FRANKFURT – The second-generation Volvo C70 convertible features advanced active and passive safety systems that combine to produce a high degree of occupant protection, despite the absence of a fixed roof for the vehicle.

“It is a major challenge, but today we know considerably more about safety in convertibles than we did with the first C70,” says Ingrid Skogsmo, who oversees Volvo Car's safety center in Sweden.

“We know the type of accident a convertible is exposed to and how protection should be built up around the passengers,” she says. “Our aim was that (the car) should have the same effective side impact protection as the Volvo sedans.”

Volvo revised its Side Impact Protection System to be effective in the convertible.

In a sedan, collision forces are spread into the roof structure, something not possible in the C70. (See related story: Second-Generation Volvo Convertible Takes Public Bow)

Volvo C70 cutaway shows rollover and side-impact protection systems.

Instead the SIPS system channels crash forces forward, backward and downward into the body structure. An integrated system of members and reinforcements are used to preserve the integrity of the passenger compartment.

Extra reinforcement is employed in the B-pillars that are linked to each other through a transverse floor member. There are five transverse members along the length of the C70. A flexible deformation box between the B-pillars and the transverse members also absorb collision forces.

Doors have been strengthened to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment. They hook onto the B-pillars and remain closed when subjected to collision forces.

The C70 also has door-mounted inflatable side curtains and pre-tensioners at all seating positions. When activated, the side curtain deploys upwards. The curtain has double rows of slats that make it extra stiff and allow it to stay upright for effective head protection even with an open window.

The curtain deflates slowly to provide protection in the event of a rollover.

The C70 also features a rollover protection system. Powerful metal bars deploy behind the rear-seat passengers in the event of a rollover. The bars are stronger than the ones used in the original C70 and are activated by a pyrotechnic charge to deploy quicker. The bars are equipped with small, hard metal spikes in order to push through the glass rear window if the roof is up.

Other safety features are designed to mitigate rear-end collisions. There is also a whiplash protection system to further guard passengers in rear-end collisions. Backrests and head restraints in the front seats follow the movement of the occupant's body.

The exterior of the car has been designed to reduce injury to pedestrians and cyclists.