It seems that true, decedent, stretch-out automotive luxury, according to those zany Swedes at Volvo, is not having a front passenger seat.
At this week’s Beijing auto show, Volvo – which, in case you hadn’t heard is Chinese-owned these days – unveiled a concept showing how an ultra-luxury interior of its upcoming S90 flagship sedan might look.
Interestingly, the S90 Excellence Lounge Console Concept on show wasn’t a car, but a cool piece of automotive sculpture featuring just an interior with three seats, a floor and a dashboard.
But what an interior. The armchair-like rear seats recline, cool and heat you, and give you a deep-tissue massage worthy of any Helga Swedish masseuse. Pop open the center armrest and the refrigeration unit is home to a bottle of bubbly and couple of hand-cut crystal glasses from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors.
“One of the key elements is the removal of the front passenger seat,” says Robin Page, VP of Interior Design at Volvo. “We removed this to provide unrestricted forward visibility and the sense of space and light this brings. It has an immediate and extremely calming effect.”
And ejecting that front passenger seat leaves space for a clever console that can become a mobile work station. It features a fold-out table and large screen so you can check email or video conference the schlubs back in the office.
Or leave the table stowed and use the screen to catch-up with the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Or keep everything stowed and stretch out for a few well-earned Zzzzzzs using the built-in foot warmer.
This isn’t the first time Volvo has showed a Lounge Console Concept. Last year is debuted a version for its new XC90 SUV. Which means the Swedes must be pretty serious about introducing it in a vehicle at some stage.
Naturally it’s a big deal for the Chinese market where a measure of true luxury is never having to drive. But I can see one or two U.S companies, who have drivers to chauffeur around the boss, also being interested.
The new S90 sedan goes on sale in the U.S. this fall, going head to head with the likes of Mercedes’ E-Class, BMW’s 5-series, Audi’s A6 and the Lexus GS. Prices kick off at $46,950.
Of course you could just buy an S-Class Benz and have the dealer remove the front passenger seat.