Volvo downsizes its winning formula with 40 Series concepts

Volvo is reinventing itself from the top down. The Swedish carmaker recently introduced the redesigned XC90 crossover and the new S90 sedan and V90 wagon, all based on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform for large and midsize vehicles. Now Volvo is focusing on the other end of its lineup.

The company previously discussed a Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform for smaller cars, but it’s just now providing a hint at what vehicles based on that platform might look like. Say hello to the Concept 40.1 and Concept 40.2, harbingers of Volvo’s small-car future.

Collectively referred to as the “40 Series,” both concepts incorporate the handsome styling of Volvo’s larger, SPA-based cars. Both feature concave grilles and an interpretation of the “Thor’s hammer” headlights from the XC90, S90, and V90. The Concept 40.2 sedan has a more extreme version of the S90’s horizontal taillights, while the Concept 40.1 crossover boasts a nicely raked rear hatch.

Powertrains for the production 40 series cars will include at least one four-cylinder engine, and a T5 “Twin Engine” all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid setup. This includes a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, along with an electric motor. CMA will also form the basis for Volvo’s first production all-electric car, due in 2019.

Other cars based on the CMA platform will go into production in 2017, although it’s unclear if they will be sold in the U.S. Volvo has always had trouble selling compact models here; the last S40 sedan was a dud, and the company didn’t even bother importing the V40 hatchback that replaced it in other markets.

Read more: Volvo’s self-driving cars will make ethical decisions

With the large and small vehicles taken care of, expect Volvo to focus on the middle of its lineup next. Replacements for the current S60, V60, and XC60 will likely use the SPA platform when they arrive over the next few years. Virtually every Volvo model will eventually be based on either SPA or CMA.

Cars

Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.
Cars

Hold on to your butts: These are the fastest cars in the world

Think your car is unbelievably fast? Think again. From wind-cheating bodywork to powerful engines, these cars were designed for the singular pursuit of speed (and it shows).
Cars

At 503 mph, Turbinator II is the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle

The Turbinator II is a four-wheel drive streamliner powered by a 5,000-horsepower helicopter engine, and it just achieved 503.332 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. That's an unofficial record for a wheel-driven car.
Cars

Lyft has a new fixed-price subscription plan for frequent passengers

Lyft wants you to save money by using rideshare services instead of owning a car. The new Lyft All-Access Plan monthly rideshare trip subscription includes 30 rides a month with a small discount for additional trips.
Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.
Cars

Could the next Mazda3 boast a fuel-saving breakthrough in engine tech?

Mazda released a teaser video that likely previews the next Mazda3. Expected to make its global debut at the L.A. auto show, the next 3 will wear a more curvaceous design and offer one of the most advanced engines in the automotive…
Cars

Workhorse takes on diesel with lighter, cheaper NGEN-1000 electric delivery van

Ohio-based Workhorse Group claims its new NGEN-1000 electric delivery van costs the same as a conventional diesel van and can haul a similar amount of cargo. A lower curb weight makes this possible.
Cars

Forget transponders with Peasy’s nationwide pay-as-you-go toll service

Verra Mobility launched Peasy, a consumer highway and bridge toll payment service. Designed to be less hassle than managing traditional transponder or toll tag accounts, Peasy pays tolls as they are levied across most of the U.S.
Cars

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.
Cars

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Cars

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.
Cars

The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 with over 700 horsepower, Ford confirmed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The GT500 will be the most powerful Ford production car ever.