By Colin Bird on September 15, 2011
The handcrafted walnut wood, real aluminum details, Bridge of Weir leathers and fabrics designed by Oscar Jacobson in the Volvo Concept You are a clear indication that the Swedish automaker has its eyes set on the upper-level luxury category for its next-generation full-size sedan. There are also some Swedish eccentricities here that’ll be welcome to anyone accustomed to Scandinavian products.
The front face is where Volvo has gotten truly creative. While the classic Volvo grille remains with its diagonal bright bar over egg-crate look, it has been stretched and narrowed. The large almond-shaped quad-beamed headlights have been replaced with thin kidney-shaped LEDs. Overall, the face has been diminished to put greater emphasis on the front end’s wide clamshell hood, which is raised above the front fenders and grille. This is the second concept showing these attributes, so we might see a few elements soon on a production car. However, it's a departure from the current styling that has been so successful for the brand on the XC60 and others.The large luxury sedan concept is similar to the Volkswagen CC and particularly, the Audi A7 , with a sweeping roofline that integrates seamlessly into the rear deck lid. The rear will look familiar. It’s similar to the redesigned Volvo S60. The side profile features rear-hinged doors.
Volvo waxes on in its press release about the interior, which features four main control areas: a head-up display, a touch-screen center console, a touch-screen between the rear seats and a driver information monitor.
Volvo tries to limit distractions to the driver by only lighting the front console screen when the driver’s head turns to meet the display – they do this with an infrared camera. Other sensors register hand movements and center console functions like web surfing can only be accessed from the passenger side while the car is in motion. Data can be exchanged via all four display areas by hand gestures to the center console, which will indicate file transfer (this kind of reminds us of the computer system in the film "Minority Report").
Volvo seems to be making a concerted effort to, again, try and move up-market from its current premium status — akin to Acura and Lincoln versus German luxury makes like BMW and Audi. If something like the Concept You makes it to production, this Swedish carmaker could either have a luxury hit or a white elephant — nay VW Phaeton — that no one will want to buy at any price.