Volvo has released more technical details about its all-new XC90 SUV, which will be publicly unveiled later this month. It will be the first Volvo to be based on the brand new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which Volvo says has been under development by company engineers for four years.
The SPA is the mainstay of a massive £6.5bn (Rs. 66.654 crore) investment in completely replacing Volvo’s model line up and introducing the new Drive-E four-cylinder range of petrol and diesel engines. SPA will underpin all future Volvos from the 60-series family upwards.
Although Volvo has not gone into detail about the technical make-up of the SPA running gear, examination of the new images reveals some interesting technology.
Drivers hoping for the most dynamic Volvo yet will welcome the XC90’s aluminium double wishbone front suspension. At the rear, Volvo seems to have employed a composite leaf spring for the entry-level version of the multi-link rear axle, instead of conventional steel coil springs.
It’s an unusual move but one that could pay dividends in weight saving and freeing-up space in the rear of the car. It also seems that higher specification versions of the XC90 will get air suspension front and rear, which will be interconnected for an improved ride.
Volvo also revealed that the range-topping T8-badged XC90 will combine a supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor. The sequentially charged engine - where the supercharger acts low-down in the rev range and the turbocharger boosts top-end output - has a combined output of 395bhp and 65.25kgm of torque.
According to Dr Peter Mertens, the head of Research and Development at Volvo Cars, "SPA gives us a fresh technological start. Around 90 percent of the components in the all-new XC90 and upcoming models are new and unique. We are raising the bar to the very top of the premium league when it comes to quality and technology level in every vital area".
Mertens also says that SPA has been designed to accommodate not only a wide range of body styles but also a wider range of "powertrains, electrical systems and technologies" than is typical for an automotive platform. The SPA is also claimed to be the most dimensional flexible architecture yet seen.
The only fixed dimension is the distance between the centre of the front wheel and the position of the accelerator. Otherwise, the length of the front and rear overhangs are flexible as is the wheelbase, which comes in two sections. The front section runs from the accelerator to a mid-point under the rear seat and from there to the middle of the rear wheel.
The SPA also has four flexible vertical dimensions. These are the ride height, the height of the front chassis rails, the height of the windscreen base and the overall height of the vehicle.
Volvo says the clean-sheet SPA also means that various sizes of battery pack can be accommodated without intruding on the car’s interior. In the new XC90, the second row of seats will slide and the third row will accommodate passengers up to 170cm tall.
First Published: Aug 14, 2014 18:43 IST