Save for a single-cab pickup with a straight-up bench seat, a true three-seat vehicle is rare. There are basically the , , and, now, this concept.
Yet since Volvo is owned by Chinese automaker Geely and the Shanghai auto show is positively dripping with money, you can expect this ultra-lavish SUV to reach production, deleted front passenger seat and all. Building on the —which already delivers –esque luxury with a deleted third row, central fridge, and crystal glasses—Volvo took things further with the "Lounge Console."
It offers unobstructed leg room to the right rear passenger, sure, but the Lounge Console is packed with trick mechanisms and secret compartments, and brings automotive transport as close to first-class air travel as much as anything we've seen. The rear-facing portion of the leg rest opens up to reveal a shoe cubby, while a lockable bin near the footwell secures wristwatches, fat stacks of American dollars, or other valuables. Then there's the motorized tray table that springs up and splits in half to reveal a jewelry case and the biggest vanity mirror likely ever installed in a car.
Close the case, flip the table up 90 degrees, and a 17-inch LCD screen comes to life. There's also zoned cabin lighting that will illuminate the Lounge Console's user in a soft, flattering glow while keeping the other passenger and the driver in the dark. Not even Maybach has ventured this far into astronomically unnecessary luxury.
It makes some sense, of course. Limo drivers always push the front passenger seat all the way forward and makers of luxury vehicles often install redundant controls that allow the driver or the right rear-seat passenger to do the same. And how uncouth is it to put your feet on the back of another seat when there could be none at all? We don't know if a production version would make it out of China, but we'd expect that country's wealthy—who continue to get wealthier—will have to pay a pretty penny to be pampered like this. All we ask is for a ride, OK, Volvo?