Friends of Swedish automobiles can hardly complain about boredom. Saab is completely new under owner NEVS and in Gothenburg all signs are on change. New platform, new engines, new design. Volvo is changing. What the future will look like we were able to see at the IAA.
The Concept Coupe is the first of three studies designed to pave the way for the new Volvo XC90. It will be released at the end of the year, 2014, and will be the first self-developed model on a completely new platform since the split from Ford. Volvo wants, or rather must, grow vigorously in the next few years and open up to other buyers. A risky venture, because you want to be, at least a little bit, like the German premium manufacturers.
A first look at the press photos in my mailbox raised worry lines on my forehead. Is this the future of Volvo? Doesn't the Concept Coupe look too mainstream from Germany? The designer of the study, Thomas Ingenlath, comes from the Volkswagen Group. His stations are Skoda, Audi, Volkswagen. He is the man who will define the future of design for Gothenburg. Can a man with these roots be a Volvo? Are we fair! A photo is a photo. Things often look very different in nature. So go to the Volvo stand!
His inspiration was found in Thomas Ingenlath Volvo 1800. A sporty coupe whose comeback many a Volvo friend wishes. For people who can not do much with Volvo, the original in the glass case hovers somewhat over the study at the booth. So the Volvo Concept Coupe explains itself.
If you look the coupe in the trendy eyes, everything looks different than in the pictures. The lines are pleasantly economical, without being boring. A line, straight and then flattened, defines the side view. Well and - you could say. Could. How clear the Scandinavian design is will only become clear when a completely oversubscribed Mercedes S-Class, the new model, drives through the field of vision on the same day. Uneasy, almost grotesque lines, as with all new products from Stuttgart. The coupe, on the other hand, is pleasantly factual, and now I like the Volvo even more. The first point for Ingenlath!
The other thing is the grill. In the pictures you could almost suspect, Volvo go in the direction of Audi. The Ingolstadt torment for years with increasingly obtrusive grille. All clear, Ingenlath does not do that. The designer continues to develop the traditional Volvo grill. He leads the reinterpretation gently inward, in much the same way as Maserati does. The front receives more presence and still preserves a piece of southern lightness and elegance. Another point that I like.
At the rear you play with design quotes that we've seen somewhere before, but which are new to Volvo in this mix. I like the study and for me it is the most beautiful vehicle at this year's IAA. Volvo design is, one might say, finally evolving. It looks fresher and is still noticeably Scandinavian. Unfortunately, the coupe has no chance of series production. Pity ! But the line launch was successful, and it will be interesting to see how the slim coupe will find itself in the XC90 SUV.
And one last thing. In addition, we - three Saab drivers - felt by far the most comfortable at the Volvo stand. Bright, Scandinavian design elements, friendly. We always knew that from the Saab trade fair appearances. And still, despite the beautiful study and the soothing atmosphere, hand on heart, we missed Saab!