2010 Volvo S60 Debuts Ahead of Detroit Auto Show

Posted: December 17, 2008

There are few more lukewarm cars than the Volvo S60. The current model has been on the road for nine years, is underpowered next to competitors, and even falls short of the safety scores most buyers expect from Volvo. Through November of 2008, Volvo's U.S. sales were slower than any other major automaker except HUMMER, and the tepid S60 isn't going to cure that.

The next one, however, just might.

A concept version that telegraphs what we can expect from the 2010 S60 has begun to make its appearance in the press. It will formally debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, but Volvo has released pictures and a few details early - and the car looks like a radical departure from the staid design of the 2009 model.

Edmunds Inside Line reports, "The exterior design looks considerably more fluid and dynamic than that of the current car, which has been on the market for more than eight years without a major overhaul." Volvo says the angular design was "inspired by such cultural touchstones as Swedish crystal and Viking longboats." Among the most unique features - and something we doubt would survive to the production car unless Volvo is very serious about making a splash with this car - "is the design of the rear parallelogram doors. At the touch of a button, they swing out and away from the body, then slide rearward, parallel with the body."

Jalopnik has video of the door trick.

Kicking Tires notes, "Under the concept's hood is a new turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine producing 180 hp. That meager number won't make American luxury shoppers happy, but it will meet strict emission standards in Europe. The company doesn't state if this new engine is on track for its other cars, but it would make a lot of sense in the smaller C30 and S40 here in the U.S. The turbocharged four-cylinder also features other gas-saving measures like a start/stop function that turns off the engine at stops. Another new feature is a selectable gas-saving mode where a driver can decide to cut power to "frills" like entertainment and navigation systems."

In another post on the car, Jalopnik comments, "The interior of the Volvo S60 Concept was previewed last month and is said to preview future Volvo interior design trends. In concept form the S60 is positioned as a 4-seater, though we expect the production model will lose the twin rear buckets in favor of a rear bench capable of seating 3. The interior lines of the concept will likely translate loosely to the production car, but the rest of the show car concept features will not. Notable features of the S60 Concept are the lack of B-pillars, evidence of Volvo's increasing interest in passenger safety and visibility; a gear shifter that sits in a horizontal position when the car is in automatic mode, but can be rotated vertically when the driver selects a manual shift mode and rear doors that open using a reverse hinge, allowing for greater ease of entry and a better view of the interior for us media types."

The concept also features a crystal center stack - something we're certain won't make it to production.

So will the new car save Volvo's plummeting sales? We don't know, but we're certain that another staid S60 wouldn't have.

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