Autocar confidential: Volvo’s speedy subs, Benz honours Bangle and much more

In this week’s round-up of motoring gossip, we gasp at the speed of sign-ups to Volvo’s new subscription service, Mercedes designer Gorden Wagener gives a nod to Chris Bangle, we hear why VW is hoping scalability will yield an EV windfall and more.

Volvo’s swift subs

Volvo intends its Care by Volvo subscription service to be quick, and the record for signing up online currently stands at 39 seconds. That time was set by a UK customer who had never bought a Volvo before.

Benz honours Bangle

Mercedes-Benz design chief Gorden Wagener has honoured celebrated but controversial ex-BMW design boss Chris Bangle, who was awarded the 2021 American Prize for Design. “Chris is a true visionary and a lateral thinker,” Wagener said. “He was always ahead of his time and created cars and products that were the same. He is an inspiration for every young designer and so he was for me.” Bangle’s best-known works during his 17-year tenure at BMW include the E65-generation 7 Series, the original Z4 and the bold X-Coupé concept.

Scale electrics

Volkswagen boss Ralf Brandstätter has insisted that its new electric cars such as the ID 3 and ID 4 “will earn us money” from launch, but he wouldn’t speculate on when their price and profitability will match combustion-engined cars’. “With scalability, the margins improve. I can tell you this much,” he said.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

The Audi Q4 E-tron is the first to follow the brand’s new ‘ABC’ approach to interior layout, optimising cabin space with the aid of its flat-floored MEB platform. The new EV has exterior dimensions comparable to an A-segment SUV’s (Q3) but a boot the size of a B-segment SUV’s (Q5) and a passenger compartment that offers space on a par with a C-segment SUV’s (Q7).