Safety  - Overview - Volvo C70

Superb safety is a cornerstone of any new Volvo, and the new C70 sets the standard in the convertible class. It is full of innovative safety solutions and offers similar safety standards to a saloon of the same size.

The lack of a fixed roof stimulated Volvo's safety engineers into developing the world's first door-mounted inflatable curtain. It inflates upwards, instead of being released from the roof as in the rest of the Volvo range. The innovative curtain has an especially stiff construction to help it remain upright and provide excellent head protection, even if the window is down. It deflates slowly, to provide continuing support in a roll over.

The A-pillars are 'hydro-formed' in extra strength steel, providing even greater protection in the event of a roll-over. The pillars run all the way down to the body sills, for added strength.

To compensate for the lack of permanent B- or C-pillars, Volvo's innovative ROPS (Roll-Over Protection System) triggers metal roll-over bars that pop up behind the rear seats. Together with the strong A-pillars, they form a protective cage. The ROPS bars are also raised in the rear impact to protect rear passengers from any flying objects from the vehicle behind. WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) in the front seats reduce whiplash injuries by moving the seat to absorb some of the forces during the impact.

The want of B-pillars can also compromise side impact protection. But not on the C70. Volvo's SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) has been redesigned on the C70 using five powerful transverse floor members, reinforced diagonal door beams and strong crossmembers ahead of and behind the passenger compartment. In addition, the Volvo C70 can be fitted with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) that uses cameras mounted in the side door mirrors to register if another vehicle is in the blind spot. A warning light near the mirror alerts the driver.

The natural agility of the Volvo C70, with its fully independent suspension and front-wheel drive, also boosts safety.

The new C70 also has the usual suite of Volvo electronic primary safety features, to help avoid accidents by preventing slips, slides, traction loss, brake locking and spins. These include DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) that helps correct the car if it shows any tendency to skid, latest-generation ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and automatic EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) and the Intelligent Driver Information System that was introduced by Volvo Cars in 2003, IDIS continuously monitors certain functions in the car such as steering wheel movement, the position of the accelerator, turn indicator activation and braking. All this information is processed and at a given level of activity, any information that is not crucial to safety - such as an incoming phone call or an SMS message - is put on hold until activity returns to a safer level. IDIS determines when to activate this delay, for instance during overtaking or braking.

As with all Volvos, the C70 was developed and extensively crash tested in the company's world renowned Safety Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, to ensure class-leading safety.

'Since the Volvo C70 does not have a fixed roof, we knew we had to find a different way of dealing with the incoming forces from an impact,' says Thomas Broberg, Volvo Cars Safety Centre. 'This applies in most collision scenarios - frontal, offset, rear-end or side-impact. And it applies also in the event of the car rolling over.'

In a saloon or other vehicles with a fixed roof, incoming collision forces are led in a variety of directions, including up into the roof. This is naturally not possible in a convertible. Instead, the forces must be diverted through other paths into the body structure. An integrated network of beams and reinforcements interacts to help keep the passenger compartment as intact as possible.

The front structure is divided into zones, each with a different task in the deformation sequence. In order to give each zone the appropriate properties, four different types of steel are used.

The engine too contributes to safety. A compact construction and efficient packaging both help create space for deformation in the engine compartment.

A reminder system ensures all occupants, including those in the rear, fasten their seat belts - a Volvo invention, of course.

The body structure with its controlled deformation zones provides effective protection even in an impact from the rear. The horseshoe-shaped member behind the rear seat and the double steel bulkhead behind the backrest help reduce the risk of penetration into the passenger compartment. And if the retractable hardtop has been folded down into the boot, it works together with the double bulkhead to absorb rear-end impact forces. The ROPS bars are also activated in the event of a collision from the rear.

Pedestrian safety is also a priority, and is helped by the rounded extremities, 'soft' area around the grille and the energy absorbent bonnet and front wings that reduce the risk of injury.

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