The all-new Volvo S60 is less premium saloon, more four-door coupe – and promises to be the most exciting Volvo yet.
Some might suggest that isn’t saying much, but Volvo really is placing an emphasis on the new S60’s driving prowess. The new Dynamic chassis will provide 10% faster steering input and much stiffer suspension.
Volvo’s existing Four-C active chassis system, which uses sensors to continually monitor the car and adjust the damping accordingly, will be available as an option on all new S60 variants. This gives a choice of Comfort, Sport and Advanced settings.
Volvo says it has tested the ride quality in the UK, and that buyers should expect an impressive degree of suppleness whichever mode they select.
Advanced stability control
As you would expect from a Volvo, there are numerous advanced safety features, including a new stability control system: Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC). Featuring a new ‘roll’ sensor DSTC is said to detect imminent grip loss even faster, meaning it can step in earlier and with more precision.
In addition, the new Corner Traction Control system uses ‘torque vectoring’ to turn more smoothly. This is the process of artificially slowing down the inside wheel while speeding up the outside one – some BMWs and Porsches are already available with a similar system.
The new S60 also includes an integrated set of four braking safety functions to improve braking performance in both emergency and general use.
Spots and avoid pedestrians
Beyond this the S60 is the first car to use Volvo’s new Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake system.
As the name suggests this can spot a pedestrian stepping in front of the car, using a combination of camera and radar sensors, and apply maximum braking force to avoid them. The system is extremely complex to develop, but is said to work consistently so long as the person concerned is above 80cm tall.
Volvo claims the system can avoid a collision altogether at speeds up to 21mph, and it will reduce significantly reduce injury beyond this. It is especially effective in the dark, when limitations in human eyesight reduce reaction times.
City Safety as standard
The new S60 also features the same City Safety system as the Volvo XC60, which can avoid or lessen rear-end impacts up to 18mph.
Other safety kit available on the new S60 includes Driver Alert Control, which monitors drivers for tiredness or lapses in attention, blind spot monitors, Active Bi-Xenon headlights that follow the curve of the road, Lane Departure Warning, improved curtain airbags and the usual impact protection structures you’d expect from Volvo.
All this kit is likely to mean high scores with crash test body Euro NCAP, particularly in the new ‘safety assist’ category.
Sporty design inside and out
In common with the latest trend for executive transport, the all-new Volvo S60 is billed as a four-door coupé, rather than a traditional saloon.
It is certainly very swoopy, with flowing curves that Volvo refers to as ‘racetrack design’. LED lights feature front and rear, along with prominent contrast colour skid plates.
On the inside the sporty theme continues with instruments angled towards the driver, although this doesn’t come at the cost of passenger comfort. The S60 is still a full five-seater with an extra 30mm of rear knee space compared with the outgoing model.
There are plenty of storage options, the rear bench splits 40/60 and the boot opening is 100mm wider than before. The new electronic climate control includes an air quality system and a function that starts venting excess heat from the car as soon as the doors are unlocked.
All the usual premium refinements are available, including a high-tech infotainment centre, stereo upgrade option, parking cameras and adaptive cruise control.
DRIVe to offer low 115g/km CO2
Just three engines will be offered at launch – two five-cylinder turbodiesels and a high performance V6 turbo petrol with four-wheel drive. Power output ranges from 163bhp to 304bhp, fuel economy is as great as 47.9mpg combined.
A DRIVe eco variant will follow, promising 115g/km CO2 emissions and 65.7mpg from a 1.6-litre turbodiesel; later a pair of 1.6-litre direct injection turbo petrol engines will also join the range, alongside a 2.0-litre turbo petrol.
The all-new Volvo S60 makes its world debut at the Geneva motor show in March. Prices will be announced soon.
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