Volvo S60

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Volvo S60

The next-generation Volvo S60 saloon is still a year away from production, but this concept car gives the first serious hints about how the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class challenger will look.

In true concept car style, the S60 concept blends design features that are unlikely to make it to production with more real-world technology that you can expect to see in the new car.

Viking ship silhouettes in the headlamps, electric doors that open at the push of a button away from the car's body and a crystal-covered floating central stack fall into the first category.

So, too, does the ponytail holder cut into the headrests, which has been seen before on Volvo concept cars but which, thankfully, has yet to make production.

However, new safety technology to protect pedestrians is much more likely to reach the production S60.

The safety innovation is designed to detect pedestrians who step into the path of the car, automatically activating the brakes if the driver fails to respond. Its a development of the system already on sale in the XC60, which guards against low speed rear end impacts.

Other safety features on the concept car include adaptive cruise control, which keeps the car a set distance from the vehicle ahead of it at all times, and a collision warning system that can brake the car to a complete stop to avoid an accident.

The concept car also has a number of features designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions, starting with the car's 180bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine.

To boost economy it has stop-start, a double-clutch sequential gearbox, a flat underbody and a system that injects the fuel directly into the combustion chamber under pressure, and Volvo says emissions will be less than 120g/km.

The new engine will be introduced into Volvos towards the end of next year.