Volvo will soon produce the replacement for the aging XC90, the first of four, all-new, top-of-the-line models beginning in 2014. It will then be followed by a new S80 saloon, a V80 estate car, and a new shorter wheelbase 2+2 coupe that will probably be named C80. All of these cars use the new, home-grown, Scaleable Platform Architecture by Volvo.
These models will be available with Volvo’s new lineup of VCA four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines. Buyers can also choose from two manual transmissions and an eight-speed auto.
The new four-cylinder petrol engines generate an output of between 140 and 280bhp while the diesels deliver between 120 and 230bhp.
In the future, Volvo won’t offer V6 or V8 engines. The automaker also said that an optional hybrid transmission, which features an electric motor that drives the rear axle, will offer additional performance and all-wheel drive.
There will also be a conventional mechanical all-wheel drive system as part of the SPA plan. The S80 and V80 are slated to be released in 2015. Sister models such as the S and V60 will also arrive.
While the new coupe will be shorter than the 80-series cars, it will have the same bigger cabin. The XC90 will not deviate too much from the current car but just like its future sister cars, it will have a characteristically tall and bluff front end design and very short front and rear overhangs.
The SPA architecture and the MQB architecture that VW launched are very similar. They use the same engine bay, bulkhead and pedal position but there may be variations with the front overhang, rear overhang and passenger cell.
In addition, SPA makes it possible to have various wheel track widths. But then, SPA will just cover future models from the S60 replacement to a future long wheelbase S80. Volvo sources said that a later replacement for the current V40 (which features a Ford-derived platform) will use a platform shared with another automaker.
Volvo President and Chief Executive Officer Stefan Jacoby said that the V40 is the carmaker’s first C-segment 5-door hatchback. According to him, they expect most of the buyers to be new to Volvo. They also believe that the V40 is, in so many ways, a class leader – from its design, its safety, its driving dynamics, and its fuel economy. The car illustrates Volvo’s 'Designed Around You' philosophy very perfectly, he added. It is a car that’s effortlessly connected to the driver, that’s pleasing and easy to use, that handles in an intuitive way, and that cares for people.
The Volvo V40 has a particularly striking design, with an exterior styled by Chris Benjamin at the company’s Californian studio in Camarillo. Benjamin said that he wanted an emotionally engaging vehicle with a coupé-like look but with a 5-door hatchback’s practicality and functionality. The Pedestrian Airbag Technology enables him to lower the car’s bonnet line and the whole car itself. Compared to a C30 coupé, the V40 is 29 mm lower, making it one of the road’s lowest hatchbacks. The car’s rear styling is also based on the C30, which took cues from the 1970s classic, P1800ES.
Meanwhile, the V40’s cabin was designed to give you the “feel of large car inside a small car.” It has a wide dash, accentuating the big car feel, and an optional new high-tech thin film transistor or TFT instrument digital display. You can select from three different instrument displays: the "eco" setting, which helps you drive economically; the "performance" mode, which suits a more spirited driving; and the "elegance" mode, which is more classical. You can avail of the TFT instrumentation as an option on any Volvo V40 range model.
Volvo V40 also comes with hands-free mobile connectivity as standard, as well as with Bluetooth music streaming, a navigation system in the main instrument cluster that features directions, and a mobile app that helps you locate where you parked your car, allows you to lock or unlock your car’s doors, and gives you a journey log.