NEW YORK—The 2011 Volvo S60 made its debut today at the New York International Auto Show with interesting words from Doug Speck, president, Volvo North America. He said the “all-new naughty Volvo S60” is going to create a “headache” among the luxury sedan market. Apparently, Volvo is hoping to recreate itself as a company with an edge.
Chief among the new features on the S60, which hits North America in the fall, is its pedestrian detection with full autobrake. An improvement on the laser-based City Safety system that debuted last year on the XC60 crossover, this system senses pedestrian movement and will automatically stop the S60, with a loud warning tone to the driver, at speeds up to 22 mph. Previously, a full stop could only be achieved up to 9 mph.
“At higher speeds, the focus is on to reduce speed as much as possible to avoid fatalities,” Speck said, citing a 2007 NHTSA study that reported nearly 4,700 pedestrians killed each year on U.S. roads, about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities. The company, in its utopian vision of an accident-free future, has said it would work to convince insurance companies to reduce premiums on Volvo cars equipped with such systems.
It's not all safety in the S60. Peter Horbury, Volvo vice president of design, said the sedan is “sculpted to move you.” He could mean that literally with its T6 turbo producing 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Corner traction control will reduce understeer. The steering ratio has been improved 10 percent and rear-seat passengers get needed knee space.
No pricing information was given. Volvo hopes to sell between 20,000 to 30,000 S60s annually.
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