Volvo is no stranger to performance. Just ask owners of the 1995 850 T-5R sedan co-developed with Porsche, or the original S60 R. Both were performance icons – likened by critics to Thor’s hammer rendered in leather and steel. This year, Volvo wields the hammer once again, striking at the hardcore heart of the sports sedan segment with the new 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design, a 325-hp Nordic missile overflowing with Volvo luxury, technology and safety.
Introduced just last year, the all-new S60 model lineup earned International Sedan of the Year honors at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. For 2012, Volvo sets the dynamic S60 R-Design at the top of that award-winning line. Featuring an ample power boost, an advanced Sport Chassis and exclusive interior and exterior styling cues, the S60 R-Design takes its inspiration from the SCCA World Challenge KPAX Volvo S60R GT racing car, and puts a dose of that same track-hungry spirit right in your hands. Best of all, at an MSRP of $42,500, the new S60 R-Design also offers a tremendous value advantage over premium European competitors like the Audi A4 and BMW 335i.
Volvo turned to one of its partners – a Swedish motorsport and performance parts company called Polestar – to help draw more power out of the twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder the R-Design shares with the mid-range S60 T6 AWD. By raising turbo boost and advancing spark timing, Polestar ramped up output from the 3.0-liter engine to 325 hp and 354 lb/ft of torque (an eight- and a nine-percent jump, respectively).
Accommodating that surge in power is a standard six-speed Geartronic® automatic transmission with Sport Mode, which holds each gear deep into the torque curve before upshifts. You can also shift gears manually via a separate gate on the gear selector. Despite the increase in output, the S60 R-Design delivers the same 26 highway mpg rating as its T6 AWD sibling. As you’d expect, acceleration is ferocious with runs from zero-to-60 mph clocked at 5.5 seconds (down from 5.8 seconds for the T6 AWD).
The S60 R-Design features a standard, Haldex-designed all-wheel drive system with Instant Traction, as well as Corner Traction Control by Torque Vectoring. Corner Traction Control prevents slides by instantly shifting more torque to the outside drive wheel, helping you hold your desired line through even the tightest curves.
A sports sedan of this caliber requires ride-and-handling characteristics that capitalize on the vehicle’s abundant power without sacrificing comfort over patchwork roadways. Once again, Volvo turned to the motorsport gurus at Polestar to tune the Sport Chassis in the R-Design, tasking them with keeping the car poised and planted under strong acceleration. The first order of business was the addition of a front strut-tower brace, which stiffens the chassis and boosts steering response. Stiffer springs and bushings, a lowered ride height and quicker-responding monotube shock absorbers also made the cut.
Like the rest of the S60 lineup, the R-Design is a showcase of driver-assistance technology including Advanced Stability Control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) and Ready Alert Brakes (RAB), plus Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC). DSTC senses an oncoming skid and corrects it by either activating the brakes at one or more wheels or decreasing engine output, or both.
Choosing the Technology Package nets you a bounty of additional safety and driver-support innovations. Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist is included, as are advanced systems such as Distance Alert, Collision Warning and Pedestrian Detection (both with Full Auto Brake), Driver Alert Control and Lane Departure Warning.
A stand-alone option, the Blind Spot Information System, uses cameras mounted in the door mirrors to monitor blind spots, and lights a lamp in the appropriate front-door post to alert the driver when a vehicle enters a blind spot. World first City Safety, standard on the S60 R-Design, can slow or stop the vehicle from speeds up to 19 mph to mitigate or prevent collisions in stop-and-go traffic.
To emphasize its status as a high-performance machine, Volvo has outfitted the S60 R-Design with a host of exclusive features. Aggressive styling cues – including a deeper front fascia, piano black grille, a rear diffuser, polished tailpipes and 18-inch IXION alloy wheels – underscores the car’s intentions. You even get motorized, Active Dual Xenon Headlights, which turn up to 15 degrees left or right to improve visibility around bends during nighttime driving.
Model-specific treatments enhance the interior as well with highlights such as a power glass moonroof, R-Design leather sport seats, a Sport steering wheel and shiftknob and iconic watch-dial instrumentation with blue accents.
When you’re ready to take up the hammer and channel your inner Nordic thunder god, contact us to schedule a test-drive of the new 2012 S60 R-Design.