Volvo Concept Coupé: The Reincarnation of the P1800?
Calling something the “next generation P1800” is no small boast. The original Volvo P1800 that ran for twelve years from 1961 to 1973 is easily the most iconic (and beautiful) Volvo ever produced. The spy car of choice for Roger Moore’s character Simon Templar in The Saint, the P1800 combined power, looks and a grace never before seen from the Swedish carmaker.
Volvo is looking to rekindle some of those same feelings with the new Volvo Concept Coupé. At first blush, it certainly has the same proportions as the P1800 and the same general feel. But, is it good enough to be a P1800 for the next generation?
From the early 2000s on, there was a trend among concept cars to bring back old models in the name of being “retro”. Thankfully, Volvo didn’t go that route for the Concept Coupé. While it is inspired by the P1800, the Concept Coupé is well and truly a modern car with a design that hints toward future Volvo models.
Volvo Senior Vice President of Design Thomas Ingenlath described the Concept Coupé has having a “calm, confident beauty that is the hallmark of Scandinavian design.” He’s not wrong. The most striking feature of the Volvo Concept Coupé has to be the lights, front and rear.
The sideways T-shaped headlights are stunning. Pointing to the center of the grille, they draw your eye quite successfully to the Volvo badge. A similar effect is achieved on the car’s rear with the C-shaped taillights nicely framing the trunk lid and the word “Volvo” emblazoned on it. It’s like Sesame Street. “Volvo Concept Coupé: Brought to you by the letters C and T.”
Anyway… Everything on the Volvo Concept Coupé is so well thought out that its seems almost possible that this car could very well be produced. Like with all of the best concepts, there is an air of plausibility with the Concept Coupé… even down to the interior (apart from one very sparkly feature).
Inside, the car is awash with leather, aged wood and thick, rich carpets. But, it has to be the cut crystal gearshift lever that is the focus. (Yep, that’s the sparkly feature I was referring to.) Aston Martin’s crystal ECU key has nothing on the Concept Coupé’s handmade shift knob.
When you mention that a car has a crystal gearshift smack dab in the middle of the cabin, you would expect the rest to be gaudy and gauche. Not the case here. Volvo has used their typical Scandinavian design restraint to create what can only be described as a nearly perfect interior. Thanks to a huge portrait layout touch screen interface to handle the lion’s share of functions, Volvo has nixed most of the physical buttons, creating a smooth, clean and ergonomically-pleasing design inside. Not a bad place to be really.
With hybrid being the current byword in automotive development, Volvo powered the Concept Coupé with a 2.0 liter four-cylinder gas Drive-E engine (which boasts both a turbo and a supercharger) sharing drive duties with an electric motor. With the Drive-E gas burner driving the front wheels and the electric motor driving the rear wheels, the Volvo Concept Coupé generates an impressive 400 horse and 443 pound-feet of torque. Not bad. Not bad at all.
While the Volvo Concept Coupé is, just that, a concept, some of its styling cues will make it onto the next-gen XC90 crossover due out in 2014. For the rest of the info on the Volvo Concept Coupé, check out the press release below. And, there are 40 photos in the gallery, so you’re welcome.
Volvo Concept Coupe Press Release
The Volvo Concept Coupé – The Next Generation P1800