2009 Volvo S60 Concept

Tom Ludwick

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 its 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 get off the Blackberry and quickly step on the brakes.

A new turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine lies under the hood of the concept. 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 5.0 l/100 km (47 mpg), but doing so isn't only the work of the new engine and transmission. The car features other eco-goodies such as 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 production model is much like the concept, perhaps Acura and BMW have reason for concern. The S60 has never been the toughest warrior in the competitive entry-luxury sedan market, but this mid-sizer could be the Viking axe that Volvo needed to take a swing at its Japanese and German rivals.

To read more about the 2009 Volvo S60 Concept, go to our 2009 Detroit auto show blogs coverage. All the latest blogs from the Editors of Automobile Magazine can be found HERE. We've got our whole staff wandering the floor at Cobo Hall bringing back live photos and more information about all the new debuts from Detroit.

For complete coverage of the 2009 Detroit auto show, click HERE.

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