Volvo is in the midst of a comprehensive overhaul of its lineup, and right now the focus is on renewing the three core vehicle lines—from the range-topping 90-series cars (XC90, V90, and S90), to the mid-level 60-series, to the entry-level 40-series compacts. But what happens when that task is done? At the reveal event for two concept cars previewing the XC40 compact crossover and one other 40-series car/crossover mix, a video animation depicted the brand’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) with a variety of different body styles, including a convertible. The point was to highlight CMA’s flexibility—after all, this platform will underpin at least two 40-series Volvos, as well as an unknown number of cars for Volvo’s parent company, Geely—but it turns out the video might not have been pure hyperbole.
In a sit-down with Volvo’s head of research and development, Peter Mertens, we asked whether the CMA platform could support variants beyond the crossover, wagon, and stilted-up sedan Volvo has proposed so far. His response? Of course CMA could sit beneath a convertible or perhaps even a coupe, but for now, Volvo’s focus for that platform—and its larger sibling, Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which sits beneath the full-size 90-series cars and will underpin a new generation of mid-size 60-series Volvos—is on the core models. Over the next few years, Volvo hopes to bring out V (wagon), S (sedan), Cross Country (lifted V or S), and XC (crossover) versions of the 60- and 90-series cars; the 40-series, per Volvo, is only confirmed to have V, Cross Country, and XC variants.
The timeline for that core-model rollout stretches for another four years, at which point Mertens intends for the new-for-2016 XC90 to be “the oldest Volvo” on sale. After that, Volvo’s R&D chief left open the possibility of adding “emotional products” such as a convertible, a coupe, or even a coupe/SUV modeled after the BMW X6.
As attractive as Volvo’s recent products are, none compare to the Concept Coupe and the Concept Estate two-door shooting brake displayed at auto shows in the past few years. Sure, the shooting brake ultimately previewed the production V90 wagon, but a true two-door shooting brake like Volvo’s classic P1800ES would be a hell of a thing. So far, the 2013 Concept Coupe hasn’t directly foreshadowed any production Volvo, but we think it would make quite the competitor for the next-generation Audi A5, as well as for BMW’s 4-series and the upcoming Infiniti Q60. Whatever Volvo has hidden up its sleeve, however, we’ll need to wait awhile. We don’t expect further hints of non-core Volvo models to surface until closer to 2020, when the automaker’s fully revitalized lineup will be in showrooms.