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01/05/2011 583

Volvo - XC60 Concept

The XC60 Concept – a glimpse of the next Volvo XC – and of the future design language

 The XC60 Concept is very much a car for the future.  It not only offers the world a sneak preview of the next XC model to come from Volvo Cars. The concept car is also full of design innovation and it 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 their eyes firmly focused on one clear goal. “In recent years we have successfully emphasized 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 Steve 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 where you will instantly spot it from twice that distance in the future.”

From the design viewpoint, the XC60 Concept is a daring, emotionally charged creation. The concept car, resplendent in a dashing Tin Bronze livery, has been spiced up with the very best from two dynamic car types.  “Down below, unmistakable and capable XC muscles pump up the car, giving it a purposeful stance with high ground clearance on large wheels. Above the waistline, the dashing lines trace the profile and sporty charisma of an elegant, sexy coupe”, says Steve Mattin.

 Enlarged iron mark in the grille

The classic 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 large iron mark provides a distinctive signal that the future has arrived.

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 wings, they radiate an aggressive stance that also emphasizes the bonnet’s classic V-shape.

The skid-plates front and rear are integrated to give an elegant yet distinct signal that this is primarily a crossover with pronounced on-road properties.

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

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.

 New 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 Steve Mattin.

The tailgate design features another ingenious innovation. The lower part moves out and up over the upper part. This creates 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 only open the upper part.

Another exciting solution is the dark panel in the lower part of the tailgate. Viewed from inside, it is transparent to improve the driver’s ability to see the area behind the car.  The roof is also transparent, with dark-tinted glass attached on top of a Y-shaped bearing structure.

At the rear, the Volvo name on the tailgate features more pronounced lettering with wider spacing than before. This too is a new feature that will be echoed throughout the model range to boost the brand’s image.

 Elegant, high-tech interior

The XC60 Concept has an interior design that is at least as daring as the exterior. This applies particularly to the instrument panel and floating centre stack 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 brown shade.  Steve Mattin’s team has also given a lot of thought to lighting inside the cabin, with the aim of creating both 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 harmonize with the iconic floating centre stack, which is angled towards the driver. It is even slimmer than in today’s production models, 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 entirely 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 stack one of the innovative highlights of the interior,” says Steve Mattin.

The four rotary controls also come alive during the start-up sequence. All other buttons are touch-sensitive.  The unique gear selector is an innovation, a sliding control of the same type as found in the mixer-tables used by light and sound technicians. The doors’ control panels are also identical to the centre stack.

 Slim seats

Volvo Cars is world-renowned for comfortable and ergonomically designed seats. In the XC60 Concept, they are refined even further with slim, asymmetrical lines that provide added comfort, particularly when climbing in and out of the car. The light-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), and in the XC60 Concept it has been extended all the way down the 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 whose height may otherwise limit rearward vision,” explains Steve 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 whole 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 what our cars will look like 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,” says Steve Mattin.

SOURCE: Volvo (2006-12-14)

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The XC60 Project – delivering a capable and charismatic crossover from Volvo

 The Volvo XC60 Concept takes centre stage at the Detroit Motor Show, integrating both the unmistakable, muscular XC-versatility and the sporty charisma of a coupe.  “One might say that this could be the C30 owner’s next car. Equally sporty and exciting, but far more capable. The concept car offers a good indication of what the “real” XC60 will look like,” says Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.  The new Volvo XC60 is planned to reach the showrooms at the beginning of 2009.

The concept car shows that Volvo Cars’ XC60 project is ready to challenge the competition in what is currently the toughest and fastest-growing segment in the automotive world – the Small Premium Utility segment. Today there are only a handful of models in this segment but within the next few years buyers will have at least ten to choose between.

Between 2007 and 2009, the segment’s sales volume is expected to expand by 75 percent to 443,000 cars.   “There is considerable potential here and the concept car shows that we both can and actually dare to be even sportier and more dynamic while retaining our firm lead when it comes to safety. The technological solutions for avoiding low-speed collisions represent a major breakthrough. We call this system City Safety,” explains Fredrik Arp.

The chosen power train for the Volvo XC60 Concept is a six-cylinder, 3.2-litre bio-ethanol engine with All Wheel Drive, offering dynamic performance in the form of 265 horsepower and 251 lb/ft (340 Nm) of torque – with emissions of fossil carbon dioxide dropping by up to 80 percent when driving, compared with the same engine running only on gasoline.

 Target group with high demands on technology

As with the recently introduced Volvo C30, Volvo’s XC60 project is aimed at a specific target group with high demands on design, brand value and high-tech solutions in their choice of lifestyle products.

Tongue-in-cheek, one might say that these are consumers who always regard the microchip as a natural complement to their breakfast cereal. Consumers who have grown up in an era during which electronic products have undergone unimaginable development – and for whom every birthday has brought greater electronic capacity in ever-smaller gift packages.

