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S60 a Volvo dynamo

Svelte Swede: The bold new S60 is arguably the sportiest looking sedan ever offered by Volvo.

Volvo's stylish new S60 may finally put paid to the Swedish marque's pipe-and-slippers image

Volvo logo9 Aug 2000

VOLVO has released the first official pictures of its dynamic new S60 sedan.

The newcomer is expected to be launched here in late January, 2001, replacing the ageing and staid looking S70.

Penned by Volvo styling guru Peter Horbury, the sleek S60 is aimed at a younger, more style conscious set of buyers than those attracted to its predecessor.

Volvo says it hopes the S60 will enable it to steal some sales from German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

It will be positioned squarely against the 3 Series and C-class, with a starting price in the mid-$50,000s, rising to the low $70,000s for the range-topper.

The svelte sedan bears a strong family resemblance to the V70 wagon and larger S80 sedan, featuring the same "waterfall" flanks and protruding snout.

The connection is more than skin-deep as all three cars are based on the same platform.

But the S60 is without doubt the sportiest looking model thanks to its short overhangs and coupe-like roofline, borrowed from its C70 sibling.

Powering the S60 is the sames trio of turbocharged and naturally aspirated five-cylinder engines as the V70. All three powerplants are said to meet American LEV (low-emission vehicle) standards.

The base model S60 2.4 20V develops 125kW at 5900rpm and 230Nm at 4500rpm, while the S60 2.4T light pressure turbocharged 2.4-litre unit generates 147kW at 6000rpm and 285Nm from 1800-5000rpm.

The range topping S60 T5's high pressure turbocharged, 2.3-litre powerplant cranks out 184kW at 5200rpm and 330Nm from 2500-5200rpm - higher outputs than any of its direct rivals.

All three engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Depending on specification, the automatic transmission is offered with a Geartronic sequential shift function - available on 2.4T and T5 models.

A sporty five-speed manual shift gear lever, the Spaceball, with alloy finish is available to customers specifying manual transmission - standard on T5, optional on other variants.

The normally aspirated model rides on 15-inch alloy wheels while both turbo variants come with 16-inch rims. A 17-inch wheel and tyre package will be optional.

Although it shares its platform with the V70, the S60 is 40mm shorter than the wagon, which suggests it should be more nimble and offer quicker steering response.

In view of the younger target market, Volvo Australia anticipates offering the "Dynamic" spring and damper package as standard, with the "Sport" package available as an option.

Its sexy styling notwithstanding, the S60 will still be a car that appeals to the head as well as the heart, offering the safety levels the marque is famous for.

The S60 uses the same safety systems (WHIPS and SIPS) as the S80 and V70, in addition to dual stage front airbags and inflatable curtain bags to protect occupants' heads in side impacts.

Anti-lock disc brakes are assisted by brake force distribution (EBD) for maximum braking efficiency and control.

Stability and Traction Control (STC) is standard on the 2.4T but Volvo says STC's high triggering threshold means it will not interfere unless urgently required.

The more advanced Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) is standard on the T5.

In keeping with the S60's sporting overtones, its front seats offer more lateral support than those in the S80 and V70.

Two rear seat configurations are offered: the "Dynamic" version is heavily sculpted to form a 2+2 configuration while the "Comfort" version provides room for a third rear passenger.

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