With each generation, Volvo slowly sheds its reputation for conservative styling. If illustrations from German magazine AutoZeitung are any indication, Volvo may be planning an S40 with more attitude than its rivals, the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class.

With the 2007 S80 and 2008 V70 positioned squarely against the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class, it appears Volvo might merge the S40 and S60 lines into a single new entry-level luxury sedan, with the C and 3er firmly in its sights.

Several recent reports have indicated Volvo will axe its S60 model, suggesting this new 3-Series fighter will make use of the S40 nameplate. The 2009 S40 will grow in size, but will still be priced to undercut its German rivals.

AutoZeitung's illustration takes major design cues from the radical Volvo XC60 Concept. Conceivably, the XC60 could share a platform with the new S40 and V50.