Volvo combines lightweight aluminum, Formula One technology in next-gen XC90

Volvo XC90 teaser

The Volvo XC90’s design was actually completed in the late 1990s even though it didn’t go on sale until the early 2000s. Its timeless design and hard-to-beat versatility has made it Volvo’s Number 1 selling model for many years.

Volvo realizes it can’t continue on the same path forever. Now 11 years old, the XC90 is one of the oldest production cars on sale today, according to an Autocar report. Accordingly, Volvo engineers are hard at work on a new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, which it claims is “flexible and scalable,” allowing for multiple derivations.

The new platform, which will be 90-percent new, incorporates an aluminum front structure, including doors and drivetrain components. The use of lightweight aluminum should shave around 200-350 pounds off the present vehicle.

From there, Volvo will do away with its five, six, and eight-cylinder variants and sell only its new four-cylinder engines based upon its Volvo Engine Architecture or “VEA.”

These frugal fours will be mated with hybrid technology including kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), similar to those found in Formula One race cars. Implementing KERS into production vehicles could decrease fuel consumption by 20 percent and also improve acceleration as well.

The latest XC90 is expected in late 2014 for the 2015 model year. Check back for more information on the latest full-size Volvo CUV as it gets closer to production.