Although details are scarce on Volvo's new S60, these photos have been released well in advance of the car's scheduled March reveal at the Geneva auto show. First impression is that the styling of this midlevel sedan is dramatically changed from its predecessor, which ceased production earlier this year. We had a hint of the new car's design early in 2009 at the Detroit auto show.
Production of the new S60 is slated to begin in the summer of 2010, likely making the new car a 2011 model. An educated guess is that the powertrain choices will be relatively unchanged, but would include some variant of Ford's EcoBoost technology. That could mean anything from a twin-turbo V-6 to a 1.6-liter inline-4. It's likely that the engine will drive only the front wheels, but all-wheel drive could be an option. The S60 might even get the twin-clutch transmission technology that's been developed for the Fiesta and Focus.
Another interesting S60 technology is what Volvo calls succinctly "Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Safety." The system uses a variety of sensors to scan forward of the car, not the least of which is a camera that can recognize pedestrians. At speeds below 15 mph, the system is said to be capable of stopping the car before colliding with a pedestrian, regardless of driver input. At higher speeds, the system may not be able to fully stop in time to avoid the impact, but will alert the driver and slow the car sufficiently to lessen the impact...at times applying full braking power with no driver intervention required.
Volvo's cars have long been known to protect their occupants in a crash. Now maybe they'll extend that courtesy to pedestrians, by avoiding with them at all.