Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


Coup de grace. Image by Volvo.

Coup de grace
Volvo finally lays to rest its boxy, middle class, middle-aged past with this stunning blow - the S60 concept.
<< earlier article     later article >>


News homepage

The makers of many a posh saloon claim that their three-box executives look like a coupé. Heck, there's even a niche dedicated to it - you know, the one with the Mercedes CLS in it.

But here's a saloon that claims nothing of the sort, yet it really looks like a coupé. Only the shut line beneath the C-pillar gives the game away, and you'll notice there's no door handle in the traditional place too. That's because the S60 concept has clever clogs rear hinged back doors that slide backwards, so the handles are in situ, just like in a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Anyway, enough about the doors. This Volvo S60 Concept signals yet another design direction shift for the Swedish maker, making it ever more difficult to avoid saying 'Swedish stunner'. We'd never lower ourselves to that, but this Swede is pretty, ahem, stunning. From every angle there's something pleasing on the retinas - like the full length glass roof that stretches without pause from back to front.

Then there are the tailpipes that integrate neatly high into the rear bumper, the short overhangs and resulting 'wheels at each corner' stance, and the busy angles of the bonnet creases and angular three-piece front valance. Inside it's a similar story; a more stylish take on existing Volvo themes, most obviously in the re-interpretation of the 'floating centre console', which now stretches across the transmission tunnel.

The gear lever is noteworthy too (and when was the last time you heard anyone say that?), because it can be flipped from its standard horizontal position in automatic mode to a vertical, upright one for more sporty manual changes. Of course, much of the concept car frippery showcased here won't make it to production, but expect the basic form and function to remain. Which is pleasing, because the fundamentals look promising. The mix of traditional and more modern materials, and the basic architecture, is expected to remain. We do expect though that the Orrefors crystal comprising the floating centre stack will probably make way for a Perspex version.

A production version of the S60 concept debuting in Detroit next month will hit Volvo showrooms in 2010. Designed by Volvo design chief Steve Mattin, the concept is powered by a four-pot 1.6-litre GTDI engine, which produces 180bhp and self-explanatorily stands for gasoline turbocharged direct injection. Volvo reckons it will only spit out 119g/km of carbon dioxide, as well as going nearly 57 miles for every gallon of unleaded.

One thing that doesn't change at Volvo is its obsession with safety, so the S60 concept debuts Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and pedestrian protection. The system can apply full brake force when an imminent crash is detected and slam the brakes on without human intervention, as well as using radar to detect people stepping out and doing the same thing to avoid hitting them. Its cruise control will also vary the car's speed relative to the car in front, all the way down to a complete stop. Sadly it won't steer for you, before you ask.

Mark Nichol - 16 Dec 2008

Earlier articles featuring 2009 Volvo S60 concept

2008-11-24: Volvo concept previews sexy new S60

2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.

2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by United Pictures.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by Kyle Fortune.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by Kyle Fortune.2009 Volvo S60 Concept. Image by Kyle Fortune.    - Volvo road tests
- Volvo news
- S60 concept images

Bentley’s next-gen Continental GT to get hybrid tech. Image by Bentley.
Next Bentley Continental GT to get hybrid power
The British luxury manufacturer has confirmed the new Continental GT coupe will be unveiled in June, complete with plug-in hybrid power.
Jaguar F-Pace signs off with 90th Anniversary Edition. Image by Jaguar.
Jaguar F-Pace signs off with 90th Anniversary Edition
Based on R-Dynamic specifications and celebrating nine decades of Jaguar’s history with some styling updates.
Porsche confirms hybrid power for revised 911. Image by Porsche.
Porsche confirms hybrid 911
The updated 992 is getting a petrol-electric drivetrain for the first time in the 911’s history, likely replacing the 450hp Carrera S.

 215 Racing
 A. Kahn Design
 AC Cars
 AC Schnitzer
 Alfa Romeo
 APS Sportec
 Aston Martin
 Auto Union
 Cooper Tires
 David Brown
 David Brown Automotive
 De Tomaso
 Detroit Electric
 Eagle E-type
 edo competition
 FAB Design

 Factory Five
 Faralli & Mazzanti
 General Motors
 Gordon Murray
 Gordon Murray Automotive
 Gordon Murray Design
 Gray Design
 Great Wall
 Heffner Performance
 Joss Developments
 Land Rover
 Loma Performance
 Monte Carlo
 Nichols Cars

 Project Runningblade
 Project Velocity
 Range Rover
 Red Bull
 Ronn Motor Company
 SDR Sportscars
 The Little Car Company
 Thunder Power
 Tommy Kaira
 Vanda Electrics
 VL Automotive


External links:   | Irish Car Market News |

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©