The new Volvo XC60 is stepping boldly into what is currently the automotive world’s fastest-growing segment – dressed in a thrilling blend of muscular XC capability and the sporty charisma of a coupe.

“This is not only the safest Volvo ever. If you ask me, it’s also the most stunning. Not a bad combination, is it?” says Volvo Cars President and CEO Fredrik Arp. The new XC60 has its international debut at the Geneva Motor Show today, with the first cars reaching dealers in Europe in autumn 2008.

The ‘Small Premium Utility’ segment is growing quickly. Within the next few years, buyers will have at least 10 crossover models to choose between. By 2009, this segment is expected to expand by 75 percent to 443,000 cars.

“In order to succeed in that kind of competition, you have to stick your chin out and create a car that stands out from the crowd. The new XC60 bases its unique appeal on the synthesis between daringly sporty design and a range of intelligent safety systems that help the driver avoid accidents,” explains Fredrik Arp.

The big safety news is City Safety – a unique feature that can help the driver avoid or reduce the effects of the type of low-speed impacts that are common in city traffic and traffic tailbacks. If the car is about to drive into the vehicle in front and the driver does not react, the car brakes itself.

“We are the first manufacturer in the world to offer this type of feature as standard. City Safety clearly advertises that the new XC60 is the safest car Volvo has ever produced. The car is packed with our accumulated safety know-how and technology, both when it comes to preventing accidents and protecting all the occupants in a collision,” says Fredrik Arp.

Six-cylinder turbo – and two turbo diesels

The new XC60 will initially be available with the six-cylinder turbocharged T6 engine producing 285 horsepower and two five-cylinder turbodiesels: the D5 producing 185 and the 2.4D with 163 horsepower. All Wheel Drive (AWD) with Instant Traction is fitted as standard on all variants.

“Owing to its compact dimensions – the XC60 is 20 cm shorter than the XC70 and lower than the XC90 – it continues our range of slimmed-down car models with high energy efficiency. During 2009, we will offer a front-wheel driven 2.4-litre version powered by a Euro 5 diesel engine producing 163 horsepower and with a CO2 target around 170 g/km,” reveals Fredrik Arp.

The chassis setting is aggressively sporty without losing anything in terms of comfort. Sitting behind the wheel of the new XC60 is in other words more of a driving experience, while the larger Volvo XC90 focuses more on providing a ride experience.

Target group with high demands on technology

The XC60 project has its sights set on a target group that imposes high demands on design, brand integrity and high-tech content in its choice of lifestyle products.

Tongue in cheek, one might say that it’s all about consumers who’ve grown up with the microchip as a natural supplement to their breakfast cereal. They’re used to the immensely fast pace of development in the world of electronics – and every succeeding birthday has brought with it increased capacity in ever-shrinking gift packages.

When it comes to the choice of car, these consumers adopt the same view as they do for other lifecycle products, that is to say all the properties should preferably be integrated into one single attractive and intelligent package.

“One might say that this could be the C30 owner’s next car. It’s as sporty and exciting, but way more capable. An all-round car for the person who lives single in the city and for the young family taking the kids for a weekend of fun and adventure,” relates Fredrik Arp. He adds:

“We’re aiming primarily at lifestyle rather than age. With the XC60 we are broadening our model range to attract even more customers with an active urban lifestyle. Like the Volvo C30, the XC60 plays an important role in our planned volume expansion strategy.”

Equal allocation to Europe and North America

The sales target for the new XC60 is over 50,000 cars per year. Distribution between Europe and North America is unusually uniform: about 40 percent each. The remaining 20 percent is destined for the rest of the world.

The five largest markets during peak year 2010 will be the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and China.

“This car has a natural appeal in North America. Here in Europe it is the sporty personality in combination with the compact format that attracts new buyers, primarily women. The XC60 offers a feeling of space even though it is about 20 centimetres shorter than the XC70,” explains Fredrik Arp, and adds:

“The fact that both China and Russia are among the five largest XC60 markets is proof that these growing markets are now beginning to be really large. Both markets will now advance even higher up the sales league in the future.”

