Volvo is pitching the new S60 saloon as a far sportier drive than the old model, which ceased production a full year ago. The 2010-spec Volvo S60 remains a four-door saloon, although the Swedes are at pains to point out its coupéness, with a sweptback C-pillar and plunging roofline. It looks slippery and the drag coefficient stands at 0.28.
If the company’s claims are anything to go by, the S60 could dramatically move the needle on our perceptions of the Volvo brand. Although not going quite as far as muscling in to BMW’s patch, they confidently predict it will outdrive any other FWD saloon out there. Not hard when that’s Audi’s stodgy A4.
Why are they so confident of the S60’s sportiness? Because they’ve thrown a load of tech at it, including: a torque vectoring stability control that actively sends drive to the outside wheel; greater use of aluminium and magnesium to bring weight down from the old S60; and a new suite of engines topping out at north of 300bhp.
The new Volvo S60: a 2010 Geneva motor show debut
Volvo will formally unveil the new S60 at next month’s Geneva motor show – but CAR’s already been up to Sweden to have a sneak peek. It’s bigger in every dimension than the outgoing S60, at 4628mm long and 1865mm wide, but remains a low-slung 1484mm height.
Volvo’s sporting aspirations mean that the emphasis is on dynamics over outright spaciousness. While the front seats are roomy, those in the rear are more cramped, with little space for your feet. All the seats are classically Volvo comfy, but with a novel – for Volvo – deep sculpting front and rear to emphasise this model’s sporty bent.
Boot space stands at 380 litres (smaller than the old car’s!), but if you want more space you should wait for the new estate version due later in 2010. As we revealed last week Volvo’s new badging policy, expect that car to be called the V60.
What’s under the bonnet of the new Volvo S60?
The hardware is the FWD matrix that underpins the V70 and S80, with the option of 4wd on higher-output models such as the range-topping T6. All the suspension and steering settings have been tweaked up to provide the sportier responses mentioned above.
Kerb weights fall between 1545kg and 1711kg, making it a few kilos lighter than the old model, according to the engineers. Engine line-up goes something like this:
• 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo, 200bhp, 236lb ft, 146mph, 7.7sec 0-62mph, 184g//km
• 3.0-litre inline six, turbo, 300bhp, 325lb ft, 155mph, 6.5sec 0-62mph, 239g//km
• 2.0-litre five-cyl TD, 158bhp, 295lb ft, 137mph, 9.2sec 0-62mph, 137g/km
• 2.4-litre five-cyl TD, 202bhp, 310lb ft, 146mph, 7.8sec 0-62mph, 157g/km
Naturally, this being a Volvo, there's a full gamut of safety gear thrown in – including the very Ronseal-like Pedestrian Detection With Full Auto Brake (see the video for this in action).
New Volvo S60: the business story
Volvo sold 600,000 of the old S60, which was launched in 2000 and only went off sale last year. It's being modest in its sales ambitions – where the old car peaked 110,000 per year, the target for the new one is a lifetime average of 90,000 annually.
It'll be built in Ghent and exported around the world; a third of sales will go to Europe, a third to the US and a third to the rest of the world.