Click above for a hi-res gallery of the Volvo S60 Concept

Next month in Detroit, the Volvo S60 Concept will serve up a teaser for the 2010 production sedan that'll likely debut later in the show season. The S60 Concept demonstrates that Volvo's new sedan will ditch the rather conservative duds it currently wears in favor of a new, much more aggressive visual ensemble. Profile views show off a coupe-ish roofline, while pointed headlights extend back onto the fenders and flank a reshaped, more detailed grille up front. The concept's rear is similarly detailed, with LED taillamps that hide the various signal colors until they are actually illuminated.

Inside, the cabin is predictably heavy on the typical concept stuff -- modern-looking seats, light colors and crystalline accents -- while still hinting at the next S60's instrumentation layout. Interesting features include a shifter that's left horizontal when the car is cruising in automatic mode, but can be flipped up for a better grip when the driver wants to select gears manually. The S60 Concept has no B-pillar and features truck rear doors that open outward and slide back out of the way so that showgoers can better ogle the fancy interior. Don't expect anything of the sort to make it to production.

Safety features, as you would expect, are also prevalent. The S60 Concept gives us our first look at Volvo's Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, which will make its debut on the production car. The system uses radar, a camera, and a control unit to effectively eliminate low-speed pedestrian collisions (at speeds under 12 mph or so) and drastically reduce the force of impact in scenarios involving higher speeds. The system, which allows for full braking power to be employed in emergency, collision-imminent situations without driver input, should help cut down on rear-end crashes as well. Volvo's Active Cruise Control system has also been upgraded; it now maintains the car's distance from the vehicle ahead right down to a stop, adding low-speed functionality that was previously unavailable.

Power comes from a GTDi (gasoline turbocharged direct-injection) four-cylinder making around 179 horsepower mated to a Powershift dual-clutch gearbox. An additional suite of efficiency features, including start/stop functionality, a "DRIVe" economy mode, and various aerodynamic enhancements, helps deliver fuel economy in the neighborhood of 47mpg while keeping CO2 emissions under 120 g/km. Hopefully, all that goodness makes its way into the production car as well. Volvo says that its first car featuring GTDi "will appear in 2009." In any case, we should learn more next month when the Detroit show (or what's left of it, anyway) gets rolling.

[Source: Volvo]

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