2011 Volvo S60 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Although the first examples of Volvo's new-for-2011 S60 sedan won't hit North American showrooms until later this month, Autoblog has learned that the Swedish automaker will unveil a sporty new R-Design derivative at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Volvo of North America's Vice President of Public Affairs, Geno Effler confirmed the debut Thursday during a media Q&A session at this week's U.S. launch of the S60 in Portland, Oregon.

The S60 R-Design will join Volvo's growing range of performance styled models that includes the XC60, XC90, S40/V50 and C30 hatchback. Effler did not give further details regarding the hotted-up S60, but other models in the series have included rejiggered suspensions, body kits, unique wheels and a host of minor interior upgrades. It is not known if the already sharp-looking S60 will receive more than cosmetic changes in its transformation into a R-Design model, however.

At launch, the $37,700 all-wheel drive S60 will be marketed with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine good for 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, which should certainly be enough to make the R-Design interesting, even if no further powertrain upgrades are in store.

Future S60 variants are expected to include a front-drive, five-cylinder volume model that's due to hit the market early next year. Hybrid and diesel models also continue to be evaluated under Volvo's new ownership and leadership (China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and former Volkswagen bigwig Stefan Jacoby, respectively), but as of yet, nothing has been committed to for the North American market.

One model that will definitely not be available in the States is a wagon variant of the S60. With estate sales in the dumpster for the brand (Volvo once sold over 40,000 load luggers per year in the U.S. – it presently sells around 1,800 units), Effler confirmed that a V70 reprisal does not make sense for North America, though the model will continued to be offered in Europe. A replacement for the XC70 softroader based on the new S60 is widely expected to make up the shortfall, however.



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