Volvo recently had automotive aficionados up in arms when it announced that it would no longer produce estate cars. To many, Volvo and the boxy silhouette of an estate are synonymous to the point of being inseparable.
But, as if to prove the Swedish marque wasn't just going to become another SUV devotee, it took the wraps off its EM90 - an all-electric minivan, MPV, people mover (or whatever you want to call it) that packs some seriously modern styling and a suite of impressive onboard tech.
Six individual seats fill the spacious and airy cabin, with the middle row looking as if it has been pinched from a Gulfstream jet. They can be slid forwards and backwards to create even more leg room, while they also boast heating, cooling, a massage function, and the ability to recline fully for a relaxing snooze.
Volvo says these seats also pack the firm's not-so-firm "zero gravity cushions", which feature a seven-layer structure and are over 120mm thick for additional plushness.
Currently on available to preorder in the China, this feels very much like a Volvo for the Asian market, where chauffeur driven vehicles prove extremely popular among the wealthier members of society.
This is reflected in the 15.6-inch HD display that folds down from the roof. It will happily stream entertaining content from a number of third-party apps, but also boasts a front-facing camera so occupants can carry out important business calls when on the move.
The entire digital ecosystem is powered by Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms from Qualcomm, which makes the experience fast and intuitive, while constant connection to the 5G network allows everyone riding inside to remain up to speed with the world outside.
What’s more, a voice assistant means passengers don’t have to deal with buttons and menu screens if they don’t want to. A number of vocal prompts can set up the interior like "a theatre, a meeting room, or a bedroom”, which we assume means the car adapts the interior lighting, seating position and infotainment offering to suit the mood.
Plus, active noise cancellation has been employed to cut out some of the exterior wind, tyre and road roar. Couple this with extensive insulation and you have a wonderfully peaceful place to catch some zeds.
Despite the huge amount going on inside, this EV is no lightweight in the performance and electric range departments, either. The underpinnings are predominantly borrowed from the recently released Volvo EX90 SUV, so it features a 268bhp electric motor that powers the rear wheels, while a 116kWh battery pack offers a solid 738km (or just over 458-miles) on a single charge.
As we said, it’s currently only available to preorder in China, where it costs 818,000 yuan (around $112,000 USD). But Volvo hasn’t ruled out bringing it to the US and Europe, should significant demand be there. You know what to do.