2009 Detroit Auto Show: Volvo S60 Concept

Check out our large Volvo S60 Concept photo gallery after the jump.

By Kevin Miller


Volvo unveiled its S60 concept yesterday evening in Detroit, at the last press conference of the day at the auto show. Painted in an appealing Warm Liquid Copper color, the new S60 concept is visually longer and lower than the current S60. Viewed from the side, the concept car’s slim coupe roofline and window graphics are accompanied by an entirely new lateral shoulder line, forming a gentle double wave. Stretching from the headlamps all the way to the tail, it adds emotional excitement and plays with the surface and its highlights. Both the shoulder line and the tail lamp shape are said to be new Volvo design cues, meaning that we will see those shapes on the production S60 as well as future Volvo products.

“The concept car’s exterior gives a clear indication of what customers can expect of the all-new S60.,” says Volvo Cars Design Director Steve Mattin.

The front of the S60 Concept naturally sports the enlarged iron mark in the trapezoidal grille. The grille itself has a somewhat new appearance with structured horizontal vanes adding refinement to its form. The angled headlamps flow up into the strongly sculptural bonnet. Combined with the lower air intake’s reverse trapezoidal shape, this gives the concept car a very expressive “face”.

With the interior of the Volvo S60 Concept, Volvo Cars’ design director Steve Mattin and his team are displaying a variety of spectacular next-generation ideas. “You could say that we are showing the road we would like to take in the future. This interior is without doubt the most exclusive we have ever created,” says Steve Mattin. The interior is packed with non-production details, all of which together create a Scandinavian fresh light feeling, full of visual harmony.

The concept has some amazing details that are very conceptual and not for production, such as its center console made from Orrefors crystal that runs the length of the car, and the headlamps with reflectors shaped like Viking longboats sailing side-by-side.

The S60 Concept also incorporates the next generation of Volvo’s Collision Warning with Auto Brake, which launches this year on the XC60. Called Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, this system can detect stopped vehicles ahead, as well as a pedestrian who steps out into the path of the car – and the car’s full braking power is automatically activated if the driver does not respond to the danger. It was explained in the press conference that the system employs a scanning beam to search for pedestrians, with a camera confirming the sensed obstruction is indeed a pedestrian before the brakes are applied.

In an emergency situation where the Collision Warning system is activated, the driver first gets an audible warning together with a flashing light in the windshield’s head-up display. In order to prompt an immediate, intuitive reaction, the visual warning is designed to look like a brake light coming on in front. If the driver does not respond to the warning and the system determines that a collision is imminent, the car’s full braking power is activated automatically. The main aim is still for the initial warning to be sufficient for the driver to brake or maneuver away from the hazard; full automatic braking is an emergency measure that is only activated when the collision is imminent.

Volvo’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) has now been upgraded with a queue assist function.
The radar used for the pedestrian detection is also used in the S60 Concept’s Adaptive Cruise Control maintains the set time gap to the vehicle in front, slowing the car all the way down to standstill if necessary. The full stop feature makes this comfort-enhancing system usable in slow-moving queues such as stop-and-go traffic.

The engine chosen for the Volvo S60 Concept is a four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol unit using high-efficiency GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) technology and producing 180 horsepower. This engine has a carbon output of just 119 g/km (5.0 l/100 km).
Volvo Cars’ first production car with GTDi technology will be introduced during the second half of 2009.

In addition to GTDi technology, the Volvo S60 Concept integrates several technical features to reduce carbon emission and fuel consumption. These include stratified combustion, start/stop functionality, sequential manual gearbox, electric power steering, DRIVe-Mode for reducing fuel consumption via an “economy mode”, grille shutter to reduce air drag when there is less need for cooling air, and flat underbody panels.

The production version of the new S60 will launch in 2010. Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection and Full Autobrake will be included on the production model. Although many of the fanciful embellishments of the concept car will be lost enroute to production, expect the basic shape of the body to be equivalent to the concept.

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Author: Kevin Miller

As Autosavant’s resident Swedophile, Kevin has an acute affinity for Saabs, with a mild case of Volvo-itis as well. Aside from covering most Saab-related news for Autosavant, Kevin also reviews cars and covers industry news. His “Great Drive” series, with maps and directions included, is a reader favorite.

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  1. Drool! What a gorgeous car!

  2. I see lots of Jaguar XF cues, but with a better nose. As with the “floating stack” interiors, organic yet dramatic exterior design as opposed to some of what flies off the Bangle drawing boards. Certainly more interesting than IKEA design.

    State of the art collision safety/ accident avoidance technology may have sufficed in the past as Volvo’s raison d ‘etre. That’s hardly good enough nowadays when even Hyundai (and likely Tata) is offering similar systems. The S60 concept design is convincing evidence that Volvo can survive the “automotive industry re-shuffling” whereas Saab (which has been relegated to an Opel cousin twice-removed) will founder.

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