Volvo wins top car design honour

New Polestar performance optimisation packages for the Volvo S90 and Volvo V90. — Handout via AFP
New Polestar performance optimisation packages for the Volvo S90 and Volvo V90. — Handout via AFP

STOCKHOLM, June 10 — Even five years ago, the idea that Volvo, a brand synonymous with boxy tank-like cars and an absolute obsession with driver and passenger safety, could make the shortlist for a design award seemed optimistic. But this week the Swedish marque backed by Chinese investment drove away from the International Car Design Awards with the coveted Brand Design Language Award.

“We are proud to receive this recognition for the design work we have done in the last years,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design, Volvo Car Group upon receiving the award at the ceremony in Turin, Italy. “When we started work on the XC90 we knew that we had an opportunity to take the Volvo Cars brand in a new direction.”

When the XC90 debuted it made headlines. An SUV that offered Range Rover levels of luxury, the same attention to aesthetics that makes Alfa Romeo owners forgive their cars’ reliability shortcomings, plus a raft of semi-autonomous driving technology and active driver safety systems that Mercedes would struggle to rival.

Volvo has maintained this approach with the new S90 sedan and V90 station wagon and it’s this consistency that meant that the company beat Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Renault and Kia to this year’s honour.

“The Volvo family contains many different characters — the strong and refined types, the elegant and sophisticated, the dynamic and the youthful. What we have done with the brand design at Volvo is to provide room for each of these characters, these expressions, to shine through,” said Ingenlath.

And it is in showing it’s ‘in tune’ with different tastes that the company is now launching Polestar Optimisation packages for the S90 and V90.

Polestar is Volvo’s performance arm, an organisation that builds cars for competition and filters findings and innovations down to production models.

“The S90 and V90 already offer excellent driving dynamics and we are delighted to raise the performance level even further with Polestar Performance Optimisation,” said Niels Möller, Polestar COO.

Rather than simply tweak the horsepower, the optimisation packages address everything from throttle response time and gear ratios to overall engine performance from idle to red line.

“It is exciting to take the technology we use in our race cars and apply that to Volvo’s road cars. We have created a balanced package that provides performance in all conditions, whether you are winning a race or driving actively on your favourite roads,” said Thed Björk, Polestar test driver and current FIA World Touring Car Championship competitor. — AFP-Relaxnews