Volvo has decided that the new Volvo S60 will be a conventionally sized rival to established compact executive cars such as the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-class, and not awkwardly sized half a class above like the last-generation model.
It will be previewed by this, the Volvo S60 Concept at next month’s Detroit motor show. You can watch the video below.
Although the production car will not be as dramatic as the Volvo S60 Concept, it will retain the same proportions, low roofline and XC60-style front end. The Volvo S60 is the second model to get the firm’s new look (after the Volvo XC60), which is meant to make the cars clearly recognisable as a Volvo at 100 yards.
The concept’s most striking features, such as the rear-hinged rear doors and the lack of a B-pillar, will not make it into production. And despite what Volvo describes as coupe-style looks, the Volvo S60 is actually a saloon with a conventional boot lid.
The rear doors are mounted on parallelogram hinges; they pop out from the car’s body and then slide backwards towards the rear wheel arch.
The absence of a B-pillar helps to improve access. Inside, Volvo has replicated the floating console in its production cars in Swedish crystal glass, with the controls for the audio and climate control set directly into the glass.
The dashboard takes the shapes used in the XC60 and updates them with a split instrument pod featuring a large central speedometer. The wildest concept car touch is in the headlight clusters, where two miniature Viking longboats illuminate when the lights are switched on.
The concept also has a new safety feature, claimed as a world first by Volvo, that will be fitted to the production car. It can detect pedestrians in the path of the car and can fully apply the brakes if an accident is impending.