Press Releases

History helps balance dynamics and design in new Volvo S60


For immediate release


In order to design a modern sport sedan built around the latest technology, sometimes you have to start with a little history.


The new Volvo S60 sedan has a sporty soul that captures the emotion and fun-to-drive virtues of a generation of Volvo sedans in a modern, state-of-the-art European automobile. But it was the balance between sporty performance and sensible design that first made the Volvo sedans of the 1950s and 60s so attractive to North Americans, and it is that same balance that makes the new S60 so appealing today.


Volvo was synonymous with sporty family cars back when enthusiasts discovered that cars like the PV544, the 122S and, later, the 140 models offered handling and performance capable of winning the races and rallies of the day. The S60 presents a modern version of that balance, delivering exceptional handling with superb ride, exciting performance with best-in-class safety, all wrapped in a design that is bound to evoke a few memories of those early Volvo models.


In drawing the S60, Volvo's chief of design, Peter Horbury, clearly borrowed styling cues from cars like the venerable 122 and blended them with the new visual language that has created today's S80, the new V70 and the landmark C70 Coupe. The result is the strong shoulders and distinctive 'V' hood lines reminiscent of the 122 series, interpreted in a modern sedan with a long wheelbase and an aggressive stance. With the arrival of the S60, the new Volvo design language which was first seen on the Volvo S40 and V40, and made its North American debut on the stunning C70 Coupe, has now been applied to the entire product line.


Although the S60 is built on the same large car platform as the Volvo S80 luxury sedan and versatile V70 wagon, the flowing lines and short overhangs of the S60, combined with a profile that strongly suggests sports coupe, gives S60 its own visual identity. Despite the S60's sloping roof line and strong C70 Coupe influence in the C-pillar, the new sedan is indeed a roomy 5-seater.


The structure beneath the handsome lines also strikes an important balance. The S60 has a very high torsional rigidity figure (more than 20 kNm/degree) that is twice that of the S70 sedan. High torsional rigidity is a key factor in superior handling. Yet that same structure includes the safety cage that provides the protective zone around occupants, a structure that must manage the energy of a crash without transferring undue forces to the passengers. Changes to the S60 (vs S80), particularly in the front and rear bumper area, permits calculated energy absorption and deformation without compromising the platform stiffness. Choice of materials, the design and position of energy absorbing elements, the position of strategic reinforcing members and the position of spot welds, creases and folds in the inner and outer body structure all contribute to the successful balance.


The final product is not only safe and strong, it's quiet: The aerodynamic shape (Cd of .28), the smooth integration of exterior components, and tight seams and fit of components like headlights and mirrors helps S60 move through the air with a minimum of wind noise while the torsional rigidity help minimize unwanted vibrations and road harmonics.


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Lisa Graham

Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd.



Doug Mepham

MacDonald & Co.


Old S60
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