2014 Volvo S60
Compared to the previous six-cylinder T6, the 2015 T6 (in Euro spec) loses 95 pounds in total engine and gearbox weight in moving to the new high-output four; meanwhile the new T5 model will save about 33 pounds compared to the outgoing turbo five.
Wringing this new engine out in the S60, we noticed a few things: It has a lower redline (just 6,000 rpm, with a brief overrun allowed to 6,300), so it feels like you run out of revs quickly in the lower gears. And at the lower revs, with the supercharger singing, there’s a bounty of torque flowing through the front wheels—and not surprisingly, a bit of torque steer.
Steering is confident, has a good sense of center, and loads up nicely off-center, even if it is completely numb given the sport-sedan context. On T6 models (when you’re stopped), through a ‘MyCar’ menu, you can click into three different levels of steering effort; we found the difference between the three quite subtle.
As much as the S60 gets our pulse going with its sport-sedan look and feel, it doesn’t from the driver’s seat encourage you to go faster in turns; rather, it scrubs off speed in front, in the safest of ways. With the front-wheel-drive S60 we drove—in Euro T6 spec, with the equivalent of a U.S. R-Design suspension—those tendencies were out in full fashion, but we found that giving the steering a flick more angle at initial turn-in for those tightest turns yielded surprisingly positive results. We'll call it a dynamic workaround.
Where we expect the S60 to arrive at its zenith, however, is with the new engine in all-wheel-drive form—which, sadly, isn’t here this year…or next year.
Want AWD? Why you should wait
The 2015 Volvo V60 wagon breaks right into the U.S. market in January with the new roster of engines—with front-wheel drive, that is. Meanwhile, Volvo will be left clearing out its existing stock of front-wheel-drive five- and six-cylinder models for the S60, as well as the XC60. All-wheel-drive versions with the new engine are still a couple of years away (expect, in this confusing time, that AWD models with the older engines might cost about the same or even less than the front-drivers with the newer, more efficient engine). But by sometime in calendar-year 2015 Volvo will have completely phased in the new engines and will be an all-four-cylinder automaker.
Volvo was wise not to change all that much about the 2014 S60 aesthetically. Just as we’ve found all along, the current S60 is not a car that sells itself in feeling particularly edgy or focused from the driver’s seat; rather, it’s the stark Scandinavian design statement, safety, and relatively simple but tech-advanced interface that sells the S60—along with great ride comfort and a quiet cabin no matter which model. With performance that remains as capable as before—but with improved efficiency—we say bring it on. These new models can’t arrive soon enough.