There’s only two weeks left before the launch of the 2015 Volvo XC90, and to whet our appetites for the new seven-seater SUV, Volvo has given us what must surely be the final teaser, this time showing the car’s headlights.
The angular full-LED setup is reminiscent of the company’s recent concepts – the Concept Coupe, Concept XC Coupe and Concept Estate – and features distinctive T-shaped daytime running lights which the design team dubs “Thor’s Hammer”.
Volvo also revealed a host of new details about its new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) which the new XC90 is the first to sit on. The modular platform is a vital part of the company’s US$11 billion plan to revitalise the company, and will enable a wide range of vehicles, powertrains, electrical systems and technologies to be engineered onto the same architecture, increasing economies of scale.
With SPA, designers get much more freedom, with the wheelbase, overhangs, vehicle height and the height of the front all being flexible to suit their needs. Only the dash-to-axle length remains fixed.
The new platform also cuts weight and improves weight distribution, which should enhance the driving experience. Interior flexibility is another area where the SPA excels – the new XC90’s seats are designed to free up interior space for second- and third-row passengers, helping to make it a proper seven-seater.
All seats on the second row can be slid to improve legroom for the people behind them – enabling “class-leading comfort” for third-row passengers up to 170 cm tall – or to increase loading capacity with the rear seats folded.
Under the bonnet, the new XC90 will be powered by a range of Drive-E engines from the new modular Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) family. The 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines are turbocharged to different levels depending on the application, from high-output variants to fuel-efficient versions. SPA is also able to integrate electrified powertrains at all levels without sacrificing interior or load space.
The most powerful model, the T8 “Twin Engine”, combines a 2.0 litre supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, offering around 400 hp and 640 Nm as well as a 40 km all-electric range and carbon dioxide emissions of around 60 grams per kilometre.
Volvo’s reputation for safety is further bolstered thanks to the extensive use of high-strength boron steel, which will enable cars built on SPA to be smaller and safer at the same time. The platform also includes a new electrical architecture that makes the car significantly smarter, and is designed to make it much easier to swap out fast advancing technologies such as the microprocessors, sensors and cameras.
Benefits of such a system include the introduction of new safety features that prevent accidents, as well as new multimedia and connectivity options. “We have created a single nerve system with full control over all the connections in the vehicle. This is unique in the industry,” said Volvo senior vice president of research and development Peter Mertens.
One last interesting tidbit of information of the Volvo XC90 comes when looking at the image of the rear suspension layout above, which shows what looks like a composite leaf spring setup for the multi-link rear suspension. Here, the spring is mounted transversely instead of longitudinally as on regular pickup trucks, and only serves to replace more space-consuming coil springs.
Seen such a setup before? If you’ve looked under a Corvette, you probably have, as all seven generations of the American sports car have used transversely-mounted leaf springs to some degree. Volvo is no stranger to such a design, either, having previously used it on the 960.