Advanced system thinking behind the high safety level in the all-new Volvo S80
Patented front structure with a high energy absorption capacity
Compact, transverse engines with space to move for effective deformation
Side impact airbags with separate chest and hip chambers
New generation of the Whiplash Protection System with a more compliant action
Inbuilt pedestrian protection contributes to a reduced risk of injury
The all-new Volvo S80 has been developed to make it one of the very safest cars in its class, with a sophisticated network of interacting safety systems.
The patented front structure absorbs energy effectively. The interior protection system has been developed further with a new generation of side impact airbags and whiplash protection.
The all-new Volvo S80 has been built to provide a high level of protection in various types of collision. Its extremely advanced body structure offers very high torsion rigidity and contributes to absorbing impact energy very effectively.
“Our patented front structure gives the all-new Volvo S80 a very high energy absorption capacity,” says Silvia Güllsdorf, S80 project director at Volvo Cars.
Deformation zones and different grades of steel
The patented front body structure in the all-new Volvo S80 has been divided into zones, each with a different task during the deformation process. The outer zones are responsible for most of the deformation. The closer the collision forces get to the passenger compartment the less the material deforms.
To give each zone the correct properties, the steel grades have been varied. Four different steel grades are used. Apart from conventional bodywork steel, three different grades of high-strength steel are used: High Strength Steel, Extra High Strength Steel and Ultra High Strength Steel.
“With the zone system we can make maximum use of the properties of the material to ensure the best energy absorption,” says Güllsdorf. “The aim is for the passenger compartment to be preserved predictably in various types of collision.”
LOW-SPEED DEFORMATION ZONE: The front bumper incorporates a rigid crossmember made of Ultra High Strength Steel. The attachments to the body’s longitudinal members are designed in the form of ‘crash boxes’. These help absorb the forces in a low-speed collision without damage to the other parts of the body structure.
HIGH-SPEED DEFORMATION ZONE: The straight parts of the longitudinal members are made of High Strength Steel, a very ductile steel that is optimised for high energy absorption. This zone accounts for most of the deformation.
BACK-UP ZONE: The section of the crossmember that turns outwards towards the A-pillars acts as a barrier to help protect the passenger compartment and as a back-up to reduce deformation. The design also contributes to minimising the risk of the front wheel penetrating the passenger compartment. Instead, the wheel helps to absorb the collision forces. This section is very rigid and is made of Extra High Strength Steel.
THREE-WAY ATTACHMENT: A rigid side member links the A-pillars and the lower side members so that they form an extremely rigid three-way attachment on each side. The design contributes significantly to protecting the passenger compartment in a serious collision.
Compact, transverse engines contribute to crash safety
As with other Volvo models, the all-new Volvo S80 has a transverse driveline and front-wheel drive. The transverse mounting gives the engine a greater deformation capacity in the engine compartment and contributes to reducing the risk of penetrating the passenger compartment in a frontal collision.
It has also been possible to mount the larger six- and eight-cylinder engines transversely in the new S80 thanks to an extremely compact format and effective packing in the engine compartment.
“There is a great deal of creativity and advanced engine technology behind these solutions,” says Güllsdorf. “Take the new six-cylinder in-line engine which we have succeeded in making almost as short as our five-cylinder engine.”
Side impact airbags and doubly adapted pressure
A new type of side collision airbag makes the Volvo patented SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) into an even more effective safety system.
The new side impact airbags have two separate chambers – one for the hips and one for the chest. As the hips can withstand greater forces than the chest, the lower chamber can be inflated to a pressure that is up to five times higher than in the upper chamber.
The side impact airbags interact with the inflatable curtains and the body’s crossmember structure to offer the most effective protection possible. Both the sills as well as the B-pillars have been reinforced to reduce the risk of penetrating the passenger compartment. Among other things, an extra steel profile has been placed inside the sill member.
New WHIPS generation
The Volvo system for avoiding neck injuries – WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) – is one of the most effective on the market. In a serious rear-end collision the front seat back support and head restraint follow the movement of the body, suppressing the forces in roughly the same way as when catching a ball.
The WHIPS mechanism has now been developed even further, making the “catching” action even more compliant and contributing to even better contact between head and head restraint throughout the whole process.
Protection for other road users
Protection for pedestrians and cyclists has also been developed in the all-new Volvo S80. The front has energy-absorbing features, including a well-proportioned, soft structure in front of the bumper. This helps to counteract the risk of leg injuries. In addition, the lower edge of the spoiler has been reinforced and moved forward, almost in line with the bumper. The aim is for the load, on a leg for example, to be distributed evenly over a greater area to reduce the risk of injury.
The bonnet has a raised shape and underneath a honeycomb structure that distributes the load in a similar way on impact and in doing so contributes to absorbing the force and reducing the risk of injury.
Also built for children
The all-new Volvo S80 has, like other Volvo models, been developed with children in mind. The safety structure of the body and the interior protection system have been designed and dimensioned to also help protect the very young.
The middle rear seat can be fitted with an integrated bumper seat for older children. The front passenger seat airbag can be disconnected using a key. The seat can be fitted with attachments for mounting a rear-facing child seat if the passenger airbag has been disconnected.
Other safety solutions in the all-new Volvo S80:
A collapsible steering wheel, which during deformation is moved horizontally for the best possible interaction with the airbag;
Pedals with a collapse function;
Airbags with a dual-stage function;
Seatbelt pretensioners for all five seats;
Seatbelt reminder for all five seats;
Force limiters for the front seatbelts;
Reinforced, transversely mounted pipe between the A-pillars (contributes to side impact protection);
Reinforced and rigid SIPS pipes in the seats and a deformable steel box in the centre of the car; and
Diagonally mounted crossmembers made of Ultra High Strength Steel in the doors.