The Volvo XC60 will be built at the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium. Sales will start in Europe during the second half of 2008, while sales in North America will get under way in early 2009.

Sporty chassis setting with high comfort

With the new Volvo XC60, Volvo Cars takes yet another step in offering cars that are fun to drive yet comfortable to ride in. The compact format and the precise road attributes mean the new Volvo XC60 can make its way equally elegantly both on city Tarmac and along country lanes.

“The new Volvo XC60 is designed for customers who impose high demands on the driving experience. Irrespective of whether the car is used in the city, on the motorway or to negotiate tight curves in country lanes. That is why we have focused on finding exactly the right balance between sportiness and comfort, for the chassis and for the car as a whole,” says Lars Blenwall, project director for the new Volvo XC60.

The new Volvo XC60 is sturdily built to handle all operating conditions. The body has extra torsional rigidity (20 kNm/deg) and the sporty chassis setup means the car is precisely controlled and minimises roll tendencies even in demanding driving situations. Weight is optimally distributed between the front and rear axles, which contributes to good balance and traction. The transversely installed engine and Volvo’s All Wheel Drive with Instant TractionTM from Haldex reinforce the control and smoothness.

Large 17- or 18-inch wheels as standard (19 inches optional) and 230 mm of ground clearance mean the Volvo XC60 is capable of making its way in terrain that is impossible for a conventional passenger car. The rear suspension ensures good comfort and road contact even when the going gets rough. The MacPherson front suspension and broad track also contribute to excellent directional stability.

“The car handles sharply and behaves exactly as you would expect whatever the situation. It promotes a feeling of safety and control. But also of relaxed comfort,” comments Lars Blenwall.

The Volvo XC60 offers a very high level of active safety. Apart from Volvo’s All Wheel Drive with Instant TractionTM there is a further developed stability-enhancement function, DSTC, which is fitted as standard. In addition there is a wide range of optional functions, including the all-new Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) which offers unbeatable control when towing a trailer.

The braking system in the Volvo XC60 is based on the system used in the Volvo XC90. The powerful brakes in combination with the lower weight of the smaller car means that braking performance is very good indeed.

Engine performance too is of the highest level. At introduction, the Volvo XC60 will be available with a turbocharged 3-litre high-efficiency in-line six producing 285 hp/400 Nm, as well as two powerful and economical 5-cylinder diesel engines.

During 2009, a front-wheel driven 2.4-litre version powered by a Euro 5 diesel engine producing 163 horsepower and with a CO2 target around 170 g/km, will follow.

Four-wheel drive for perfect grip

The Volvo XC60 is equipped as standard with Volvo’s All Wheel Drive with Instant TractionTM to guarantee the best possible road grip whatever the situation. With the help of an electronically controlled clutch, the AWD system automatically distributes drive between the front and rear wheels. The Instant Traction function shifts power from the front to the rear wheels at lightning speed, for instance when starting from standstill on slippery or loose surfaces.

Further developed DSTC function

Volvo’s DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) function has been further developed in the new Volvo XC60 in order to help provide even more stable driving. DSTC registers deviations between the driver’s intended direction and the car’s actual direction. As a complement, the further developed DSTC function registers the car’s roll rate as well, giving the opportunity to detect slowly built-up skids. This may occur if the driver suddenly releases the accelerator pedal while steering, for instance when leaving a highway slightly too late. By measuring the roll rate, the DSTC function is able to start the regulation at an earlier stage – and with greater precision. This is highly noticeable in dynamic driving where the car is exposed to high lateral forces.

New Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) offers improved control when towing a trailer

The purpose of the new Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) function is to dampen the oscillation tendencies that can arise when towing a trailer or caravan. In certain conditions, the rig runs the risk of swaying from side to side or ‘snaking’ and it can be difficult for the driver to control this movement. TSA steps in and together with the further developed DSTC function helps stabilise the car and trailer by braking one or more wheels as necessary while at the same time reducing the engine’s torque. TSA operates on all road surfaces and can be specified as a separate active-safety option when purchasing a tow-bar.

