Christmas may have come early, as the folks from Gothenburg have just unwrapped the Volvo S60 concept that will debut in Detroit next month. From the looks of this stylish coupe-like sedan, Volvo knew just what we wanted this year.
In front, there is a strong upward stance, thanks to the angle of the trapezoidal grille and lower air intakes along with the LED headlights that flow up into the V-shaped hood. The roofline is low, and the car's lines follow a "race track" theme as they continue smoothly throughout the body instead of ending abruptly. Volvo says it plans to implement this type of styling into future models as well.
Inside, the concept seats four and a floating crystal center console runs from front to back. The slim leather seats are actually cantilevered from the center stack, and both the armrest and seatbelt are integrated so the seats appear to be floating as well. The instrument cluster also continues the floating theme, and houses a unique speedometer where low numbers appear farther away to give the driver a reminder of forward motion.
The concept will also showcase some of Volvo's latest safety breakthroughs - namely its "Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection." The highlight of the technology is the ability to automatically activate the car's full braking power in certain cases - one of which is when a pedestrian steps into the path of the vehicle; another is when a low-speed collision is detected. The system warns the driver via a heads up display and will intervene if he or she does not quickly step on the brakes.
A new turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine powers the concept S60. The engine is the first to use Volvo's efficient GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) technology. It also uses stratified combustion that allows the engine to operate with a surplus of air thus reducing fuel consumption. It is mated to a Powershift dual-clutch gearbox, and makes 180 hp.
Volvo says the concept will return an impressive 47 mpg, but doing so isn't just the work of the new engine and transmission. The car features electric power steering, auto start/stop, and a "DRIVe-Mode." In this mode, fuel consumption is further reduced by shutting off non-essential accessories. The car's body is made of lightweight materials, and flat underbody panels and a grille shutter reduce aerodynamic drag.
If the 2010 S60 is much like the concept, perhaps Acura and BMW have reason for concern. The S60 has never shined brightest in this very competitive sedan market, but this concept is proof that Volvo could strongly compete against its Japanese and German rivals.