The prototype of the Volvo C30 anticipates the production model of the same name that will make its public debut at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris this autumn. The head of external design Fedde Talsma has explained the brief for this Volvo compact: “It was supposed to have been a three box, five door, a utility or a sports car, but the keyword was: excitement. It was not to be different only in length”.
Sportiness and dynamism were the essential prerequisites, but how were we to give them concrete form? Above all the proportions were a problem because the wheelbase of 255 cm of the S40 and the V50 had to be maintained. Simon Lamarre, responsible for the external design of the new car, explains: “The wheels are at the corners of the car behind shorter front and rear overhangs. With the lighting clusters more vertical and the grille bigger, the short front overhang looks more pronounced. Overall the C30 is 23 cm shorter than the S40 and the V50”.
The marked wedge-shaped form highlights the impression of a lower, more sloping roof line without compromising the rear height. Talsma continues: “In effect, the occupants have more room for their heads thanks to the rear seats that have been repositioned towards the centre of the vehicle and slightly lowered”. This solution and the great glass tailgate give a lot of transparency to the C30: “The rear seat passengers also have a better view of what is happening in front of them”. The glazed tailgate calls to mind the classic Volvo 1800 ES sporty station wagons of the Seventies and Eighties, but they certainly can’t be called retro. “No, the C30 is not sentimental, but emotive. To learn from the past and exploit its good ideas is absolutely not a retrograde attitude”, says Lamarre.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 157