RSC helps prevent roll-overs

The XC60 is also equipped with Roll Stability Control (RSC) as standard. RSC is an active stability-enhancement system. If the system assesses that there is a considerable risk of a roll-over, the engine’s torque is reduced and some braking power is directed to one or more wheels to help counter any tendency to roll over.

HDC gives added control downhill

Hill Descent Control (HDC) is Volvo’s sophisticated technology for assisting slow progress in first gear when driving on steep gradients, and it is available as an option on the new Volvo XC60. Using the car’s braking system and engine torque, HDC controls the car’s speed and maintains a steady crawling speed. This leaves the driver free to focus solely on steering safely. HDC is activated via a button on the instrument panel. The driver can at any time take over by pressing either the accelerator or brake pedal. Once another gear is selected, HDC is automatically disengaged. All changes take place smoothly and gently.

Active chassis with Four-C and three distinct characteristics

The Four-C option makes the Volvo XC60 extra comfortable. Especially on somewhat poorer roads. Volvo’s Four-C is an advanced, self-regulating chassis system that uses a number of sensors to continuously monitor the car’s behaviour. The dampers are adjusted to suit the current driving conditions in mere fractions of a second. The three chassis settings, Comfort, Advanced and Sport, allow the driver to adapt the chassis to suit road conditions at the touch of a button.

Three-level speed-sensitive power steering

Speed-dependent power steering is an option on the new Volvo XC60. The system allocates more servo assistance at lower speeds, for instance to make steering easier when parking. Servo assistance is reduced as speed rises in order to give the driver the most optimal road feel. The level of servo assistance can be adjusted via a menu in the car’s information system to comply with the individual wishes of the customer. There are three levels to choose between.

Turbocharged petrol engine with top performance

The T6 petrol engine that is available in all of Volvo’s large cars as of model year 2008 is based on Volvo’s compact 3.2-litre in-line six, an all-aluminium engine that was introduced in the new Volvo S80 in 2006.

The turbo version, with a displacement of 3.0 litres, delivers 210 kW (285 hp) with torque of no less than 400 Nm. Maximum torque is available from just 1500 rpm and remains on tap throughout the rev range. The result is swift acceleration and smooth driving properties.

The turbo version has a somewhat smaller displacement owing to its slightly smaller bore and shorter stroke. However, this is compensated by the turbocharger which in this engine takes in exhaust gases in two phases. The inlet side has been divided into two sections of three cylinders each using what is known as twin-scroll technology. The twin-scroll approach makes for a simpler, more compact turbocharger that provides very fast response, fully on a par with the power delivered by twin turbochargers.

The T6 engine is perfect for sporty driving. At the same time it has been programmed to provide the highest possible power with the lowest possible fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. With four-wheel drive – AWD – the engine is used most optimally since maximum power is transmitted onto the road surface.

Like all other Volvo models, the new Volvo XC60 has a transverse driveline. Transverse installation gives the engine more space under the bonnet and helps reduce the risk of penetration into the passenger compartment in the event of a frontal collision.

Energy-efficient turbodiesel from the second D5 generation

At introduction, the new Volvo XC60 will also be available with a choice of two five-cylinder turbodiesels: the D5 producing 185 hp and the 2.4D with 163 hp. The D5 is a very powerful and easy to drive turbodiesel that offers a massive 400 Nm of torque all the way across a particularly wide rev range. The D5 engine features an electronically controlled turbocharger, advanced multipoint injection technology and a very powerful engine management system.

Both diesel engines feature four-valve technology with twin overhead camshafts, which contributes to swift response and good high-speed properties.

A maintenance-free particle filter that traps about 95 percent of soot particles is fitted as standard in both engines, making them very environmentally suitable.

Six-speed Geartronic

The engines in the new Volvo XC60 are mated to a six-speed gearbox, either manual or automatic with Geartronic. The transmission has been dimensioned to handle the immense output of the T6 and Volvo’s powerful diesel engines. Sixth gear is a pure overdrive ratio and offers relaxed, economical cruising. The T6 version also has a sport mode. Geartronic makes it possible to change gears manually should the driver prefer a sportier driving style or if he or she wants to hold on to a specific gear.