Frankfurt 2011: Volvo Concept You

volvo-concept-you-uncovered

Volvo's Frankfurt concept is called the You because the Swedish company says it's taking a human-centric approach: it's "heart is in Sweden but [its] eyes and ears are all over the world," said German-born Volvo boss Stefan Jacoby. Right after he praised the company's Chinese owners. And after he took the microphone back from British design boss Peter Horbury.

Well, the company is definitely international.

Horbury stated that Volvo had been listening to the public, and they definitely favor a coupe-like roofline. The You is, according to Horbury, an experiment to gauge just how daring Volvo's next sedan can be.

We say "very" when looking at the Concept You's gorgeous, tapered roofline. We say "pull back on the reins a LOT" when looking at the front end. Vaguely reminiscent of, but not nearly as elegant as the 1950s Volvo Amazon (or 122S in America), the front end is just plain awkward to our jet-lagged eyes.

More importantly, the You debuts an all-new vehicle architecture that is scalable. It boasts up to forty percent parts commonality with smaller models, meaning this full size car can share many parts with smaller cars. And Volvo desperately needs both.

Of particular note is that the new architecture has been designed to work solely with four-cylinder engines. "It is finally time for the automotive industry to stop counting cylinders," said Peter Mertens, senior vice president of research and development. According to Mertens, tomorrow's four cylinder will offer more performance and more efficiency than today's Volvo straight-sixes.

The new platform also improves weight distribution and reduces overall mass by 100 to 150 kg (220 to 330 lb) compared to the current large Volvos.

The You's coolest feature? An iPad-inspired center control stack that uses an infrared camera to engage sleep mode when the driver isn't looking at it. The pad also allows the driver to flip different information onto the head-up display or to a similar display in the rear seat.

For full, live coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, please click here. We’re bringing the latest news, photos, and quotes straight to our twitter feed, @automobilemag.

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