A hint of the future of Volvo car design was unveiled amid a flurry of photographers’ flashbulbs at the 73rd Geneva International Motor Show. The Volvo Versatility Concept Car (VCC) takes the estate concept to new levels of performance, technology and luxury. The exterior design of the Versatility Concept Car (VCC) is both dramatic and simple; perhaps a reflection of the fact that two of Volvo’s design studios have joined forces in its creation: Barcelona in Spain and Göteborg in Sweden. Some of the inspiration has been obtained from Volvo’s rich design heritage; the distinctive rear design with a glass tailgate, also featured in the Safety Concept Car, traces its roots to the 1971 Volvo P1800 ES. The large, distinguished grille is descended from the 1968 Volvo 164.
Among the most noticeable features in the front are the slim, vertically stacked headlamps. The inner of the two lamps uses a system known as ‘Static Bending Light’ with three light units aimed at different angles. The top fixture points straight ahead and performs as a conventional dipped beam. As the car turns, however, sensors linked to the steering activate units two and finally three to illuminate the direction in which the car is headed. This system carves out a superior light pattern in the dark when driving on twisting roads, thus boosting safety standards. The outer headlamp contains main beam and side marker lamps. The VCC design is also characterized by the absence of a B-pillar, made possible by hinging the back doors at the rear instead of the front. This design promotes the display of the remarkable interior, but is, for safety reasons, not intended for production cars.
Elegant simplicity perhaps best epitomizes the VCC’s instrument binnacle. This is an evolution of Volvo Cars’ current product programs, in particular the XC90 instrument panel. By minimizing the number of design elements, visual pollution is reduced. The surface finishes and colors harmonize with the other elements of the interior. The interior of the Versatility Concept Car has no visible conventional air vents. Instead, air is distributed via concealed outlets. The latter prevents unwanted reflections in the windscreen and provides silent and more uniform air distribution. Additional air is ducted through the tunnel console. The fixed-center steering wheel allows more controls to be positioned on the wheel, including buttons for the Automated Shifted Manual gearbox. The ergonomic benefits are that the switches and controls are always in the same position. Safety advantages include the possibility for the airbag to be designed for optimum performance. The use of high-strength steel in the construction of the A-pillars allows a slimmer design for significantly improved visibility – without sacrificing safety.
The truly unique and luxuriously designed seating arrangement is beautifully crafted using the traditions of the saddle-maker. Thick, saddle-quality Havana hides complimented with Tempur-foam pads (a Swedish invention) for maximum comfort. The primary objective for the luggage compartment is to create the same sensorial impact as that of the passenger’s lounge. The application of colors and high-grade materials together with minute attention to detail conveys an exclusive atmosphere without sacrificing practicality. For example, the tumble-mill soft leather for the load floor is both durable and luxurious. For maximum versatility and convenience, the load floor is electrically operated via controls mounted on the D-pillar. The floor slides out from the luggage compartment making it easier to load heavy or awkward items. Beneath the load floor are two storage compartments, one heated and one chilled.
The roof panel features an X-frame with ambient lighting. It is operated by slider controls in the overhead console. An illuminated IC (Inflatable Curtain) logo offers another reminder of the safety system incorporated in the roof panel.
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Source: Volvo Press Release