Volvo’s new S60 will go on sale next September after its launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The firm has taken the unusual step of releasing pictures of the car four months ahead of the its launch, a move which is understood to be related to the announcement by Ford that Chinese car maker Geely is in the frame to buy Volvo.
The new car is very similar to the S60 Concept, retaining the low, coupe-style roof line. The front end, in particular, is nearly identical – only small changes to the shape of the lights and a higher bonnet line differentiate the production car.
Volvo hasn’t issued any pictures of the interior, but the car will use a productionised version of the concept’s cabin, with the same dashboard shape. The concept’s cantilevered rear-hinged rear doors have been replaced by conventional items.
Underneath the bodyshell the S60 is based on the Ford EUCD platform that is also used by the current Mondeo. Volvo is promising that the S60 will be the “sportiest and most dynamic Volvo ever,” and the project’s engineers are understood to have been working on the driveability of the S60 since the project’s inception.
A Volvo source said that the firm knew the previous car couldn't match the likes of the 3-series and the C-class, and that to successfully compete with these rivals driver appeal is crucial.
Unlike the previous S60, the new car is more conventionally sized to give Volvo a true rival for the likes of the BMW 3-series. The old car was awkwardly-sized between a 3-series and 5-series, and was based on a cut-down V70 platform, although it was a sales success in the first few years of the car’s life. There was no estate version, either, but expect the new S60 to get an estate variant in 2011.
The car will also be the first Volvo to be available with the firm’s new Pedestrian Detection technology, which can “see” pedestrians in the road and automatically apply the brakes to stop the car if the driver doesn’t react quickly enough.