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New XC60 turns up the visual volume with a dramatic twist to Volvo's DNA

New XC60 turns up the visual volume with a dramatic twist to Volvo's DNA

 

Ask Steve Mattin to describe the new Volvo XC60 and the Volvo Cars Design Director will deliver a surprisingly candid answer. "This car is charged with more emotive form and far more energy than any previous Volvo model," he says. "It is the boldest crossover to date."

 

Steve Mattin and his team have designed the XC60 with a very clearly defined goal. "We're elevating our design DNA to an entirely new level by literally turning up the visual volume," Says Mattin. "If you say that you'd recognize a Volvo from 300 feet away today, I daresay the XC60 radiates a clear Volvo presence from at least twice that distance."

 

"Historically, Volvo's interpretation of DNA signified ‘Do Not Abandon' the design traditions," says Mattin. "We have now expanded its significance to redefine DNA as taking a ‘Dramatic New Approach.'"

 

Volvo' new XC60 crossover steps boldly into what is the motoring world's toughest and fastest-growing segment - the "Small Premium Utility." As a crossover, it artfully blends a dynamic mix of two car styles. Down below, the unmistakable, immensely capable XC pumps up its muscles creating a strong athletic body that is mated with high ground clearance and large wheels. Up top the flowing lines create the sporty charisma of a coupe.

 

"The XC60 is much more emotionally charged than most of its competitors in the segment," Says Mattin. "It is seductive and packed with thrilling contrasts. Sleek yet muscular, powerful yet agile, large yet at the same time compact. The XC60 is actually 7.9 inches shorter than the XC70."

 

Enlarged iron mark signals the right attitude

At the front the enlarged signature iron mark in the trapezoidal grille swiftly fills the rearview mirror of the car in front - a signal that Volvo's dynamic future has arrived. "The classic iron mark now gets the role it deserves - bold and packed with self-confidence," Says Mattin. "It is precisely this attitude that Volvo's brand name should have."

 

The XC60 previews Volvo's new face, with attitude and strength filled with expression and personality. The contours of the headlamps and the taut rearward flow of the fenders emphasize the hood's classic V-profile giving the front a wedge-shaped stance. "The expression ‘the eyes are the mirror of the soul' is an excellent description of the headlamps' role," says Mattin. "The eyes reveal more about your personality than any other facial expression."

 

The sculpted, seductive lines are evident when the XC60 is viewed from the side. The car's shoulders are exceptionally broad. Towards the front they're strengthened by a sculptural undercut. When it comes to the rear fenders, Mattin resorts to the sensually loaded adjective "voluptuous."

 

The large wheels, bold wheel arches and the darker shade of the body's lower section further enhance the muscular XC feel. And the dynamic, flowing lines of the XC60's greenhouse combined with its daring roof contour impart a sporty coupe feel to the upper part of the car.

 

Distinctive new light configuration at the rear

At the rear the muscular shoulders are emphasized by the characteristic LED lights set into the tail lamps. For the first time in a Volvo, the rear position lights also serve as brake lights. The full shape of the shoulder lights up when braking, giving the XC60 an even stronger, more distinctive look.

 

The third brake light becomes a sculptural part of the roof spoiler. On the tailgate, the Volvo badge appears in bolder, more widely spaced letters. To strengthen its crossover character the XC60 is available with a scuff plate for the rocker panels plus front and rear skid-plates that are integrated into the bumpers. "Another new feature is that the roof rails have actually been integrated into the roof," says Mattin. "This gives the car an unusually low and broad stance for a crossover."

 

Interior focuses on the driver

The new XC60 is packed with energy on the inside too. All the passengers sit comfortably in the newly designed seats, yet it's obvious that the driver is in charge. The characteristic slim center stack gains a fresh design with a new integrated monitor screen that's angled slightly towards the driver.

 

"You should feel like a pilot at the controls of a business jet, with all your passengers sitting in First Class," Says Jonathan Disley, head of interior design for the new Volvo XC60. "You are seated in comfort, surrounded by ergonomically designed instruments and you really feel that you are on top of the traffic situation around you. The XC60 has more intelligent safety systems than any previous Volvo. That's why I want the entire driver's environment to radiate a high-tech feel."

