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Volvo reveals first photos of 2009 XC60

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They call it the most sensual Volvo ever--and now you can be the judge. The Swedish automaker launched the first photos of its highly-anticipated new XC60 crossover just hours ago. This comes shortly after hints last week at the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) that the concept displayed there would look very similar to the production machine.

"This is not only the safest Volvo ever--it's also the most stunning," said Volvo Cars President and CEO Fredrik Arp. The concept and photos show a unique split personality to the latest XC model. On the bottom, it's muscular and planted as an SUV should be. Above that, sweeping and elegant lines replicate the sporty charisma of a coupe. It's sort of like a gymnast with the legs of a skier.

"This car is charged with more emotive form and more energy than any other Volvo," says Volvo Cars Design Director Steve Mattin. "We're elevating our design DNA to an entirely new level by literally turning up the visual volume. If you say that you'd recognize a Volvo from 300 feet away today, I dare say the XC60 radiates a clear Volvo presence from at least twice that distance."

In Canada, the XC60 will get one powertrain, a 281-hp turbocharged, 3.2-liter inline-6, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Of course, all-wheel drive will be standard.

The new model will compete heavily with the likes of the BMW X3, Acura RDX and Infiniti EX. Volvo's latest will make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on March 4th before going on sale in Canad in early 2009.