Volvo S60 (2010): CAR scoops new 3-series rival

Published: 07 October 2009

Volvo will launch its new S60 in spring 2010 – and CAR’s got the full scoop six months early. Our two new artist’s impressions (first two pics in our gallery; the rest are the concept car) reveal the new Volvo S60 and show how it’s stayed remarkably faithful to 2008’s S60 concept car, fish eyes and all.

‘Remove the bling, squint a little and the S60 concept will turn into production reality unmolested,’ one design source said. It’s quite a departure for Volvo, whose big saloons have been a bit too close in concept for our liking over the past decade.

So what’s new on the 2010 Volvo S60?

The design was largely signed off under former design director Steve Mattin, recently ousted for the returning Peter Horbury, an ally of new MD Stephen Odell. The S60 now sports a curvier dynamic, more emotional than today’s slab-sided, broad-shouldered saloon.

The Swedes have been desperate to put more space between the S60 and S80, which have overlapped uncomfortably in showroom appeal. ‘The new S60 has been nudged slap bang into BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-class territory,’ an insider told CAR. ‘With the recent revisions and new engines, we now believe the S80 competes in the 5-series, A6 and E-class segment. At last there’s clear water between the two.’

Volvo types who have seen the new S60 claim it has more of a coupé feel than a saloon. Our artist’s impressions, which are said to be highly accurate, depict a more raked hatchy style rear end like an A5 Sportback, rather than the outgoing S60’s three-box design. Naturally, the glass roof and handclap doors of the concept are dumped for a conventional construction.

So what’s under the skin of the new Volvo S60?

Ford might be trying to flog Volvo, but it still holds the keys to Gothenburg. The new S60 will use familiar front-wheel drive underpinnings related to the S60/S80 matrix, sharing some of the componentry from the Blue Oval’s large car range including the Mondeo and S-Max/Galaxy families.

A range of four- and five- and six-cylinder engines will be offered, topped by a brawny T6 model which enough grunt to skim a Scandinavian latte. More zeitgeisty models include a DRIVe version and a range of downsized direct injection engines will crunch the carbon. We expect the production car to premiere Volvo’s first GTDi engine – the Swedes’ take on Ford’s Ecoboost tech, sporting direct injection and turbocharging to liberate 180bhp from 1.6 litres, while trimming CO2 to around 120g/km.

The S60 will be the first Volvo to show off the new Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake. It’s a development of City Safe, which brakes the car to a standstill if you’re about to run into the back of the car in front; the new version will do a full emergency stop at speeds of up to 25mph.

When can I buy the new Volvo S60?

UK sales are slated for September 2010, so there’s still a little wait yet. Expect to see the first official pictures later this year, ahead of a Geneva motor show debut.