This week marks the start of the Beijing Motor Show, which, if you're Volvo, means one thing: experimenting with a new premium three-seater concept for Chinese business moguls. Based on the S90 Excellence, Volvo's new Ambience Concept closes out the chaos of the city and highway and tantalizes the senses with synchronized visuals, smells and sounds.
If you're wondering why a carmaker would load its cabin up with a smell-and-light show, well, we'll just let Volvo's head of design Robin Page explain: "The Ambience Concept redefines luxury by taking it beyond material choices, creating a car that connects with your senses. The design explores how people feel inside the car and enables them to influence their own mood and well-being."
The system is designed primarily for the VIP passenger in the upsized rear seat, who can use the accompanying smartphone app to make one of seven visual displays dance across the ceiling. Each visual comes with its own set of sounds and scents.
Volvo explains that options range from "relaxing to invigorating" and include themes like Northern Lights, Scandinavian Forest and Swan Lake. You can also relax the ride away with Nocturnal mode or rely on the "boost of fresh and uplifting energy" of Freedom mode – an automotive version of a shot of espresso, from the sounds of it.
The light show is cast onto the headliner from a projection system integrated between the rear seats, while accompanying sounds play over the B&W premium audio system, which includes headrest tweeters for localized delivery. Four distinct scents developed by the fragrance experts at Byredo find their way to the olfactories via a pop-up dispenser in the center console.
The Ambience may seem merely a quirky concept car, but Volvo is expressing some interest in making it available as part of the S90 Excellence, with focus on the Chinese market.
"The Ambience Concept was created primarily for the China market and provides a contrast to China's sometimes hectic city environments," says Martin Andersson, senior commercial product manager at Volvo Cars' Special Vehicles department.
Volvo sold more than 100,000 vehicles in China last year, making the country its largest single market as it set a fourth consecutive annual sales record. China is also the largest market for the S90 sedan, specifically.
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