While Volvo's former R models—like the iconic 850 T5 R—included a host of performance enhancements, the company's R-Design models have offered a different type of performance kick, more focused on look and feel than on zero-to-60 times.
For 2012, R-Design models are offered for the C30, S60, XC60, and XC90. each of the available R-Design models get you appearance extras, some additional features, and performance suspension and steering enhancements.
In the new 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design, you get many of those same items. Appearance-wise, the S60 R-Design comes with a unique-design front spoiler with hexagonal mesh design, plus a completely different rear fascia, rear spoiler, and wider tailpipes with prominent baffling and surrounds.
The S60 R-Design also sits lower, which hints to its significant suspension tweaks. As with most of Volvo's other R-Design models, you get a full Sport Chassis, which for the S60 T6 replaces the 4C dynamic chassis system with shorter, stiffer springs, stiffer rear bushings, much stiffer front tie-blade bushings, and a buff front strut-tower brace. Also, notably, the more docile twin-tube dampers give way to sharper, quicker-responding monotube dampers.
Inside, too, the R-Design comes with what amounts to a spiced-up look and feel, with special leather upholstery, embossed R-Design buckets, a blue watch-style instrument cluster, aluminum inlays, and lots of badging to remind you which model you're in—plus an exclusive, textured metallic material for the center control stack.
But there's something very different about the S60 T6 R-Design package: It has more than just better looks and handling. Upgrading to it also gets you a more powerful engine—essentially a chipped (by the Swedish performance house Polestar) version of the existing 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine, making 325 horsepower and 354 pound-feet. Spark timing is advanced just a bit, and the throttle has been remapped, with the net effect a more eager driving feel.
That same engine will also be packaged as part of the 2012 XC60 R-Design and should also make the Volvo crossover a bit quicker. In the S60, the engine enhancements shave 0.3 seconds off the 60-mph dash, bringing it to 5.5 seconds.
See our first drive of the new 2012 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design for more, and we hope to bring you a drive of the XC60 R-Design soon.