Volvo sedans have long had a reputation for being safe and conservative, if not exactly stylish. When the Swedish automaker released its revamped S60 mid-size sedan in 2010, it actually launched a campaign to highlight the S60 as “the naughty Volvo.”
We’re not sure the S60, in any form, qualifies as “naughty,” but we’ll admit that the new car’s curvaceous lines are more to our liking. The same goes for the S60’s interior, which blends understated design with quality materials to produce an interior that’s more upscale than you might expect from Volvo.
For 2012, Volvo
is expanding the S60 model range by introducing the front-wheel-drive S60 T5, powered by turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine good for 250 horsepower. The sole transmission offered is a six-speed automatic, which Volvo uses across its S60 range.
Also new is the enthusiast-oriented, all-wheel-drive S60 T6 R-Design
, which comes packing a 325-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six engine. Oddly, the only gearbox offered is the same leisurely-shifting six-speed automatic, which is out of place in a sedan with sporting intentions.
The S60 T6, last year’s only available model, returns for 2012 with the same 3.0-liter, turbocharged in-line six and all-wheel-drive drivetrain. It’s good for 300 horsepower, and comes only with the aforementioned six-speed automatic gearbox.
If it’s comfort and ride quality you’re after, the T5 or base T6 versions won’t disappoint. Inside, the cabin is a quiet place to soak up the daily commute, and the T6’s 4C dynamic chassis system provides a good blend of comfort and handling. Drivers can even change the steering feel on T6 models to suit driving conditions.
The T6 R-Design does away with the 4C dynamic chassis system and adjustable steering in favor of a true sport suspension. The ride is noticeably firmer (but never harsh), and road noise is more pronounced than with other models. Still, the R-Design will be the S60 model of choice for enthusiast drivers.
As you’d expect from Volvo, the S60
emphasizes safety, too. Its available Pedestrian Detection safety system can automatically stop the car (at low speeds) if it spots a pedestrian and the driver fails to apply the brakes. Volvo’s City Safety collision avoidance system comes standard, and the IIHS has awarded the S60 with a Top Safety Pick award.
For a complete look at all the 2012 Volvo S60 models, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection