Autocar confidential: Volvo’s C40 appeal, pistons as important as plugs for BMW and more

This week’s snippets of automotive news include what the DBX SUV means for Aston Martin going forward, Porsche’s commitment to driver engagement and more – but first, Volvo explains the thinking behind its latest EV:

More than just a looker

The new Volvo C40 Recharge may be a more sporty-looking model than the closely related XC40 EV, but company boss Håkan Samuelsson has denied it will appeal only to youth. He said: “I know you think the C40 is for younger customers but a lot of older people want to have more dynamic-looking cars. Taste is different.”

Driving fun before self-driving tech

Porsche won’t relinquish its focus on driver engagement, even if it sees room for self-driving tech in certain situations. “We have to look at cars which deliver driving pleasure, which do very precisely what you like as a driver,” said R&D boss Michael Steiner. “There is no good reason why such a car should not run on its own in traffic jams, downtown and on the highway. But the main development target is the driver experience.”

Pistons as well as plugs, for now

BMW’s bold new electric strategy is set to reinvent the firm’s product range but piston engines still have a part to play. Development boss Frank Weber said: “Hybrid vehicles offer a great combination of CO2 reduction and electric driving – and during this transition phase to a full- electric future, PHEVs will play an important role.”

DBX marks the starting point for new Aston

The DBX will continue to form a crucial part of Aston Martin’s product strategy as more derivatives are launched. “We are increasing our portfolio, and there’s more to come,” said CEO Tobias Moers. “The DBX provides an excellent platform. It’s one of the building blocks for the future.” The first DBX derivative is due in the third quarter of this year.