Volvo's aim to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are now coming into focus, and, surprisingly, doesn't completely revolve around its new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA). There is another key piece to the puzzle besides SPA: a Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback and sedan.
Together with Geely, Volvo has started working on a modular Golf-sized vehicle architecture. Despite its flexibility, the new SPA can't stretch down one more notch -- apparently there are cost and weight restrictions that prevent it from doing so. Instead, SPA will remain for vehicles from V40 and up.
The first model Volvo wants to establish in the C-segment is the XC40, an attractively priced and sufficiently roomy crossover that incorporates all key brand values. It's expected that the XC40 will plug the gap between the jacked-up-wagon V40 Cross Country (pcitured) and the XC60 crossover and make for a good competitor to the Mercedes GLA, BMW X1, and Audi Q3. After that, we should see the Golf-style five-door hatch and a more spacious replacement for the compact S40 sedan, which will aim at the rumored 1 Series sedan and upcoming A3 sedan.
One rung up, Volvo is going to introduce a new S60 in 2017 and a follow up to the XC60 in 2018. Both SPA spin-offs won't change much in character and positioning, sources say.
The first SPA-derived Volvo is the new XC90 due next year. It will be followed by the significantly larger S90 three-box sedan (replacing the S80) and the corresponding full-size V90 wagon (replacing the V70) in 2016. The new 90-series models are expected to be better suited to take on the likes of the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.
Since the Swedes intend to phase out all five- and six-cylinder engines by 2016, the new models will be fitted exclusively with four-cylinder units good for up to 306 hp and with three-cylinder units rated at up to 204 hp. Those who crave more power and torque can get it – but only in the shape of plug-in hybrids that add on an extra 100 hp. Volvo management does not expect future milestones like fuel cells and total accident avoidance to become available before 2020.
Most interestingly, is the management's hope for a breathtaking C60 coupe by 2016. According to a set of pictures taken of an early clay model, the modern SPA-based two-plus-two-seater is flavored by a set of cleverly composed P1800 (not ES!) genes. The C60 is definitely a new Volvo worth waiting for.