 

The interior also has been designed so every detail looks like it's in motion. Disley and his team have created this sense of energy by blending together a theme that can be called "thick-to-thin" which adds drama and excitement. "The recurrent asymmetrical look gives the interior a self-assured attitude, brimming with self-confidence," says Disley. "This feeling is reinforced by the well thought-out mix of contrasting materials, such as soft, warm, dark panels and hard, cold aluminum inserts."

 

Unique seats with X-theme

The stitched seams of the unique, sculpted XC60 seats have a pronounced X-theme.

"Cross Country, Cross City or Cross Over - choose the interpretation that suits you best," says Disley.

 

The curvature of the forward edge of the rear seat cushion has been designed for easier entry and exit. The rear seat is also somewhat higher than the front seats to give its occupants a better view. The two outboard seats can be specified with the same two-stage child booster cushions that were introduced in the Volvo V70 and XC70 in 2007.

 

The seats are available in a wide variety of colors and materials. "Choosing color and trim is about expressing your personality, so we have developed a rich palate of attributes that customers with a taste for individuality can select," says Anders Sachs, program chief designer color and trim for the XC60.

 

The color and trim range includes a number of contrasting combinations. The highlight color for the XC60 a new shade of green dubbed Lemon Green. "This color is designed to be seen - it has lots of attitude," Says Sachs. "The unique asymmetrical center console with its silk metal frame is finished in brushed aluminum but it is also available in two wood alternatives. One is high gloss while the other is a matte wood finish, emphasizing the authenticity of the material and our Scandinavian heritage."

 

On the exterior, there are two new metallic colors; Terra Bronze and Lime Green Grass.

 

Panorama roof creates space and light

Whether the customer chooses a black interior or spices it up with Lemon Green, the overall impression is one of space and light - thanks largely to the new laminated glass panorama roof.

 

The tailgate opening is the widest in the segment while the luggage capacity measures 16.9 cubic feet with the rear seat up.. As in the V70 and XC70, the rear seat is a three-piece 40/20/40 split/fold unit. Each section folds down easily to create a totally flat luggage platform for maximum flexibility.

 

World-class audio system

The world-class audio system is part of the first class experience inside the new XC60. It comes in three levels. The highest level, Premium Sound, features 12 Dynaudio loudspeakers and an amplifier with Dolby® Pro Logic® II Surround delivering 650 watts. An optional digital subwoofer under the floor in the load compartment provides an additional 260 watts. The sound can be optimized to suit three different situations - driver's seat, both front seats and the rear seat.

 

The two highest levels of the audio system enable MP3 and WMA-format CDs to be played, which means that the CD changer can store several hundred tracks. All audio levels provide an auxiliary (AUX) input for connecting the owner's own equipment, such as a portable MP3 player. A USB port (on the two highest levels) makes it possible to plug in an iPodor MP3 player.

 

Clean Zone Interior for added comfort

In order to give allergy sufferers an even better in-car climate, the new Volvo XC60 can be equipped with Clean Zone Interior, a system that's based on ECC (Electronic Climate Control) and IAQS (Interior Air Quality System).

 

When the car is unlocked with the remote control, the passenger compartment is automatically ventilated for about a minute if the outdoor temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean Zone Interior has been recommended by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association. The interior trim materials and other details have also been selected to emit minimum levels of dangerous substances.

 

The new XC60 is the first Volvo that meets the coming European Union standard when it comes to type approval regarding reusability, recyclability and recoverability.

 

New interpretation of Volvo's DNA

All told, the Volvo XC60 points the way towards Volvos' future. "In order to be perceived as premium, we have to dare to be seen clearly," says Mattin. "Turning up the cars' visual volume has been one of my biggest goals since I came to Volvo. And with the XC60 we have taken a major step forward."

 

 

Keywords:
Volvo XC60, Auto Shows, Special Interests, Design, 2009
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