Volvo has released the latest in a string of drip-fed press briefings, revealing the technical details of its most important new car in decades – the new Volvo XC90. The latest information concerns the new Scalable Product Architecture, or SPA platform, that will underpin not only the XC90, but every future Volvo from the S60 upwards.
Forming the backbone of Volvo’s £6.5billion transformation plan, the modular architecture brings with it a huge number of benefits. For starters, thanks to a large percentage of high-strength boron steel, the XC90 will be lighter than its predecessor, but stronger and therefore safer. A more compact chassis frees up extra space inside, and Volvo will capitalise with a sliding function on all second-row seats, allowing passengers up to 170cm tall to use the third row of seats.
Because SPA is modular, it also removes design constraints in terms of the wheelbase, overhangs and height, allowing a wider number of SUVs, estates, saloons and coupes to be spun off the platform and, eventually, built on the same production line.
As with VW’s MQB architecture, the family of engines is interchangeable, too, and Volvo claims it can add electric propulsion to any engine in the range, not just the range-topping turbocharged and supercharged 394bhp ‘Twin Engine’ version that’s already been announced.
We’ll bring you the full story on the XC90 when Volvo reveals it in full in two weeks, ahead of its global debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.