Volvo’s New Backseat Is a Full-Blown Light, Sound and Scent Show

Half car, half business-class cabin

April 26, 2018 9:00 am

Searching for that coveted “new car smell”? Turn back now.

Looking for that wardrobe from The Chronicles of Narnia in automobile form? Listen up.

At the Beijing Auto Show this week, Volvo unveiled the S90 Ambience Concept, a vehicle that takes their S90 Excellence three-seater executive sedan and adds “an industry-first sensory experience that synchronises visuals, sound and scent,” according to a press release.

In practice, that means chauffeured passengers (yes, we said executive sedan) will be able to stretch out in their extended seat, pull up a smartphone app and choose from one of seven transformative cabin “themes,” from the naturalistic (Northern Lights, Scandinavian Forest, Swan Lake, Archipelago, Rain) to the abstract (Nocturnal, Freedom).

S90 Ambience (6 images)

Say you’re stuck in downtown traffic and you’ve exhausted conversation with your trusty driver Nigel. Simply pick a theme then sit back as a light show appears on the ceiling, harmonious audio flows from a Bowers & Wilkins sound system (including headrest tweeters) and a pod pops up to emit the appropriate aroma (created by Swedish fragrance house Byredo).

While those outside the densest of urban areas might be asking why they can’t just, well, roll down their windows, Volvo’s choice of location for the debut is no fluke.

“The Ambience Concept was created primarily for the China market and provides a contrast to China’s sometimes hectic city environments,” said Martin Andersson, senior commercial product manager at Volvo Cars’ Special Vehicles department.

As of now, the S90 Ambience is just a concept, but if incorporated into the Excellence, it will most likely see Beijing streets first. Guess you’re stuck with Nigel for the time being.

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