By on November 11, 2009

Seems... familiar

Customers in this segment want emotional appeal, sporty design and dynamic driving properties. The S60 has it all. We are convinced that it will be one of the strongest contenders around

Volvo CEO Stephen Odell explains in the press release for the new S60 why people who buy 3 Series sedans don’t cross-shop Volvo… and why he wants to expand his brand so that someday they might. But leaving aside the sad fact that every luxury brand wants to build “the new 3 Series,” we’re having a hard time figuring this move out. Considering that Volvo is about to get a Chinese-style upscale overhaul, expect the “dynamic driving properties” part of the “what does Volvo stand for this week” exercise to fall off the radar with haste. And really, Volvo makes a lot more sense as a Euro-tinged, safety-forward alternative to Lexus and (in China) Buick than a BMW wannabe.

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27 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: BMW By Volvo Edition...”

  • avatar

    Looks good. I don’t see a BMW, but it will sell if priced right.

    Unless Ford absolutely need the cash, it’s making a mistake getting out of Volvo while the brand is at a low point. They certainly did not sell Jag and LR at the right time.

  • avatar

    When it’s available in RWD, 3.0l 6 cylinder engine and manual transmission I may consider it. Until then, the 3 Series has no competition (at least not from Volvo).

  • avatar

    Actually I don’t get what’s all the fuzz about. 
    I do like the car and think it could be (if it has AWD) a nice alternative to a legacy. BTW I also don´t see a BMW 

  • avatar

    On the other hand the grille does look like the one of the P1800

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    twotone, actually, it will get a manual transmission, the 3.0L twin-scroll turbo I6 and AWD. Only problem worth noting is that in the US we probably won’t see the manual.

  • avatar

    I see more Opel Insignia than BMW 3 series there. The Insignia and that car both look good.
    FWD weight distribution, FWD and AWD means no BMW dinamics. /discussion
    He may say all that he wants.

  • avatar

    To me it’s the generic-cliched-look sported by small sedans now.  For Volvo its complimentary,  at least they’re joining the other car builders.  AWD or dare I say RWD (that’s too much to ask), will make the new S60 more contemporary to the competition and bring in more interest to the Volvo brand.

  • avatar

    Count me in on “don’t see a BMW”.
    Looks good – I hope they bring out a new S60R and don’t price it to the moon this time.

  • avatar

    There won’t be a RWD model, most buyers will want AWD, to save money FWD is fine for 99% of drivers.  Manuals will be hard to find, special order likely.  It looks OK, I am concerned about the trend of making the grille also the bumper.  Looks expensive to replace.  But then designers don’t live in the real world, and I think not a one has ever had to wash the cars they design.

  • avatar

    The appeal of a BMW isn’t its appearance (e.g., look at the present line-up!), but rather the way it drives.  All BMWs have nearly 50/50 weight distribution, and, wait for it, REAR WHEEL DRIVE.  Furthermore, you can get them (and should!) with manual transmissions.  They are first and foremost driver’s cars.   Dangling an engine in front of the front wheels will never result in a satisfying driving experience, whether you then proceed to drive the rear wheels along with the front or not.  (Audi builds exciting cars, but they too have this fatal flaw.)  If Volvo wants to compete for the 3 series driver, they must start with an appropriate platform.

    • 0 avatar

      On the contrary, the appeal of a BMW is the prestige of having a car with equal parts style, luxury, exclusivity and capability. Most 3-series sedan drivers I see are middle aged women who have an automatic and probably don’t know, let alone care, which wheels are driven. BMW have honed this appeal through decades of careful refinement and marketing, and despite Mr.Bangle and the 1-series’ attempts to destroy at least one attribute each they will not be usurped by Volvo in a single model iteration.
      When any company claims to have the “new 3-series” the car fanatics in us assume they are always trying to compete on driving dynamics, but in reality they are vying to dethrone the 3-series as the default choice for car buyers in the lucrative “entry level premium” category.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Most 3-series drivers I see are people who have to drive a lot for work and therefore have a 320d wagon. It’s not so much the prestige, it is the way BMWs just feel right, and if you drive a lot that’s a plus.

