Little did we know when we looked at Peugeot's next-generation i-Cockpit last week, we'd soon be discussing another freestanding interior concept, a successor to the 2015 Volvo Lounge Concept. Revealed at Auto China 2016, the new Volvo Lounge Concept builds upon last year's spacious rear cabin design. Volvo calls it a "unique piece of art." We call it "the backseat we want to take our next road trip in."
At last year's Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo stepped up its luxury game with the XC90 Excellence, its most luxurious vehicle ever. It also played to the Chinese audience by experimenting with the idea of an even roomier, more luxurious rear cabin called the Lounge Console.
While the Excellence package already upped interior spaciousness and legroom by dropping the number of XC90 seats down to four, the Lounge Console took things further yet, dropping the front passenger seat to open up a stretched rear passenger area with added amenities. The Excellence package took the XC90 interior from comfort class to first class, and the Lounge Console picked it up to near-private jet level.
This time around, Volvo hasn't even bothered with the car. It's pulled the new Lounge Console out of the upcoming S90 Excellence it is based on and displayed it as an interior sculpture, taking away any focus that might be put on the car body and directing it all toward the cabin's stretched-out, straight-legged glory.
The new Lounge Console is quite similar to the original, complete with the footrest/shoebox in place of the front passenger seat, retractable digital display and fold-out table, but Volvo has fleshed the vision out a little better this time around. The rear passenger can use the available equipment to transform the space for three specific purposes.
In work mode, the fold-out table supports a keyboard and the display gets used for the likes of email writing and spreadsheet building. Entertainment mode sees Netflix or other video content playing on the display and audio playing over Bowers & Wilkins wireless headphones. Simplest of all, relaxation mode entails switching the power off, moving the table aside, and going fully reclined and relaxed.
Beyond those Lounge Console-specific features, the design also benefits from the amenities included in the Excellence suite, such as reclining seats with massage function, center console drinks refrigerator, retractable touchscreen controller, heated/cooled cup holder and crystal glasses hand-cut by Swedish glassmaker Orrefors - because who rolls through the drive-through and sips from a styrofoam cup with bendy straw inside this cabin?
Volvo falls short of confirming the Lounge Console for production, but it sure seems like the automaker is moving in the direction of offering it as an "Excellence" option, at least in China.
"We had such positive feedback with our original Lounge Console Concept in the XC90 that we wanted to take it a step closer to reality in an S90 Excellence interior," said Robin Page, Volvo Cars' VP of interior design.