Set to challenge standards of ride and handling and driver enjoyment in the compact executive saloon market, the stunning S60 makes its world debut at the Paris motor show in September.

Following the launch of the acclaimed Volvo V70 earlier this year, Volvo plans to repeat this success in the saloon market with its new S60 which will go head to head with the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-class and Lexus IS200.

Its dynamic ability is combined with sleek styling, proven top-class engines and excellent specification levels to ensure the S60 is one of the best all-round packages available in the compact executive saloon market.

S60 Styling

Combining sporty good looks with practical everyday needs, the low sloping roofline echoes that of the C70 Coupé while the new Volvo family identity is immediately obvious. The dark 'egg-crate' grille, pronounced shoulders, short rear overhang, large tail lamps and distinctively shaped boot, mean that the stylish S60 could never be mistaken for anything other than a new Volvo.

"With the Volvo S60, we believe we have succeeded in combining the classic elements of Volvo design with a strong sporty influence in a very efficient package. And on top of all that it is safe, roomy and practical too," said Volvo's Design Director Peter Horbury.

"With the S60 we wanted to create a piece of sculpture, a dynamic work that looks like it's moving even when it's standing still," he added.

Despite those coupe-like lines, the S60's rear seat is much more spacious than appearances suggest and easily capable of accommodating fully-grown adults in comfort.

Engines and transmissions

The promises made by the S60's stylish and sporting exterior are more than fulfilled by a powerful and wide-ranging engine line-up.

Using proven engine technology from other models in the Volvo range, the S60 will be powered exclusively by turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engines. The entry-level model is driven by a 180bhp 2.0-litre turbo unit capable of 0 to 62mph in 8.8 seconds and a 140mph top speed.

A 200bhp 2.4-litre light-pressure turbo model sits in the middle of the three-tier range, while the flagship T5 boasts a 2.3-litre, 250bhp engine with a substantial 330Nm (243lb ft) of torque and capable of 155mph.

All three engines are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while there is also an optional five-speed automatic or the Volvo sequential Geartronic system.

The new S60 shares its suspension layout with the other larger Volvo models featuring MacPherson struts with lower wishbones at the front and Volvo's independent multi-link suspension at the rear. Exceptional torsional stiffness, the widest track in its class and Stability Traction Control as standard mean the car should always behave in the way the driver needs it to.

S60 package

The strong appeal of the S60's package is completed with the knowledge that, like all Volvos, levels of safety and luxury equipment are second to none.

Dual-stage airbags for driver and passenger, SIPS and SIPS airbags, Volvo's WHIPS (whiplash protection system), Inflatable Curtain and five three-point seat belts are among the numerous safety measures standard on all S60 models.

Joining Volvo's saloon line-up, the S60 fits between the S40 and S80 and goes on sale in the UK in October. Prices start from £20,650 for the entry-level 2.0T S, rising to £26,550 for the flagship T5 SE.