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2011 Volvo S60 Preview

2011 Volvo S60 Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Volvo S60Critical Knowledge:
  • All-new, second-generation S60 model
  • Larger than its predecessor
  • Coupe-like sedan styling
  • City Safety collision-avoidance system
  • Pedestrian Detection system
  • Two different chassis tunings
  • Two different turbocharged powerplants
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Debuts at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show
  • In showrooms late summer 2010
Introduction
The first-generation Volvo S60 debuted in 2001 to replace the outgoing S70. Always offered as a 4-door sedan (Volvo's last-generation V70 wagon was closely related), the S60 was gradually updated over the years. In 2007, it received a minor facelift, including a new grille, front bumper, outside mirrors, and a redesigned front spoiler for better aerodynamics and a more aggressive appearance. The S60's sporty driving character was also enhanced at that time with firmer front and rear shock absorbers and springs.

Debuting in Geneva, the 2011 Volvo S60 is an all-new second-generation model. The fresh-faced 4-door shares platforms with the Volvo XC60, but its sleek appearance mirrors the look of the Volvo S60 Concept. Volvo has packed even more technology-and safety features-into its latest vehicle. Even so, although the new S60 grows in nearly every dimension, the curb weight has increased by less than 100 pounds, according to the company.

After its debut at Geneva, the S60 will go into production in Ghent, Belgium. The first vehicles will arrive in showrooms in late summer 2010, the company says.

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2011 Volvo S60Design
Like many automakers, Volvo has sculpted its latest sedan to align with the popular 4-door coupe style-Volkswagen's new CC being a prime example. Volvo says of the new S60's design: "Its profile radiates so much coupe feeling that the rear doors come as something of a pleasant surprise when you examine the car close-up."

The interior of the 5-passenger S60 retains the familiar Volvo appearance, with a focus on simplicity and clarity, the company says. "The all-new S60 brings us up to a whole new level when it comes to the integral experience of color, form, material and technology," the automaker states. Even though the roofline has been slimmed, the rear split-folding seats offer more knee space than in the outgoing model, and the trunk opening is wider to accommodate larger loads.

Model Lineup
The 2011 Volvo S60 will be offered with 4- and 6-cylinder turbocharged powerplants and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive. A high-performance T6 model will follow shortly thereafter, but the wagon variant will likely remain only in Europe-for now.

All 2011 S60 models offer a high level of standard equipment. This includes power windows, power door locks with keyless entry, cruise control, and dual-zone automatic climate control with air conditioning and pollen/dust filter. The top-of-the-line S60 T6 is fitted with standard leather sport seats, power glass sunroof, compass in the rearview mirror, Satellite Radio prep, upgraded 6-speed "Geartronic" transmission and larger wheels and tires.

2011 Volvo S60Hardware
Volvo will release the 2011 S60 with two different engines in the U.S. market: a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder and a 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder. The standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is what Volvo calls a GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) powerplant. Fitted with a single turbocharger, the new engine is rated at 203 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque. It promises to move the S60 sedan to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, the company claims. The more powerful turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder has been refined to produce 304 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. According to Volvo, this engine accelerates the S60 to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. Both engines are mated to a standard second-generation 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, promising smoother shifts and improved efficiency, Volvo says.

As expected, the 2011 Volvo S60 will be offered with the company's All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction (AWD is standard on the T6). The computer-controlled Haldex all-wheel-drive system instantly delivers up to 50 percent more torque to the rear axle only when needed, such as during takeoff.

In a unique move, Volvo is offering the S60 with a choice of two chassis alternatives: comfort and sport. The difference between the two is to be found in the dampers and the front and rear subframes-the comfort variant has a somewhat softer setting to give a smoother ride on poorer road surfaces, says the automaker. "The spotlight was on giving the concept of comfort a whole new dimension. The dynamic chassis has an alert, quick-responding architecture that puts the focus on the driving experience, yet without diluting the impression of a comfortable ride," explains Volvo. While European customers will be able to specify which chassis tuning they prefer, the U.S. market will likely have the comfort variant as standard and the sport variant available as an option.

Suspension on all 2011 S60 models is of a MacPherson strut design in the front, and a multi-link independent type in the rear. Hydraulic shocks and stabilizer bars are standard and all models receive 4-wheel disc brakes. The performance-oriented T6 models will receive an upgraded sport suspension and an upgraded braking system featuring larger, more powerful disc brakes.

2011 Volvo S60Safety
The 2011 Volvo S60 benefits from a comprehensive array of safety features. Dual-stage front air bags (SRS) and Volvo's standard Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) with side air bags help protect front passengers from injury. An Inflatable Curtain (IC), the Whiplash Protection Seating System (WHIPS), and seat belts with pyrotechnic pre-tensioners in all seating positions add to the level of safety. All models are equipped with stability and traction control, and a tire-pressure-monitoring system (TPMS) is standard as well. The ISO-FIX attachment for rearward-facing child safety seats is standard on all models.

A self-proclaimed industry leader in safety, Volvo is fitting all 2011 S60 models with standard City Safety, wherein the sedan will automatically apply its brakes if the driver fails to react in a timely manner to a slowing vehicle in front. City Safety is coupled with Pedestrian Detection, an electronic system designed to sense pedestrians in the path of the moving vehicle. If the system determines that a pedestrian is in the way, the S60 will alert the vehicle operator with an audible warning and a flashing light. If the driver does not react, full braking power is automatically-and immediately-applied.

Technology
Volvo often leads the industry with its innovative safety technology, and the all-new 2011 S60 is no exception. While nearly every late-model vehicle is fitted with stability control, all are reactive systems; they must wait until the vehicle is at an extreme angle before they initialize. The S60, on the other hand, is the first sedan model on the market with Advanced Stability Control, according to the automaker. While utilizing a roll angle sensor, the vehicle's electronics are able to identify any skidding tendency at a very early stage, meaning the Volvo's Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) can step in earlier and with greater precision, Volvo states. The automaker has also fitted the new S60 with Corner Traction Control (CTC), which utilizes the DSTC electronics to monitor cornering forces. When cornering, the vehicle's inside wheel is braked slightly (thus helping initial turn-in). This action automatically sends power to the outside wheel-where most of the vehicle's weight has been transferred. According to Volvo, CTC reduces the tendency of the S60 to understeer (feel like it is "plowing" forward) and the driver can comfortably take the corner at a higher rate of speed.

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