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Volvo wants us to know what kinds of new technology will be under the sheetmetal of the offerings that will sit on its Scalable Platform Architecture, the first of which will be included on the 2015 Volvo XC90 arriving at the end of next year. The silicon-chip onslaught starts with detection and auto braking for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. The company's animal detection tech now works at night thanks to better cameras and exposure controls.
Also due for the high-riding wagon are road edge and barrier detection with steer assist, a setup that identifies the edge of the road - even ones without markings. The system can steer the car back into its lane if it detects the driver is about to leave the road or collide with a barrier. Adaptive cruise control with steer assist allows the car to not only follow the flow of traffic on a straight road, but steer itself automatically.
Beyond that, the company is planning on other safety advances, but these will rely on automaker cooperation and infrastructure upgrades. Volvo has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium on the subject of standards for communication between cars and wants to have it implemented by 2016. Sensors in traffic lights will enable Green Light Optimum Speed Advisory, which tells a driver how fast to go on a give stretch of road so as not to hit a red light. Weather, road condition, road works and emergency vehicle warnings will also inform drivers of new developments on the road. And autonomous parking, which Volvo has already demonstrated, stands to put a lot of valets out of work since it allows the car to find its own parking space without a driver inside.
Volvo went through some doldrums around the same time it was bought by Geely, but it proved that it was back when it unveiled the P1800-inpsired Concept Coupe last August at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It followed up with the sleek Concept XC Coupe crossover (pictured above) in Detroit that echoed the next-generation XC90. Now, the Swede is readying one more concept to bring the trilogy to an end, and act as the centerpiece of its display at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
There are no images of the new concept yet, not even a teaser, but Volvo says that like the other two, it's designed by Thomas Ingenlath and shares common design elements. Since it has already imagined a future coupe and crossover, maybe the concept is a sedan. Volvo has confirmed that it rides on the modular Scalable Product Architecture platform that is being used on multiple future production models and uses its new Drive-E four-cylinder engine family.
The Concept Coupe and Concept XC Coupe will be on display with the new concept in Geneva so that visitors can get a complete idea of Volvo's future. Hopefully, the company has finally righted the course and is ready to compete on the world stage again. Scroll down to read Volvo's few details about the new concept.
For those not paying attention, Volvo has updated its S60 sedan range for 2015 with a new range of engines under the Drive-E label. Wearing the same T5 and T6 badges to note the relative levels of power under the hood, both engines are 2.0-liter four-cylinders, with the lesser being turbocharged and the greater being both supercharged and turbocharged.
Both Drive-E variants are currently only available in front-wheel-drive flavor, though Volvo will still happily sell you an S60 T5 AWD with the older 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder, or a top-of-the-line S60 T6 with a turbo'd 3.0-liter six-cylinder and all the wheels turning.
The car I drove for a week is perhaps the most balanced version of the S60 range, with that exotic sounding twin-charged 2.0-liter mill planted happily in the attractively sloping nose. Provided you're not hung up on front-drive dynamics, the T6 Drive-E might be a solid candidate for your next premium small sedan shopping list, as well.