• What is it? A stylish four-door with a Swedish twist
• The basics: Coupe-like styling and efficient powertrains
• On sale: In the second half of the year
• Price: $32,000-plus (est.)
Fresh from its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, the 2011 Volvo S60 made its North American debut at the 2010 New York auto show, only days after Ford sealed a deal with China's Geely for the Swedish automaker.
The new sedan will go on sale in the second half of the year, with a handsomely rounded shape that's a pleasant update of the current car, though it's not too distinct from the larger, plusher S80 sedan. Inside the S60 has the edge: the five-seater has an ultra-cool floating center stack of controls that pushes the Swedish design ethos into a hipper direction.
Performance in other world markets will include a range of gasoline and turbodiesel engines. In North America, however, there will be just one drivetrain, at least at launch: it's a high-performance turbocharged in-line six, teamed to a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The powertrain makes 304 horsepower and 324 pound-feet. The S60 likely will follow in the path of the XC60 crossover, which launched with the same powertrain and has since added a front-drive version. Volvo estimates the new mid-size luxury sedan will accelerate to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and will reach a top speed of 155 mph.
Underpinning the new S60 is an independent suspension that shares some components with Ford's European Mondeo sedan. In this application, Volvo adds optional, adaptive suspension (Four-C) and steering systems that offer comfort, sport and advanced driving modes. The S60 can be ordered in a normal or a sport-tuned version.
It's sized to slot under the larger S80, but the 2011 S60 is still a five-seater with ample space for all its occupants. The rear seat splits 40/60 and the trunk opening is claimed to be more generous than the previous-generation S60.
Safety features are offered up in spades, with a new Corner Traction Control feature designed to smooth cornering by redirecting torque between the axle, a Pedestrian Detection safety system that can automatically stop the car if it detects a pedestrian walk past and the driver fails to stop. Volvo's City Safety feature, pioneered on the XC60 crossover, automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops. The S60's stability control adds in data from rollover sensors to give it an additional iota of preventative safety. There's also Driver Alert Control--a version of a system that debuted in the Mercedes E-Class, and which flashes the now-infamous coffee cup when it detects drivers making erratic moves. Parking sensors are included, and the S60 has front and rearview safety cameras, with wide angles of sight.
To keep passengers entertained, there's a new infotainment system that aggregates data from the audio unit, navigation system, mobile phone and other functions on a seven-inch color screen in the upper part of the center console. Audio features range from Dolby surround sound to a high-end system from Swedish soundmeisters Anaview.
Official pricing hasn't been released, but the 2011 S60 likely won't move much off the current car's price point.