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by Tim Beissmann

Update: Volvo S60 Review.

Few Volvos have ever been designed to appeal emotionally to their drivers, but according to the stereotypically safety-first Scandinavians responsible for the all-new Volvo S60, it is like few other Volvos.

To be unveiled officially at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the S60 saloon promises to combine world-leading safety with innovative technologies, sporting design and dynamic driving properties.

Starting there, the S60 will be launched with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, with three more petrols and another diesel to be added within the first year of production.

The petrol variants will start with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder T3 which produces 110kW and 240Nm.

Becoming the first Volvo to offer the 2.0-litre GDTi (direct injection turbo) engine, the 149kW/300Nm units takes the S60 from 0-100km/h in as few as 7.7 seconds while using just 7.9 litres/100km on a combined cycle.

Performance from the top-spec 3.0-litre six-cylinder T6 has increased to 224kW/440Nm, managing the sprint in 6.5secs while fuel use is down 10 percent to 10.2.

Diesel options peak at the 2.4-litre five-cylinder D5 which makes 151kW and 420Nm for fuel consumptions figures of 5.9 litres/100km. The 85kW/270Nm 1.6 D DRIVe is the green hero, requiring just 4.3 litres to travel 100km and emitting just 11.5kg of CO2 along the way.

It is still a Volvo, however, which means the features in this next part will probably work even better.

Volvo claims the S60 will become the world’s first sedan to feature Advanced Stability Control, which combines dynamic stability and traction control with a new roll angle sensor to identify skidding at an earlier stage and step in with greater precision when required. Corner traction control also keeps the car flatter in the bends and reduces understeer.

Pedestrian detection warns the driver of people (or similarly shaped objects) that move out in front of the car and automatically applies full braking power if the driver does not respond in time. At speeds below 35km/h it will prevent an impact, while at higher speeds the focus is on slowing the vehicle as much as possible.

City Safety works in a similar fashion, automatically applying the brakes at speeds of up to 30km/h to avoid nose-to-tail traffic accidents.

Volvo plans to sell 90,000 S60s each year, with deliveries beginning out of its Ghent, Belgium, plant early in the European summer.

The new Volvo S60 will be launched in Australia at the end of 2010 with final specifications and pricing to be announced closer to its launch.