Volvo concept previews new S60

  • 12-Jan-2009 01:19 EST
VolvoS60Concept  1 12.08.jpg

The coupe-like Volvo S60 Concept is a clear indicator of the design of the upcoming production sedan.

A parallelogram rear-door action, a pedestrian safety system, and double-wave shoulder line are some of the distinguishing design features of the Volvo S60 Concept. The car, details of which have been released ahead of its unveiling at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this month, gives a clear indication of the production S60 due to launch in 2010.

The concept's parallelogram rear-door push-button operation sees the forward section swing out from the body and the door then move rearwards, parallel with the vehicle’s side, stopping close to the rear wheel. The headlamps incorporate lighting units that Volvo describes as being shaped like Viking longboats sailing abreast, one for high and one for low beam. Light is projected by "sails" of the "longboats."

Volvo Design Director Steve Mattin said of the concept’s overall styling: "In forthcoming models, you will see more of our ‘racetrack’ design cues. The car’s lines do not end abruptly but instead forge a continuous flow pattern inspired by the fast sweeps of the racetrack. In the concept car, this is particularly visible in the rear."

When switched off, the rear lamps do not show red or yellow lenses. A retractable rear diffuser is fitted.

The concept’s interior is also said by Mattin to indicate the design direction Volvo wants to take: "It is the most exclusive we have ever created." The traditional Volvo floating stack has been produced from Orrefors crystal. The speedometer is a 3-D glass spiral, low numbers appearing closest to the driver’s eye, with the figures appearing to become increasingly distant as the car accelerates, which is certainly novel.

The S60 Concept’s lightweight contoured seats are attached to the center console’s lower section and the inner sill, keeping them clear of the floor. Seatbelt and armrest are integrated in the seat.

The pedestrian safety system is called Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection and is the next generation of Volvo's City Safety. It can detect a pedestrian stepping into the path of the car, and the vehicle’s full braking power is automatically operated if the driver has not already done so. It will be introduced on the production S60.

New sensor technology is being used to advance the system's capability from 50% to full automatic braking. It will activate at speeds below 19 km/h (12 mph). "If the car is being driven faster, the aim is to reduce the impact speed as much as possible. In most cases, we can reduce the collision force by about 75%," said Safety Specialist Thomas Broberg. Active Cruise Control has a queue (line) assist function to maintain the gap between the car and the vehicle ahead down to 0 km/h.

"The driving properties are better than in any previous Volvo," said President and CEO Stephen Odell. The concept's engine is a turbocharged 1.6-L direct-injection gasoline (GTDi) unit producing 132 kW (177 hp) with CO2 emissions of 119 g/km. The use of start-stop technology, a double-clutch transmission, and stratified combustion contribute to lowering fuel consumption and emissions. GTDi technology will be introduced on a production Volvo in the second half of 2009.

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