate to be opened. Of course, the tailgate can also be fully opened. The third alternative is to open only the upper section.

Another exciting innovation is the dark panel in the lower part of the tailgate. Viewed from inside, it becomes transparent to improve the driver's ability to see the area rearward of the car.

The roof is also transparent with dark-tinted glass attached atop a Y-shaped frame structure.

At the rear, the Volvo name on the tailgate features prominent lettering with wider spacing than before. This too is a new feature that will be echoed throughout the model range.

Elegant, high-tech interior
The XC60 Concept features an interior that is as daring in design as is the exterior. This applies particularly to the instrument panel and floating centre console and the slim, visually floating front and rear seats.

The interior is dominated by the elegant combination of saddle leather and aluminium. The upper part is typically Scandinavian light, while the lower section has a contrasting dark, espresso shade.

Mattin's team has given thought to interior lighting and its effect with the aim of providing functional areas of light and a pleasant ambience - mood lighting that emphasises the modern atmosphere inside the XC60 Concept.

Instrument pod with wings
The driver's main instrument resembles a bumble-bee with a round analogue speedometer as the "body" in the middle flanked by two digital "wings" featuring display screens for other information.

The instrument panel and the new steering wheel harmonise with the iconic floating centre console, which is angled toward the driver. The floating centre console is even slimmer than in today's production models (S40, V50, C70 and S80) freeing up additional storage space behind the console.

"The white iPod-inspired surface is almost like a smooth wall of snow, surrounded by a metal frame that emphasises the asymmetrical shape. Buttons and controls are integrated into the surface and the "invisible" screen for information and navigation appears only when it is switched on, starting up with a spectacular pulsating sequence. The screen image is back projected, which makes the centre console one of the innovative highlights of the interior," says Mattin.

The four rotary controls also become alive through the start-up sequence. All other buttons are touch sensitive.

The unique gear selector is an innovation. Design inspiration came in the form of a sliding control of the same type as found on a mixer-table of light and sound technicians. The doors' control panels are also identical to the centre console.

Slim seats
In the XC60 Concept, the seats are slim with asymmetrical lines that provide added comfort, particularly when climbing in and out of the car. The lightly coloured seats appear to float above the dark floor.

All seats have integrated seat belts. The head restraints and backrests, in both the front and rear seats, feature a pony-tail slot. This feature was introduced a couple of years ago in the Volvo YCC (Your Concept Car). In the XC60 Concept the feature has been extended down the seat back to provide enhanced ventilation and improved rearward vision. The slots also feature integrated ambient lighting.

"By turning the head, the driver can see all the way through his or her own seat, through the rear seat's backrest, and through the transparent panel at the lower corner of the tailgate. This promotes added safety in a car type where height may otherwise limit rearward vision," explains Mattin.

The pony tail slots in the rear backrests feature the same type of attachment points as in the luggage compartment floor. This permits a wide variety of possibilities for using accessories or securing different types of loads. In addition, there is storage space for a specially designed XC60 Concept luggage set under the rear seats, conveniently accessible via the rear doors.

A promise of things to come
"The XC60 features a number of innovations that indicate how our cars will look in a few years. It is time to once and for all forget all about boxy Volvos. Instead, we will make our Scandinavian design heritage more emotional and radiant by adding sculptured, exciting shapes and new, innovative features," explains Mattin.




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