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Volvo unveils next-generation S60

Sixty sense: New S60 heralds a fresh design language for Volvo sedans.

Fresh design and technologies will headline Volvo's S60 Concept at Detroit

16 Dec 2008

VOLVO CARS will unveil the new S60 Concept at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

And although it is not an exact representation of the production version of the long-overdue second-generation S60 mid-sized sedan, the concept ushers in Volvo’s new design language for sedans.

It will also herald a new cabin architecture, a different engine direction and updated driving and safety-related technologies that will eventually filter into all future Volvo models.

Expect to see the next-generation S60 sedan in Australia in the last quarter of 2010 - a few months after it goes on sale in Europe.

Both the concept and the production vehicle are the work of company design director Steve Mattin, who is also responsible for the soon-to-be-released XC60.

All three vehicles share the same EUCD platform that also underpins the XC70, V70 and S80 models in Volvo’s portfolio.

As with the current, eight-year-old S60, the concept reveals a coupe-like profile that Volvo promises will be borne out in the production version’s sporty driving qualities.

The unusual door arrangement, referred to as ‘Sensational Doors’ by the Swedes, sees the rear seat slide back and out like a fly that is ready for take-off.

Unsurprisingly, these ‘sui-slide’ doors will not make it into production, as it would put undue cost pressures on the BMW 3 Series rivalling sedan.

However, Volvo is using the Sensational Doors to highlight the significant shift in interior layout and presentation that the S60 Concept is ushering in – even if much of what we will see of the cabin is still some time away in the future – since they do away with a traditional B-pillar.

“The interior expresses a typically Scandinavian feel: fresh, light and airy. In the middle of the four-seater car glitters the jewel in the crown - a floating centre stack crafted from handmade, solid Orrefors crystal. It floats like a gentle, calm wave from the instrument panel all the way to the rear seat backrest,” Mr Mattin states.

"It resembles a waterfall that flows down from the instrument panel and then courses along the middle of the car's interior."

18 center imageOther notable styling features include slim pillars and window graphics, a fresh take on the lateral shoulder line that Volvo calls a ‘gentle double wave’ effect, and an XC60-esque nose with a restyled five-point grille and elongated headlights with detailing that is meant to evoke images of Viking longboats and the “mysterious Scandinavian sea.” Mr Mattin adds that Volvo Cars’ design direction is moving towards more dynamic themes.

"In forthcoming models, you will see more and more of our "racetrack" design cues. The car's lines do not end abruptly but instead forge a continuous flowing pattern inspired by the fast sweeps of the racing track. In the concept car, this is particularly visible at the rear," he said.

The S60 Concept’s job does not stop there, as it also ushers in future preventative safety technology such as Volvo’s ‘Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake’ function that stomps on the brakes if the driver is too slow to do so.

A radar and camera mounted in the grille area monitor the distance ahead and work in conjunction to confirm that there is an object in the way before applying full-force braking if required.

The radar also works in conjunction with an updated Adaptive Cruise Control system that now works in slow-moving queues that often result in repeated starting and stopping. The previous set-up deactivate below 30km/h.

On the subject of motion, the S60 Concept also introduces Volvo’s new 1.6-litre GTDi technology.

It is a petrol-powered direct-injection four-cylinder turbo unit that delivers 134kW of power while returning 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres and 119 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre.

Volvo says using direct-injection results in around a 20 per cent cut in petrol use and pollution over a similarly sized engine. Expect the next-generation S40/V50 models, as well as the C30 and its derivatives, to be the first recipients of the GTDi technology from later in 2010.

Other high-tech features in the S60 Concept include a head-up display for the instrumentation, increased connectivity and connection via the steering wheel controls, and Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System to make it into the productionised S60.

Read more:

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