  • avatar

    sitting@home, I’m afraid you are quite wrong. You have mistaken cause for effect.   BMW’s comeback from post-war obscurity with the Neue Klasse sedans (1600, 2002, etc) has been based on driving dynamics.  It was the 2002 in particular that put BMW on the map and introduced to the world the genre of ‘sport sedan’.  It was called a giant killer, as it was light, powerful, and nimble, and could run circles around muscle cars on a tight racetrack.   This trajectory was maintained by introduction of the M division, and a legacy of eminently successful touring car racing (e.g., the e30M3 is the winningest car in road racing history).  Whether every owner is capable of driving their BMW to its full potential is another question, but the reason it has achieved the level of social status you’ve indicated is not because it represents a level of social status–people who think this way will never understand German cars.  The social status comes as a result of the car’s desirability as a driving tool.   Look up any comparo in any magazine, and you’ll likely find that the BMW wins the driving dynamics portion. This isn’t a result of ‘marketing’.  Get off the couch, and go drive one–hard.  It doesn’t matter if its 30 years old, if you like cars, it will put a smile on your face.

  • avatar

    I think it looks pretty good. I agree Ford shouldnt get rid of volvo, once the economy turns around it could really be a top Euro contender against BMW, Audi, and MB

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I used to be a Volvo nut. Even had a membership in the Volvo Club of America for many years and bought several of them new. But, Volvo fired customers like me. I wanted a well built car which put function ahead of fashion. Volvo fired me, and just about all the other fans as well. Now Volvo is just another car with a swooping roof line which destroys visibility, headroom and overall practicality. Why do all of the designers think everything should pretend to be a coupe? Nobody buys coupes anymore!

  • avatar

    Its for people who want what a BMW has to offer, but wouldn’t be caught dead in a BMW.

  • avatar

    Question: Is there any way a FWD car can get 50/50 weight distribution?

  • avatar

    It’s an attractive-looking sedan, but so is the new Saab 9-5 and the new Buicks.  Considering that Volvo’s competitors are Acura, Audi, Saab, and Subaru, they need to price this right.

  • avatar

    C’mon everyone!  This thing has the swage line of a Hyundai Elantra.  Here’s the link to that:
    So…it looks “down market” to  me….cheap-ish.

  • avatar

    “On the contrary, the appeal of a BMW is the prestige of having a car with equal parts style, luxury, exclusivity and capability. Most 3-series sedan drivers I see are middle aged women who have an automatic and probably don’t know, let alone care, which wheels are driven.”
    Totally wrong.
    BMW is one of the most male dominated brand in the car business.
    BMW has an negative image problem in my country.
    They´re the favorite brand of young immigrants.
    If a Swede buys a BMW, he does it despite the image, not as a status symbol.

  • avatar

    I like the protruding snouts…

  • avatar

    I agree that now is not the time to sell Volvo – the brand can only go up as witnessed by increased sales.
    The Chinese will destroy Volvo- their idea is to increase sales through design only. Garish cars with no substance or engineering advantage.
    Ironically Volvo rejected a merger with Renault over 20 years ago because Renault was considered an inferior company that could bring nothing to Volvo.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    The brand stands for slightly different things in different geographies – as pointed out in some places BMW is a status symbol, in several others rather an embarassment. And this tends to change with time as well.
    As for Volvo, I thought the comment about Volvo firing its loyal customers was very apt. Many aspects of the cars have suffered from Volvo trying to be a BMW, and to be honest, I cannot see any developments that made things better to compensate. Driving dynamics are still pretty poor, compared to the rest of the competition, while the durability, interior quality, ergonmics and pace utilisation have consistently taken small steps back, rather than forward.

  • avatar

    This always bothered the hell out of me…

    People who bought 240s, and 7/960s.. were decent looking cars that were different.
    Id like to know..  why a reputable and swedish car maker.. that makes a standard Swedish domestic vehicle.. would want to throw that away and go after the germans for luxo and extra equipment? What is / was  wrong with just building those old 240s, 7/940s?

    Now VOLVO is trying to go after BMW / MB. (Actually.. they HAVE been going after zee germans for quite a long time.)

    Then again…
    Id also like to know.. what BMW / MB actually have over a Volvo? I actually have a slight fondness for the C30 and or a R sport model of any sedan / wagon that Volvo makes.

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