New car review
by Jonathan Crouch
Sportier and more stylish, this improved second generation S60 addresses the areas where previous Volvo executive cars have ultimately failed to deliver.
Larger than the German models it will count as rivals and packing Volvo’s usual plethora of safety kit, it must be in with a chance.
Volvos have tended to feel like the safe cars they are when you get them out on the road but with this S60, more emphasis than ever before has been placed on instilling some excitement.
There are three chassis systems available which govern how the car performs on the road. The Dynamic set-up is fitted as standard in the UK.
Then there’s a firmer, more sporting arrangement offered with the R-Design Lowered Sport Chassis option.
The final option is the Volvo FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept), an active suspension that allows drivers to select their preferred settings when on the move.
Advanced Stability Control is standard, as is Corner Traction Control which acts like a limited slip differential to control understeer when cornering.
As for engines, well almost all S60 buyers choose a diesel. Options range from the 215bhp 2.4-litre D5 with a mighty 440Nm of torque all the way to what could well be the S60’s best power option, the D2 diesel’s 1.6-litre unit with 115bhp and 270Nm of torque which makes the trip from standstill to 62mph in 10.9s and economy is strong.
In between, there are 2.0-litre D3 and D4 variants putting out 136 and 163bhp respectively.
All S60 models get a six speed manual gearbox as standard but with selected engines, there’s the option of a Geartronic automatic or the clever Powershift dual clutch transmission.
For the minority of customers wanting petrol power, there are two choices. Most sensible is the 1.6-litre GTDi petrol engine that offers 150bhp in the T3.
Finally, there’s a 304bhp T6 model at the top of the range with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine that can propel the S60 past 60mph in 5.9s. This rare variant comes only with AWD and a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.
This is one of the best looking Volvos we’ve seen for a good few decades, so few aesthetic improvements have been necessary with this facelifted version.
There are what Volvo describes as ‘more focused and determinedlooking headlamps’, added to create what’s intended to be a more ‘expressive’ front end.
The S60’s horizontal lines have been emphasised at both the front and rear. Together with details such as a wider grille and daylight running lights, they give the car a more striking, squat presence.
Volvo executive cars have usually been safe, reliable and practical but sporty and stylish?
In the past, buyers with those things as priorities may have felt inclined to look elsewhere. This second generation S60 has been changing that kind of thinking though, a process that’ll be aided by this careful package of changes.
It incorporates the vibrant design that’s been creeping into other Volvo products for a while now and accentuates it in a sleek four-door package with a driver-focused chassis and a range of high-tech engine options.
There’s a roomy cabin and the bundle of advanced safety equipment we’ve always expected from Volvo is also in evidence, setting the S60 up as an intriguing alternative to the compact executive mainstream.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Volvo S60 range
PRICES: £20,250-£40,665 – on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 28-39
CO2 EMISSIONS: 103–231g/km
PERFORMANCE: [D2] 0-62mph 10.9s/top speed 121mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [D2] (combined) 72.4mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, Brake Assist, City Safety, DSTC
WILL IT FIT IN THE GARAGE? (length/width/height) 4635/1865/1484mm