Who says you can't buy BLIS?
The Blind Spot Information System, Volvo‘s new safety innovation, is optional on the 2005 S60 sedan and V70/XC70 wagons. But more on this latest acronymic addition to the automotive vernacular after a look at what else Volvo has massaged on its midsize lineup.
Changes for 2005 include noticeable appearance refinements plus an increase in performance and handling. For the S60 sedan and V70 wagon, contrasting side trim and lower valances are out, body-color pieces are in. Together with revised grilles and front/rear bumpers, the exteriors now present a more unified look. The AWD XC70 Cross Country retains its signature contrasting bumpers, wheelhouse extensions, and lower body-line areas, but gains larger skidplates front and rear.
The S60 and V70 T5 models get 10 more horsepower and 15 additional pound-feet of torque. Low-end performance benefits the most, as twist on tap is up nearly 50 pound-feet at 1800 rpm. It’s all courtesy of new variable intake-valve timing, a displacement boost from 2.3 liters to 2.4, and a new turbo borrowed from the 300-horse R models. A driver-adjustable FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) active chassis system, previously offered only on the S80 and R models, is now optional on every S60/V70/XC70.
BLIS is right in step with Volvo’s reputation for safety engineering. It’ll be available by the end of calendar-year 2004. Similar to the function of bumper-mounted parking-assist sensors, a small camera in each door mirror monitors the area to the side and rear of the car–the driver’s blind spot. Rather than feeding an image to a video screen, BLIS detects any adjacent vehicle moving within this zone and alerts the Volvo driver with a small light beside the appropriate mirror. The device is calibrated to detect other vehicles traveling within a prescribed speed range and to ignore stationary objects like parked cars and road signs. While the estimated $600 price for BLIS seems reasonable for anything that’ll facilitate safer driving, ultimately it remains up to the driver to interpret the warning and avoid collisions.
The S60 sedan, V70 wagon, and XC70 crossover wagon represent well-priced alternatives to the competitive set from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Introduced as 2001 models, these sedans and wagons now account for over a third of the Swedish maker’s sales in North America. Compared with their Teutonic rivals, the Volvos offer a slightly gentler approach to sport and a greater emphasis on ride comfort. Plus, their signature styling will appeal to those whose taste in models leans toward something Swedish and with a few more curves.