A few weeks ago, Volvo sent out some preview pictures of its concept for Detroit, a teaser for the next-generation S60 sedan, appropriately called the S60 Concept. In other words, a teaser for the teaser.
Today TheCarConnection.com got to see the real teaser on the Detroit stand, and although the S60 Concept set to simply replace an existing product with a new design, it’s quite revolutionary in form and features.
With styling cues borrowed from Viking longboats and race tracks, it's clear the automaker has something more aggressive in mind with its upcoming S60. The S60 Concept's headlamps are said to resemble Viking longboats sailing side by side, while the coupe-like profile flows smoothly into flowing sheetmetal at the back, said to resemble the fast sweeps of a race track. That's matched with a new, more sculpted and face-forward version of Volvo's easily recognized snout. We especially liked the bright white LED running lamps directly flanking the grille.
The current-generation S60, which dates back to the 2001 model year with a minor update in 2007, arguably was one of the first sedans to roll out the very arced, flowing roofline—before some automakers started using the term “four-door coupe.” The S60 has always been a stylish and sensible sedan, but not an overtly sporty one for the driving enthusiast.
Inside—once you open the center-opening doors, hinged in front and sliding in back (definitely not making it to production)—we see hints of the Jaguar XF, with surprisingly warm, elegant impression. The S60 Concept has a “modern Scandinavian living room environment” and takes the automaker's innovation with center consoles to a new level, with a panel made of Orrefors crystal (famous, and from Sweden) running the length of the center stack, illuminating in whatever 'mood' the driver commands. This feature will likely stay the stuff of concept cars, but it's no doubt food for thought and something we may see elements of sometime soon.
The tail lamps of the S60 Concept are especially attention-getting; they appear colorless, but when illuminated they shine in the proper color for brake lights, side-marker lights, or turn signals. Also at the back, a retractable diffuser fine-tunes the aerodynamics depending on vehicle speed.
The S60 Concept has an upgraded version of Adaptive Cruise Control that can start and stop repeatedly in crawling traffic—a feature that might make it to production—and the Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake system can avoid a collision completely is the closing speed between vehicles is less than 25 km/h (about 15 mph). In other words, it could save you from an embarrassing bumps in crawling, bumper-to-bumper traffic.
That’s not all; the S60 can also avoid collisions with pedestrians, incorporating a system that uses camera imaging to identify and track people in the street, applying full braking if the driver doesn’t acknowlege a potential danger ahead with a red signal that illuminates at the bottom of the windshield.
Under the hood of the S60 Concept is a 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder engine, making 180 horsepower, incorporating start/stop. Volvo confirms that the direct-injection/turbocharged engines will be introduced in the second half of this year, though the automaker could not provide an answer as to whether this engine will be of the same family as Ford’s so-called EcoBoost four-cylinder.