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Paris show: Volvo's XC90 opens door on ‘a new era’

Second coming: Volvo's new XC90 will be built on the company's Scalable Product Architecture that will also underpin the next-gen S60 and XC60.

Second-generation XC90 SUV unveiled, revealing Volvo's future design direction


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27 Aug 2014

VOLVO'S new XC90 SUV has been revealed after a three-year, $A12 billion development program and months of teaser campaigns, with the Swedish company saying the event marks a new era for the brand.

To be publically revealed at the Paris motor show in October, the new XC90 is the first Volvo production vehicle to incorporate its new design language as previewed by concepts such as the XC Coupe at this year's Geneva motor show.

The vehicle is expected to arrive in Australian showrooms in the second quarter of next year, becoming the first in a wave of re-styled models across the Volvo range over the next few years.

Volvo Car Group president and CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the launch of the new XC90 is a significant day in the Swedish car-maker's 87-year history, marking a turning point for the brand.

“This is one of the most important days in our history,” he said. “We are not just launching a car, but re-launching our brand.

“This day marks a new era for our company. The XC90 paves the way for a portfolio of exciting new cars to come in the following years.”

Volvo's official images reveal a gaping, slatted grille that dominates the front end. It features a larger ‘iron mark’ badge and is flanked by new headlights with the T-shaped “Thor's Hammer” daytime running lights previewed by the concepts.

Split air intakes sit below the grille in the integrated front bumper, next to the flared wheel guards.

A larger bonnet, a character line running just below the beltline and new bull-horn-shaped tail-lights are elements that Volvo says will be mirrored across the range.

The second-generation XC90 will mark the first use of Volvo's flexible Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that will underpin a number of its future models, including next-gen versions of the S60/V60 mid-sizer and the XC60 compact SUV.

Volvo Car Group senior vice president of research and development Peter Mertens said SPA had allowed the company to produce an SUV that combined space, versatility and efficiency.

“SPA has enabled us to create the world’s first SUV without compromises,” he said. “You get the in-command feel, generous interior space and flexible capability combined with the agility and smooth comfort of a much smaller and lower car.

“The adrenaline rush that is key to true driving pleasure is delivered by powertrains that offer an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation.

And since the XC90 carries the Volvo badge, world-class safety is standard.”

As previously reported, Volvo will offer a range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains, including a range-topping plug-in hybrid, dubbed the Twin Engine.

The hybrid powertrain uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine matched with an electric motor, offering a combined output of about 300kW and expected carbon dioxide emissions of 60g/km.

Volvo's plug-in will join a growing number of hybrid-powered large premium SUVs, including the Lexus RX450h, BMW's mooted X5 eDrive, and the Range Rover diesel-electric hybrid that is set for local launch this year.

Well known for its advances in safety technology, Volvo said in a statement that the XC90 ushered in two world firsts – a run-off road protection package and an “autobrake at intersection” functionality.

The run-off safety package detects the vehicle running off the road and tightens the seatbelts to keep occupants in the safest position, while energy-absorbing functionality between the seats and seat frames softens the forces when the vehicle has a hard landing.

The automatic braking system activates if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. This system will fall under Volvo's City Safety banner that has all automatic braking functions, such as pedestrian and cyclist detection in day and night time, that will be standard across the XC90 range.

Revealed in May, the XC90's interior features a massive tablet-like touch-screen at the top of the centre stack that houses controls for most in-car systems. The almost button-free system allows access to internet-based services, including applications.

The seven-seat cabin features newly designed seats for more interior space in the second and third rows, with Volvo claiming back-row occupants will enjoy “class-leading” comfort for a pair of passengers up to 170cm tall.

High-end materials have been used throughout the cabin, including a crystal glass gear-shift lever, diamond-cut controls for the audio controls and stop-start button as well as soft leather and hand-crafted wood detailing.

Two audio systems made by British company Bowers and Wilkins will be available, depending on specification, with a range-topping system featuring 1400-Watt Class D amplifier, 19 speakers and air-ventilated sub-woofers that turn the interior “into a giant subwoofer”.

A pair of exterior trims will also be available, including the Urban Luxury package with a colour co-ordinated bodykit with polished stainless steel detail such as front and rear skid plates and side scuff plates as well as 21-inch polished wheels.

The Rugged Luxury package adds matte black exterior trim, illuminated running boards, integrated exhaust pipes and 22-inch wheels.

Volvo has announced a special launch version, dubbed First Edition, with 1927 examples built that will be available for sale in Europe online, celebrating the year Volvo started building cars.

Australian specification and powertrain details are still under wraps, but expect more to be announced as the local launch date draws closer.

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