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5:30 AM | May 30 2018

Ambience Concept redefines in-car luxury

The S90 Ambience Concept car allows passengers to tailor the visuals, sound and smell of their interior to suit their prevailing mood.

You’re gazing up at the aurora borealis – or Northern Lights, as they’re also known – while inhaling a scent and listening to sounds created to match your mood.


This isn’t some part of chilly northern Scandinavia, however. Instead this is the warmly inviting and highly relaxing interior of the S90 Ambience Concept created by Volvo Cars.


Ambience is an industry-first sensory experience that synchronises visuals, sound and scent to redefine in-car luxury.

Based on Volvo’s chauffeur-oriented S90 Excellence three-seater executive sedan sold in limited markets, the Ambience Concept enables rear passengers to personalise the car’s atmosphere by using an intuitive smartphone app to choose one of seven visual themes synchronised with audio and scent.


The visual element transforms the car ceiling according to the selected theme – including Northern Lights, Scandinavian Forest, Swan Lake, Archipelago and Rain – each providing a different mood scaling from relaxing to invigorating. There is also a Nocturnal theme for resting, and Freedom gives a boost of fresh and uplifting energy.


The synchronised audio plays through the car’s Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system, which includes small tweeters in the headrest for an immersive sound experience.


Each theme is matched with one of four scents, which deploys simultaneously from a portal in the centre console. The scents are created by scented candle and perfume specialist Byredo, which was founded by native Swede Ben Gorham.

“The Ambience Concept redefines luxury by taking it beyond material choices, creating a car that connects with your senses,” said Robin Page, head of design at Volvo Cars. “The design explores how people feel inside the car and enables them to influence their own mood and well-being.


“We’re known for our human-centric approach to design and as an industry leader in advanced safety technology. Ambience reinforces this and shows our broader focus on human care, which starts with safety and also extends to general well-being.”


Volvo Cars has the ambition to introduce the Ambience Concept’s sensory experience to the S90 Excellence production car – for markets, such as China, where buyers are particularly focused on the rear cabin.


The S90 Excellence showroom model is itself based on Volvo’s 2015 Lounge Console concept.

The elevated Excellence luxury experience is available in Australia with the top-of-the-line XC90 model. The Volvo XC90 Excellence has two lavishly appointed rear seats featuring variable positioning via electric adjustment, massage function and heating, while they’re divided by a console incorporating a refrigerated compartment complete with bespoke, handcrafted Orrefors crystal glasses.


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