Volvo 40.2 Concept: A Taste of Volvo’s Next Small Car
This is the next S40/V40, and it will offer gas, electric, and plug-in power.
MAY 2016 BY STEVE SILER
Volvo is on a total tear right now. Enthusiasm for the Swedish brand is high after the successful introduction of the XC90, and the market launch of the S90 sedan and V90 wagon is just around the corner. All three of those vehicles ride on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. Volvo won’t be letting up on the throttle any time soon, either, as it has revealed two concepts that offer a glimpse of its future 40-series compact-vehicle line to be built on its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform. One is the crossover-style 40.1, which we’ve covered separately, while the other is this rather more carlike 40.2.
Indeed, the 40.2 concept takes the form of a body style that Volvo currently does not offer in small-print form: a high-riding sedan in the mold of the S60 Cross Country. Even more interesting, Volvo refers to it as a notchback, but it actually has a liftgate instead of a trunk, making it a hatchback. Volvo reportedly still is mulling whether to offer this car as a hatchback or a three-box sedan—meaning the company has yet to decide on S40 or V40 nomenclature—but we’re told that the hatchback has support all the way up the Volvo executive chain. The concept’s tall stance also is likely to appear in production, to be different, says Volvo, with added benefits including more rear headroom, easy ingress/egress, better cargo-area access, and compatibility with electric powertrains.
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With chamfered corners, beveled grille details, blacked-out A-pillars, and deep geometric scallops in the lower doors, both of the new concepts are a bit edgier—literally and figuratively—than any current Volvo, including the voluptuous new 90-series models. According to Volvo, the design emphasis for both CMA concepts was on “wheel size to body proportion,” not dash to axle as with the larger SPA-based cars. Like the S90, the 40.2 concept features C-shaped taillamps and, of course, the now signature Thor’s Hammer running lamps. The sedan brandishes a new interpretation of the detail, however, that brings the hammer “handle” into the bodywork.
Volvo says that the global 40-series engine lineup will include a new direct-injected 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, as well as four-cylinder gasoline and diesel offerings (the latter not for U.S. consumption). A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is a sure bet, while Volvo’s six-speed automatic also is on the table, because, says Volvo, it fits; the XC90’s eight-speed isn’t being adapted for CMA duty. A manual transmission also will be available on certain models, but Volvo did not provide any specifics.
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At this point, the 1.5-liter engine has only been discussed as the gas-burning portion of CMA’s planned T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, although we would be shocked if it didn’t power some CMA models on its own. The plug-in likely will be front-wheel drive, unlike the all-wheel-drive plug-in versions of the larger SPA-based models, with total system output for the Twin Engine expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 horsepower. Volvo further states that the PHEV will feature a 9.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 55-kW/74-hp electric motor. A pure electric model also is planned; Volvo offers no details other than a 220-mile range target. Both models will go some way toward helping Volvo meet its lofty goal of putting a million electrified vehicles on global roads by 2025. The first of the new 40-series cars will go into production in 2017