What Volvo has done with the Concept Universe is design a luxury car that would showcase its potential to go head to head with the Mercedes Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8. It is still a concept as it isn't built on any development of Volvo's current platforms. It is a clean sheet design without any earlier baggage. The things that the Concept Universe takes from earlier Volvos are only its design cues.
Those that are familiar with classic Volvo design would recognize the Volvo PV544-like bonnet, low set headlights and the shape of the grille. Its design team actually did spend some time looking at classic Volvos and I believe that it does look portray the essence of the earlier Volvos. The nose from the three quarter angle shows off the car pretty well. It may look awkward at first but it does make the car a little different than the norm. However, the Concept Universe from the side also looks like a classic sports saloon with its long bonnet, low slung roofline and large wheels.
While it does keep with the current Volvo DNA (imagine a sleeker looking Volvo SS60),the side profile somehow reminds me of the Maserati Quattroporte, the Aston Martin Rapide (but not too sporty looking) and to some extent; the Ian Callum designed 4-door Jaguars like the XF and the XJ series. So while the front end gets some nice retro Volvo touches, the rest of the car is very contemporary.
This concept car is a workable concept car as it isn't one of those outrageous concept cars with wings and over-the-top embelishments. One that could make it to production without much change from concept to production standards. A darn good effort I might say. I hope Volvo garners enough interest at its official outing at the Motor Show so that they can actually get round to building it and then try an assault on the usual luxury car manufacturers. If they do, it looks like Volvo may still shine under China owned Geely, unlike that other Swedish car maker called Saab which is still floundering under Spyker.