Volvo has revealed its secret ‘Costello’ prototype which was used to convince the company board to invest in the new SPA architecture. Volvo also says ‘Costello’ gives big clues as to how the new S90 will drive, as the Swedish company prepares to break into the global market for premium saloons.
The new S90, which is currently in the final stages of testing and validation and is expected to be unveiled in the next few months, is a much bigger challenge for Volvo than the reinvention of the XC90. It has to break into a global market that is dominated by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.
Autocar can also reveal that the design of the new S90 is stand-out striking, effectively using the front and rear-end treatment previewed on Volvo’s 2013 Coupe Concept. Indeed the rear light treatment - using a thin light cluster that runs around the car’s tail - is probably even more striking in the production version.
Volvo says that the Costello shows the potential for future road cars based on the SPA platform, promising a much higher level of performance than previous models, which were either based on the company’s own P2 architecture or Ford’s EUCD platform.
This engineering prototype - which was originally built in 2008 - is based around the Ford-derived structure of the current S80. However, it was fitted with a new design of ‘integral link’ independent rear suspension and Volvo’s own double wishbone front suspension. Power came from a tuned version of the company’s iconic turbocharged five-cylinder engine.
Roger Wallgren, a principle engineer in Volvo’s Vehicle Dynamics team, told Autocar that the performance of Costello at the company’s Hällered Proving Grounds was impressive enough to convince company bosses that investing in an all-new architecture for the car maker’s post-Ford future was essential.