Measuring up to the competition

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Measuring up to the competition

The S60 has always been a bit of an oddball among premium small saloons because it never quite conformed in size, and that continues with the new model.

It's a fair bit longer than the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, although it doesn't run to the lengths of the Audi A4.

The current model has been around for a decade an age in modern car life-cycles. It was the work of Brit Peter Horbury, and it played a major role in Volvo's shift away from cars that seemed to have been shaped by set-square.

Volvo's four-door coupe
Horbury is now back at Volvo as design director after a spell with Ford, although he arrived too late to influence the S60. The man responsible for the exterior is Orjan Sterner, who says his aim was to make it into 'a four-door coupe', with flowing lines and a bolder approach than with any previous Volvo.

Similar themes characterise UK-born Jonathan Disley's driver-focused interior. It's all meant to echo a race circuit, with a series of sweeps that bring you back to where you began.

Simple, clean and functional are words often associated with Scandinavian design, and they pretty well sum up the S60. There's still some lovely detailing, though, especially in the external light units and cabin trim shapes. The textures and colour schemes also ensure that the ambience is suitably upmarket.