After three beautiful concepts, the wait is coming to an end at the Mondial de l’Automobile: Volvo is unveiling a production car: the XC90. It is introducing the Volvo style led by German Thomas Ingenlath and a hybrid engine of 400 hp. It is clear to see the filiation with the three previous concepts cars seen in Frankfurt, Detroit and Geneva.
The new XC90 is the first vehicle to feature the redesigned logo, the well-known iron emblem, with the iconic spire of the company aligned with the diagonal bar across the grid. The headlights are designed like a T-shape called « Hammer of Thor » by the communication team…No doubt that the iron logo presents an innovative and distinctive face, fitting with the impression of strength the next generation Volvo vehicles ahead should give.
In term of volume and shape there is no surprise: it is a Volvo. And the style is clearly robust even though it is not very advanced. Surfaces are very clean and simple with no extravaganza, but this is what you can expect from a Volvo. It might look a little bit too reserved for some of us and certainly appears less innovative and futuristic than any of the previous concept, but remember, this one is a production car.
« The overall impression of both the inside and outside is closely related to key elements of the Swedish way of life, generous space, importance of light and focus on well-being, » says Thomas Ingenlath, Vice President for Design at Volvo Car Group. And this is well translated in the exterior design since you are attracted to open the door because you feel you are coming home…And when you open the door…you are home!
The interior space is huge and light. It can accommodate seven passengers easily. The thin seat design allows more space. The third row offers comfortable space for two passengers measuring up to 1.70 meters. The simplicity, even in its luxury, of the interior fits perfectly with the idea of the Scandinavian design heritage. The combination of leather, crystal – for the gear shift knob – and wood, with handmade details, gives you the feeling of sitting home in a sofa, ready to read a good book next to your fireplace. And when you do that, you usually want to listen to some good music…isn’t it? This is why Volvo audio designers have worked together with their counterparts in the British audio equipment company renowned Bowers & Wilkins. This car is an auditorium.
The most striking feature of the new XC90 is the fact that the center of the dashboard is identical to a touch screen tablet, which forms the heart of the new integrated control system. From that the driver and its passenger can have access to the whole car systems and to the connected services.
At the Mondial de l’Automobile, the Lion from Sochaux was showing a concept car which seems to be an outline of what the 6008, Audi Q5 and BMW X3 among others future competitor, could be. It follows themes already seen two years ago on the Onyx. In its production version, the line of the vehicle will be softened and it will receive four traditional doors, but no doubt that it will keep this aggressive image. The lines are sharp, surfaces are complex. The feeling is ultra-athletic for such a car. The extremely short overhangs certainly help and give as much room as possible for the occupants. The upper part of the Quartz gives the impression of a single block. The sculpted body captures the light. The ratio in between body and glass is pushed to a ratio of three-quarter against one quarter. For comparison, at Audi, it is rather two-thirds, one-third. In order to help aerodynamic the glass roof finish into two spoilers. From side view, they are aligned with the “coupe-franche”, the recent Peugeot design signature. This oblique line separates the two color finish of the vehicle.
It is certainly on the inside that the show car is more impressive and more advanced. The compact sporty steering wheel integrates many controls, allowing driver to play with driving modes and shift gears. The first thing you see when you sit in, is this amazing info screen behind the wheel, featuring all information you need such as speedometer, tachymeter, navigation and infotainment. Since it was introduced in the Audi TT Mk III, this seems to be the new car interior trend. And certainly a good indication of what next generation Peugeot car will use as technology.
Exalt and Quartz interiors are designed in the same way: towards and around the driver. Like in the Peugeot Exalt, the central console is also featuring the 7 key “piano” that are totally configurable. The central console is made of basalt which gives the impression of strength and lightness. Quartz is the first-ever vehicle to employ a digitally woven textile. The process is very innovative, since it does not produce any waste by avoiding cuts: it can create large and complex parts that can be used right as they are produced. By using recycled materials, such as the kind of plastic used for water bottle, this process is, like the paper for the Exalt dashboard, following the UPCYCLING process Peugeot wants to use and promote…
With the Exalt and the Quartz, Gilles Vidal’s teams are giving us some good inputs of what Peugeot’s future will be. Now we have to wait…we hope not for too long…
Introduced at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2014, the concept car Exalt returned to Paris at the Paris Motor Show with slight changes. This show car tends to prove that Peugeot is very interested in producing a high-end sedan in the coming years.
Make no mistake: the Exalt was not born Coupé to which designers would have added 2 openings. The Exalt is, according to in-house designers, the SUBLIMATION OF A SEDAN: a complete sedan with its codes and comfort…but with a dynamic and elegant appearance.
The standout element of the exterior designed by Romain Saquet, is clearly the “clean cut” on the rear part, delimitating the use of the microstructure material inspired by « sharkskin » which attracts and accelerates air cells in order to reduce aero drag. If it was ocher in Beijing, it is dark gray in Paris. The rest of the car body is still finished in untreated steel. The body will oxidize and will evolve throughout the years…
The interior architecture, according to its designer Alessandro Riga, is designed for the human body, around the human body. The lower part is comfortable and envelops the cabin up to the chest. Material choice is made around the idea of LOCAL SOURCING: depending on the location of sales and production, parts are manufactured with technical and local products. In Beijing the dashboard was carved in a wood coming from China, while in Paris and Europe the same part is made of recycled compressed paper to give the feeling of wood and remembering the business pages of major newspapers. We’re talking here about UPCYCLING since wood is « reincarnated » and somehow “back to life”. As Lavoisier (1743-1794, Chemist) said: “nothing is lost, nothing is created, and everything is transformed”.
The attention given to the cockpit (see 208 and 308) is part of the Design Manifest of Peugeot and Alessandro Riga gave a particular consciousness to the top part of it in the Exalt. The information is fully oriented toward the human with the head up display instrumentation. Detail of great importance, Alessandro told us that his theme was inspired by the universe of music with its impression of freedom given to hands especially with these 7 keys « piano » that are totally configurable.
The Exalt is using the “Hybrid4 system” developing 340Hp in theory for a total weight of 1.700 kgs.
By showing this car in Paris after Beijing, there is no doubt that Peugeot has something in mind…let’s be patient…