This generation is constantly on the lookout for the very latest gadget and as a group it is becoming increasingly influential and building up increasing purchasing power. When it comes to the choice of car, these consumers adopt the same approach as they apply to other products; it should preferably cater for all their needs in one attractive, smart package.

 Capable XC muscles down below, elegant coupe above the waistline

From the design viewpoint the XC60 Concept is a daring creation, a fusion of the very best elements from two distinctive yet dynamic car types. Down below, the unmistakable and capable XC muscles pump up the car, giving it a distinctive stance with high ground clearance on large wheels. Above the waistline, the sleek lines trace the profile and sporty charisma of an elegant coupe.

The XC60 Concept has an interior design that is at least as daring as the exterior. This applies particularly to the instrument panel and centre stack and the slim, visually floating front and rear seats.  “The concept car not only provides a good indication of what the XC60 will look like, it also offers a hint of the lines of future Volvo models. With a more sculptured look, our cars will be more extrovert in their visual appeal. If you say that you recognise a Volvo from 50 metres today, I want to get to the point where people will instantly spot it from twice the distance in the future,” says Steve Mattin, Design Director at Volvo Cars.

 Deliveries to customers in early 2009

With the XC60 Concept, Volvo Cars is announcing that the XC family, which presently consists of the XC70 and XC90, will be expanded in the beginning of 2009.  Just like the two current models in the XC range, the Volvo XC60 is based on passenger car technology, making it possible to combine its rugged capability with a dynamic and entertaining drive.  “I would like to emphasise that with the XC60 project as with the C30, we are aiming primarily at lifestyle rather than age. We are broadening our model range to primarily attract more customers with an active, urban lifestyle. The XC60 will be just as important as the C30 in our planned sales volume expansion,” concludes Fredrik Arp.

SOURCE: Volvo (2006-12-14)

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Volvo XC60 Concept – six-cylinder bio-ethanol engine

The chosen power-train for the Volvo XC60 Concept is a six-cylinder, 3.2-litre bio-ethanol engine with All Wheel Drive. The engine offers the driver dynamic performance in the form of 265 horsepower and 251 lb/ft (340 Nm) of torque – with emissions of fossil carbon dioxide dropping by up to 80 percent when driving, compared with the same engine running only on gasoline.

At the moment, three of Volvo Cars’ nine models – the C30, S40 and V50 – are available on nine European markets with the bio-ethanol-powered FlexiFuel alternative. These cars all have a four-cylinder engine.  “We believe that the FlexiFuel has great potential also for larger engine sizes and we are planning to expand our range of bio-ethanol-powered engines in the coming years,” says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars.

The power train for the XC60 Concept uses the same six-cylinder, in-line petrol engine that was introduced in the new Volvo S80 in 2006. The engine has been optimised for E85 (85 percent bio-ethanol, 15 percent gasoline). This gives 265 horsepower and 251 lb/ft (340 Nm) of torque and acceleration from 0–60 mph in 8.2 seconds. Top speed is approximately 143 mph (228 km/h).

Fuel economy when running on E85 is 19.2 mpg (12.3 litres/100 km). This is a competitive figure for this type car, since the energy content of ethanol is 40% lower than that of gasoline. Bio-ethanol is also an entirely renewable fuel that can be produced from just about any biomass source, such as corn, wheat, sugar-cane and cellulose. This means that emissions of fossil carbon dioxide drop by up to 80 percent when driving on E85 bio-ethanol , compared with running the same car on gasoline.  On top of the environmental benefits mentioned above, on many markets the car owner is compensated at the fuel pump through the lower price of bio-ethanol.

Bio-ethanol on the move

Renewable bio-ethanol is a fuel that is on the move in Europe and Volvo Cars has launched FlexiFuel models on several new markets this autumn and will continue to do so in 2007. Markets to get Volvo’s FlexiFuel cars outside Sweden are France, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland. Volvo Cars predicts sales of 7,000 FlexiFuel cars in 2007.

At present there are 23 plants producing ethanol in Europe and this figure is expected to rise to just over 60 in 2008. All told, about 720 million gallons (2.7 billion litres) of ethanol are produced annually within the European Union, primarily from sugar beet and various grains. Capacity is expected to increase threefold by 2008.

As of August 2006, the United States had 101 bio-ethanol plants in operation and with a capacity of 4.8 billion gallons per year. 39 bio-ethanol refineries are under construction and 7 more are expanding, which will add more than 2.5 billion gallons of capacity when complete. Ethanol is blended in 40 percent of the U.S. gasoline supply and there are already about 1,000 filling stations for E85 in the United States.

Environmental benefits

“One single renewable fuel will not be able to replace today’s fossil fuels, and the range of alternative fuels will probably be far wider in the future. Many different fuels and technologies are therefore being developed in parallel. Ethanol reduces dependency on fossil fuels and Volvo Cars’ FlexiFuel programme makes a vital contribution to our strategy of environmental sustainability,” concludes Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

SOURCE: Volvo (2006-12-21)

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