God is in the details – Volvo S60

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, the German-American Modernist architect, once said God is in the details, referring to how a work of architecture isn’t just valuable as a whole, that delicious little mannerisms on a small scale. In my humble belief, this adage is applicable to cars, and even some cars that can be considered bland, insipid or just plain, might have funky little design minutiae that jump out as unexpected eye-candy. So that’s what this entry is all about – the emphasis on wonderful little details most people perhaps overlook on my own beloved Volvo S60.

Detail #1 – The way the roofline melds into the bootlid.
Contrary to what you might have read or think, the Mercedes CLS is not the forerunner of today’s so-called four-door coupés. Years before, Volvo introduced the S60, a sports saloon with lines do smooth it doesn’t even have protruding bits like radio antennae, and even the door handles aren’t salient as in most cars. This could be said of the car on which its styling was based on, the original S80, but the main difference was the swooping roofline, and the sleek shape which resulted. I’ve had my S60 for more than three years, and I’m not tired at gazing at its tail and the beautiful lines that compose it. It curves beautifully inwards, and it melds with flanks with a sharp corner that flows down and turns into a strong but curvy shoulderline. Exquisite.

Detail #2 – Wing mirrors
I don’t know why, but I’ve always been fascinated by wing-mirrors. When I was a very young boy and still learning to draw, The details I paid most attention to when drawing cars was the antenna on the roof and the mirrors on each side (even though, at that time, many cars only had a wing-mirror on the driver’s side, which violated my imagined perfect symmetry every car should have). And today, I still regard them one of the most important aesthetic traits of a car, as an ugly wing-mirror can ruin a car for me (e.g., the old Citroen C4). The S60’s mirrors are gorgeous, sculpted and balanced, in sync with the rest of the car. Here’s a confession: it was the first thing that made me want to get an S60.

Well, there are far more details I’d like to write about, but my fear is that it might come off as overtly sycophantic. I’ll leave more details for another time.


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