Small crossover concept unveiled in Gothenburg; uses hybrid powertrain and Volvo's new Compact Modular Architecture
18 May 2016

The Volvo XC40 crossover concept has been unveiled at a special event in Gothenburg. The production version, due next year, will be the first car to use the brand’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA).

The concept, which is called 40.1, is a thinly disguised look at what the XC40 will look like when it goes into production. It was revealed alongside the brand’s V40 electric concept, called 40.2.

Both the XC40 and V40 will be built from Volvo’s new CMA, which underpins both the company’s smaller products and those of its Chinese parent company, Geely.

The 40.1 features a hybrid powertrain with a three-cylinder petrol turbo engine working with an electric motor. 

Click here for the latest Volvo XC40 spy pictures

The 40.1 reveals that – despite carrying the same engine branding as the XC90 T8 – the XC40 will be front-wheel drive. The concept’s powertrain is described as T5 Twin Engine and uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, closely related to the existing 2.0-litre four, and drives the front wheels in conjunction with an electric motor and through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The petrol engine produces 180bhp and the electric motor adds 74bhp, with power coming from a compact 9.7kWh battery pack mounted in the centre of the car. That’s a total combined output of 250bhp for the petrol-electric powertrain and we’re told that it will have 30 miles of pure electric range. Fuel economy and CO2 numbers haven’t been released yet, but powertrain boss Michael Fleiss promises that it will be class-leading. “If it’s not then we’ve done something wrong,” he said.

The gearbox is particularly clever, with the electric motor acting on one of the dual-clutch shafts (the one that handles second, fourth, sixth and reverse). This gives it the potential to add boost through one of the shafts while the internal combustion engine drives the other.

Styling carries through much of the form language of Volvo’s larger products, with front-end design similar to the XC90 and an angular athleticism to the 40.1’s side-on profile. There’s also a passing resemblance to a Citroën C4 Cactus with its cladding removed.

R&D boss Peter Mertens said the hybrid powertrain is designed to improve environmental numbers and that the T5 will have class-leading CO2 figures. The electric motor is able to engage and disengage through a separate clutch that connects it to the transmission’s input shaft, boosting efficiency further.

“It’s a very innovative and efficient package, a very cost-efficient solution towards high performance and extremely low CO2 figures,” he said. “The layout is the most efficient way when it comes to frictional losses; it’s an intelligent packaging solution. Others have put the motor between the transmission and the engine, which is not as cost efficient, and not as efficient when it comes to frictional losses.”

Talking about CMA, Mertens said it should be viewed as the smaller brother to the larger SPA platform that underpins Volvo’s 90-series family, and that it will offer a similar degree of what he calls “plug and play” flexibility.

“The architecture is as modular as SPA,” he said. ”We have a very successful blueprint for how to do it and that has been flowed into CMA. You could almost say it’s the little brother of SPA when it comes to flexibility and modularity.”

That means that CMA will allow for both front and all-wheel-drive variants, with Mertens admitting that it will allow Geely to use cheaper components while still allowing Volvo to make versions that will be able to compete in the premium segment. He said it could even offer a version with an electrically powered rear axle, similar to that of the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, although that would come later.

Volvo V40 electric concept revealed

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Volvo XC60

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Comments
14

18 May 2016
I've just brought my lunch up. When you say concept revealed don't you mean a sketch of how it might look in 2 years time, in the meantime Autocar will be leaking XC40 pre-production stories for the next 2 years like they did with the XC90.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 May 2016
Overall I like but don't love. They are physically a little sharper styled than the softer edged 90 range, and maybe that is why

18 May 2016
Actually, the advert on Autocar has just reminded me of what the first car looks like. It has a whiff of the Ssangyong Tivoli about it.

18 May 2016
But ALAS... hideous. Makes a Juke look pretty.

18 May 2016
NeufNeuf wrote:

But ALAS... hideous. Makes a Juke look pretty.

It's better than the Q2, or the X1

db

18 May 2016
lets hope this is the ugly duckling stage and it will turn into a swan ! I fear not. These jacked up cars are just not easy for designers to proportion and to my mind there are none that would make me look twice. My last car was a V40 which I think still looks great though those looks came at the cost of practicality. I suppose that's why there are so many of these sheds on the road though an estate which I have now serves the same purpose I can even wash the roof with out step ladders and still enjoy tight handling,better economy and looks.

18 May 2016
Umpteenth example of design prevailing over practicability. The three quarters back visibility is sacrificed to a quirk in styling.
Paradoxically, modern cars are offering an abundance of driving aids to help safety. The cost of these both in economic and complexity terms is unecessarily high, when a well thought design would give better and cheaper results.

18 May 2016
I like it. It's bold, modern, and striking. Makes many other faux 4x4's look dated.

18 May 2016
I dislike the compact crossover sector immensely... Pointless cars that serve no purpose. This XC40 concept in particular looks no more appealing than anything presently on offer. There is little recognisably Volvo about it and this is worrying for future styling down the line from the brand.

18 May 2016
Volvophile wrote:

There is little recognisably Volvo about it and this is worrying for future styling down the line from the brand.

The final product will not look like this, however if you look at recent Volvo designs, there are certain elements that scream modern Volvo, the front and rear lamps being prime examples. I like the way they are going, and its certainly better than the Russian doll approach that appears to be the current vogue.

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