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Volvo designers give clues to next XC90

How Swede it is: This frontal sketch could provide hints for the next-generation Volvo XC90 SUV, due around 2014.

US publications reveal design sketches for Volvo’s flagship XC90 SUV due in 2014

22 Nov 2011

VOLVO’S Californian design studio has given American journalists a look at possible design directions for the next-generation XC90, due in about 2014.

Car and Driver has published four sketches – all different – that it says were revealed to its journalist on a tour of the Camarillo studio coinciding with last week’s Los Angeles motor show opening.

The images came as a surprise to Volvo Australia, which could not immediately confirm if they were official or how they came to be in the public domain.

Car and Driver reported that Volvo did not say if any of the four sketches would get the green light for the production car, but rival Automotive News – which was also along on the studio tour – says the final XC90 design “freeze” is due in six months.

Automotive News reported that renderings of the S80 replacement and next S60 were also shown to the journalists, although none of those drawings have surfaced.

Assuming the XC90 sketches are real, they are likely to be themes – early design musings – for the next model that, as GoAuto has already reported, will be built on Volvo’s new lightweight Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) that is also expected to spawn the replacement for the flagship sedan, the S80, in about 2015.

18 center imageLeft: Possible Volvo SUV sketches. Below: Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid.

The XC90 will be the first Volvo model to emerge on the SPA platform that is expected to be about 145kg lighter than current architectures and engineered to take electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, as well as the conventional petrol and diesel offerings.

Volvo is phasing out its V6 and inline five-cylinder engines, opting for an all-four-cylinder range.

Automotive News says an all-new four-cylinder engine will debut in 2013.

It is unclear if this engine will replace Ford’s EcoBoost four-cylinder engine range that Volvo only recently introduced in the S60, S80, V60 and V70 – a hangover from the period when Volvo was a Blue Oval brand, before it sold the Swedish enterprise to China’s Geely.

Volvo’s new plug-in hybrid diesel-electric powertrain is expected to make its first appearance at the 2012 Detroit motor show in January ahead of a production roll-out in the V60 hybrid next yearThe hybrid wagon, which was shown at July’s Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne, is expected to go on sale in Australia in 2013.

Figures quoted by Volvo suggest dramatic 1.9 litres per 100km fuel economy – better than the General Motors Volt range extender’s 2.5L/100km rating – and ultra-low CO2 emissions of 49 grams per kilometre.

The powertrain combines a 158kW 2.4-litre D5 turbo-diesel and 50kW electric motor for a total 208kW of power and 640Nm of torque, with an ell-electric driving range of about 50km.

The diesel engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor propels the rear, and when combined under ‘Power’ mode, the V60 can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h acceleration in 6.9 seconds.

Battery charge time is claimed to be 4.5 hours with a 10-amp electric system – increasing to 7.5 hours with a 6A outlet and decreasing to three hours with a 16A system.

The first pure-electric Volvo to arrive in Australia is expected to be a variant of an all-new five-door hatchback, codenamed Y555, that will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March next year and offered Down Under in abut 2014.

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