And then there it was under the spotlights in its parent company's hall at Birmingham last month. Picture a C70 coupe, draw in a couple of extra doors, and behold, the S60. It's a dramatic creation that builds on, rather than being bolted to, C70's sexy lines to create a compact, but nicely balanced, four-door.
The new range comes with the choice of 2.0-litre (180bhp 2.0T) , 2.4-litre (200bhp 2.4T) and 2.3-litre (250bhp T5) petrol engines, each turbocharged and each five-cylinder units. Volvo's own 2.4-litre 163bhp turbodiesel will be offered from the second quarter of 2001 and bi-fuel is planned.
Specification is S and SE with optional winter, premium and communications packs and adjusted prices range from ú19,995 to ú25,795 - Lexus IS200, Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class territory.
Demonstration S60s are with dealers now and first full year volume target is 6,000 petrol, plus 600 diesel - about half that of A4 and C-class and less than a quarter of 3-series. IS200 sold more than 9,500 in the 12 months from August 1999 but is expected to level out at about 7,000 units.