At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Volvo shot us a peek at a bolder future with the simply-named Concept Coupé. In addition to styling, the concept was meant to showcase one application of Volvo's new Scalable Product Architecture, which will make its production debut on the 2015 XC90. The next preview of that architecture is the Concept XC Coupé, a stylish small crossover.
With the NAIAS 2014 reveal still around a month away, details on the new concept car are limited. Volvo says that the XC Coupé "showcases how the company’s famous safety technology as well as a contemporary Scandinavian active lifestyle could be integrated into the new architecture."
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That new scalable architecture, which will be applied to all medium and large Volvo cars, is the backbone of Volvo's effort to make its famously safe cars even safer. In fact, Volvo's ultimate goal is to prevent a single person from being killed or seriously injured in new cars by 2020. The SPA platform uses both structural improvements and new technologies to enhance overall vehicle safety.
"Seven percent of the safety cage in the original XC90 was made of hot-formed boron steel," explains Jan Ivarsson, Volvo's senior manager, safety strategy and requirements. "The structure in the upcoming all-new XC90 features more than 40 percent hot-formed steel, which translates into significantly improved strength without adding mass or weight."
From there, elements like the safety belts, pre-tensioners, whiplash protection system, airbags and inflatable curtains serve to absorb energy and protect occupants. In some cases, new technologies smarten traditional safety features. For instance, the rear-facing radar can detect an imminent rear crash, tightening the seat belts to keep occupants supported and in place.
The new architecture also puts a greater emphasis on sensor and driving-intervention systems, using equipment like radar and cameras to detect hazards and functions such as auto-braking and steering assist to help drivers avoid them. Volvo also mentions Car2Car and Car2Infrastructure capabilities, and says SPA is designed with the intention of implementing future autonomous technologies right up to the self-driving car.
On the styling front, the XC Coupé follows the Concept Coupé closely. From the rear, the two-door crossover shows taillights similar to those on the Concept Coupé but extended up the tailgate. The exhaust trapezoids are also similar, only flipped on their ends and pulled higher up. Also carried over are the strong, chiseled shoulders, which provide the base for the tailgate in this application.
Up front, we see that the car is clearly lifted higher than the Concept Coupé, representing its "Scandinavian active lifestyle" XC intentions. For those, it also has a roof rack-mounted cargo box. It shares its flat nose, headlamp and wheel styling with the Frankfurt coupe concept.
The video below flashes a few extra views of the concept. Volvo plans to release the full details on January 8, preceding a January 13 world premiere in Detroit. Gizmag will be at the Detroit show, bringing you the latest on this concept car and the other debuts that get the 2014 auto-show season rolling.