ON the reversing section of a three point turn at the end of a cul-de-sac the Volvo I was driving suddenly sounded an alarm and then applied full braking force.
As we shuddered to a halt a large child on a scooter - previously hidden by a hedgerow - shot past the rear of the car going hell for leather.
He was lucky. Had it not been for the Volvo S60's City Safety system his playtime could have come to an abrupt end.
City Safety with auto brake recognises pedestrians, cyclists and animals and stops the car when you don't. And while I knew of the system it's not until you experience it at first hand that you realise just how effective it is.
It's something which has helped this car achieve the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings.
The S60 is the Swedish brand's up-market mid sized four-door saloon which blends elegant style with high performance and is a major challenger to the premier German brands.
Built in Charleston, South Carolina it's aimed mainly at private rather business buyers in the UK which means it has to be good to persuade people to part with their own hard earned cash.
Powered by a 250bhp, 2.0-litre turbo-charged engine the S60 T5 is deceptively quick, hitting 62 miles per hour in just 6.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 145mph.
But it's the refined way in which it delivers its power that's one of its most engaging features. With its seamless eight-speed automatic gearbox it offers an almost silent cabin, cocooning occupants from the stress of the road.
And in T5 Inscription Plus spec the S60's luxury interior adds to the relaxed ambience thanks to top quality leather upholstery and minimalist dashboard design with discreet but elegant driftwood inlays.
There's a nine-inch touch screen which controls many of the onboard functions and eliminates the need for too many buttons and switches on the dashboard. And unlike on most cars today this screen is neatly built in rather than standing proud and looking like an afterthought.
And while the S60 may be the baby brother of Volvo's big S90 saloon it still offers plenty of leg and elbow room for all on board to get comfortable.
The front seats are both electrically adjustable, heated and come with memory settings. Rear seat passengers are looked after too with heated seats and independent face level air vents.
The audio system with its Bowers and Wilkins speakers is top notch too, allowing you to get the best from your music choices on the move.
And while you might not have the flexibility of a hatchback the boot will take a generous 442 litres of luggage so no problem with suitcases or golf bags.
Close to the gear shift there's a roller switch which allows you to change the car's driving mode in an instant from Eco to Comfort, Dynamic or even individual settings so you can drive according to how you feel on any particular day.