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2011 Volvo S60 range launched in Australia

Read CarAdvice's exclusive European review of the 2011 Volvo S60.
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The all-new 2011 Volvo S60 luxury sedan has arrived in Australia ready to take on the big three Germans at their own game.

The new 3-Series/C-Class/A4 medium competitor is arguably the best looking Volvo we have ever seen in Australia, and without doubt the safest and most technologically advanced Volvo ever produced.

The S60 will be launched with a five-cylinder diesel engine and a six-cylinder petrol. The 2.4-litre twin-turbocharged D5 puts out 151kW and 420Nm of torque. Combined fuel consumption is 7.1 litres/100km and average CO2 emissions are 189g/km. The 3.0-litre turbo T6 petrol packs 224kW and 440Nm. The sprint from 0-100km/h takes just 6.1 seconds and hits a top speed of 250km/h. Fuel consumption and emissions suffer slightly, averaging 10.2 litres/100km and 243g/km CO2 respectively.

Both feature all-wheel drive and Volvo’s six-speed adaptive Geartonic transmission with neutral control.

A smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged T5 petrol engine will join the range in the first quarter of 2011. It produces 177kW of power and 320Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is tidy enough at 8.3 litres/100km while CO2 emissions come in at 193g/km. Acceleration from 0-100km/h from the front-wheel drive T5 takes 7.5 seconds.

The new S60 is equipped with a range of primary and secondary safety features. The ‘pedestrian detection with full auto brake’ function is a world-first technology. A grille-embedded radar and an interior rear-view mirror mounted camera system are specifically designed to detect pedestrians in front of the car, warn the driver, and automatically activate the brakes if the driver fails to respond in time.

The system can detect people 80cm and taller and can avoid impacts at speeds below 35km/h. Volvo says that half of all pedestrian accidents occur at speeds below 25km/h.

‘Collision warning with full auto brake’ is designed to work at higher speeds, warning the driver if they’re about to hit another vehicle and applying the brakes automatically if necessary. If the vehicle in front is too close, stationary or suddenly brakes, a red warning is displayed on the windscreen and a buzzer is sounded. The braking system is also pre-charged, with the hydraulic pressure increased and the pads moved close to the discs. If the driver does not react, automatic braking is applied to reduce the severity of the accident.

‘City Safety’ is a similar traffic monitoring system, which works under 30km/h. It uses a laser sensor to detect vehicles and objects within 6m of the front bumper, and helps to either completely avoid or reduce the severity of urban accidents.

Other safety features include: adaptive cruise control with distance alert and queue assist (a steering wheel-mounted function that automatically keeps pace in traffic), active bending lights with dual xenon technology, side impact and whiplash protection systems, driver alert control, lane departure warning, blind spot and intelligent driver information systems, emergency brake lights and a host of dual-stage airbags.

The S60’s coupe-like styling is an evolutionary leap for Volvo sedans, and combines sports styling with practicality. Inside Volvo has stuck with the ‘floating’ centre console and generally clean and simple design. The vehicle’s human interface system features a colour display screen, Bluetooth with audio streaming, navigation and mobile phone functionality, and aims to do away with the traditional vehicle instruction manual.

Volvo Car Australia managing director, Alan Desselss, described the all-new S60 as “an extremely important new car” for the marque. He said the local arm was hoping to sell around 1500 S60s in 2011 – an enormous step-up from the 48 sold in the first 10 months of 2010, which included 37 in October.

The 2011 Volvo S60 sedan is on sale now and is priced to compete directly with the medium offerings from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with the D5 starting from $57,950, the T6 from $64,950, and the T5 to start from $51,950 next year.

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