16 December 2008

Pleasure boat

Volvo’s S60 concept has hidden Viking longships. But where are they?

Volvo S60 concept

Let’s play a festive game of ‘Spot the Viking Longboats’. Really. There are four in this picture. OK, you can only see two of them, but they’re there. They are.

Found ‘em yet? No? They’re in the headlights of this, the Volvo S60 concept, apparently. Not actual longships, as far as we know. But, according to Volvo’s press spiel at least, 'the lights create a silhouette of two miniature Viking longboats sailing side by side'.

It’s a proper daft concept, then, set to be unveiled at the Detroit show in January as a forerunner to the production S60, which will arrive in 2010 a full decade after the original, unchanged S60. That’s a long time in the world of cars, and should bring Volvo’s saloon up to fighting weight with the BMW 3-Series and Merc C-Class.

Not that we’d expect the production version to feature a ‘floating centre stack made out of handmade, solid Orrefors crystal’, or a ‘designed as a three-dimensional glass spiral’. And hopefully it won’t be quite so, er, brown.

But it should get some of the green tech featured on the S60 concept, which has a 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine with dual-clutch gearbox, a stop-start system and a clever self-adjusting grille shutter, which closes to reduce air drag when the engine is cool enough.

Naturally there’s tons of Volvo-spec safety equipment, but – more importantly – it looks pretty decent, doesn’t it? OK, so the pillarless window line and slick door handles won’t survive, but we’ve got high hopes for the S60… Viking longboats and all.

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