Volvo is to unveil its S60 Concept at the Detroit motor show early next month, saying it's "an indication" of what the redesigned model will look like when launched in 2010.

"The all-new S60 will be one of the strongest players in a segment where the competition is razor-sharp," claimed Volvo Cars president and CEO Stephen Odell.

The coupe-inspired lines that gave the original S60 its characteristic stance are more pronounced in this next generation.

The concept has unique rear parallelogram doors. Opening is initiated by pressing a button and the movement starts off in the traditional way. In the next phase, the forward section swings out away from the car's body and the door glides parallel with the side of the car until it reaches its end position by the rear wheel.

In each of the headlamps, the lights create a silhouette of two miniature Viking longboats sailing side by side, one for main beam and one for dipped beam. When driving in the dark, the light is reflected from the concealed, upward-facing high performance LED bulbs, projected ahead by the ships' filled sails.

When switched off, the rear lamp panels show no trace of the traditional red or yellow. But when activated, the position marker lights, brake lights and turn indicators come on in their correct colours. The solid glass panel is sectioned into horizontal 'slices'.

At the rear there is also a retractable diffuser that adjusts with vehicle speed to give better aerodynamic properties.

In the middle of the four-seater car sits the floating centre stack made out of handmade, solid Orrefors crystal.

The speedometer is designed as a three-dimensional glass spiral. The low numbers appear closest to the eye and the figures appear to be increasingly distant as the car accelerates. The idea is that the speedometer should provide a visual reminder of the forward motion.

The seats are attached to the centre console's lower section and inner sill, which means that they don't actually touch the floor. Both the seat belt and the armrest are integrated into the seat itself. The backrest's pony-tail slot, first featured in previous concept cars, has a new, slightly asymmetrical design.

The S60 Concept also has a safety innovation that can detect a pedestrian who steps out into the path of the car and the car's full braking power is automatically activated if the driver does not respond to the danger. The technology, collision warning with full auto brake and pedestrian detection, will be introduced with the redesigned production S60.

The car's speed has a significant effect on the result of a collision with a pedestrian. If speed drops from 31mph to 18mph, the chance of a pedestrian's survival increases.

"Our aim is that this new technology should help the driver avoid collisions with pedestrians at speeds below 12mph. If the car is being driven faster, the aim is to reduce the impact speed as much as possible. In most cases, we can reduce the collision force by about 75%," Volvo said.

This technology is also highly beneficial in the event of rear-end impacts with other vehicles. Studies indicate that half of all drivers who drive into another vehicle from behind do not brake prior to the collision. In such cases, collision warning with full auto brake can help entirely avoid a collision if the relative speed difference between the two vehicles is less than 15mph.

The adaptive cruise control (ACC) has been upgraded with a queue assist function.

The radar-based system maintains the set time gap to the vehicle in front all the way down to standstill, making this comfort-enhancing system usable in slow-moving queues with repeated starting and stopping.

The concept has a four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine with petrol turbocharged direct injection producing 180 horsepower.

The first production car with this 'GTDi' technology will be introduced during the second half of 2009.

First glimpse of S60 concept