Volvo considers road-legal V8 Supercar

words - Feann Torr
New vehicle architecture and promising race results could lead to mega performance car
Volvo's senior executives are keenly aware of the company's foray into Australian touring car racing, the Volvo S60's podium finish at its first ever V8 Supercars race a cause for celebration.

Peter Mertens, Volvo's head of research and development, who was presiding over the launch of the Concept Estate car at the Geneva motor show, revealed that he watched the first V8 Supercars race.

"Yes, we were second place, I'm very proud of that," beamed Mertens.

Having scored a podium finish, the pressure is on Volvo to maintain strong results, but the implications of its V8 Supercars foray will be wider reaching. 

When asked if more race track success could lead to the development of a V8 Supercars-inspired road car to rival the likes of the BMW M5 and Infiniti's upcoming GT-R-powered Q50 Eau Rouge, Mertens didn't mince his words.

"Yes. Wait and see," he stated.

Volvo already sells the S60 Polestar exclusively in Australia (international markets will get it in 2015), its most potent road-going car at 257kW/500Nm. Polestar, Volvo's performance arm, is also considering hot versions of smaller models like the V40, but Mertens says there's plenty of scope for a bahn-storming next-gen S60. 

"There's a lot of ideas," he said, but hinted that a V8 Supercars-inspired road-going S60 would be unlikely on the current platform, with the S60 Polestar's turbo-petrol 3.0-litre engine to carry the crown the next few years.

"Right now the focus is a bit more on the renewal of our current line-up and the focus is on the new architecture, the new vehicle on it," he said, referring to the XC90.

The new XC90 will be the first vehicle based on the company's all-new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), and the next-gen S60 will also be based on the new underpinnings.

The XC90 will make its debut before the end of the year said Mertens, its new touch-screen infotainment system and interior design previewed at the Geneva motor show launch of its latest concept car, the Concept Estate.

The metallic brown three-door Concept Estate wagon looks like a modern-day take on the classic P1800 ES wagon-coupe from the 1970s, and is another potential next-generation performance vehicle says Mertens.

"It's got the heritage of the P1800, but the concept shows the future direction of our interior and HMI [human machine interface] for the new XC90," he said.

Although Mertens was coy about the striking Volvo concept's likelihood of being built for mass consumption, he wouldn't rule out the unique wagon's production future. 

"Never say never!"

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Published : Tuesday, 11 March 2014
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