The thing about Volvo at the moment is that the company is on such a roll that you’d be more surprised if it somehow created a bad (or even average product) than a good one. Well in breaking news that will shock nobody: the new S60 is a mighty fine thing.
Two things immediately jump out from the third-generation of Volvo’s premium mid-size sedan: firstly it’s the first model to be built in Volvo’s US manufacturing plant in Charleston, South Carolina, and secondly – and perhaps more importantly for ETi readers – it’s the first modern Volvo to be sold without a diesel offering.
So the powertrain options are the 250ps T5 engine and two petrol-electric plug-in hybrid variants: the T8 Twin with 395ps and then the same powertrain but Polestar-engineered to chuck out some 410ps. Rumor is T6 petrol and T6 Twin powertrains might also join the S60 line-up, but they’re both for possible future applications.
Our S60 came with the 250ps T5, in the stylish R-Design Edition spec. As in other Volvo applications, the 2.0 four-cylinder Drive-E petrol engine is smooth, responsive and provides the performance one expects from an exec sedan. It also adds a sprinkle of green cred that fits perfectly with Volvo’s eco-friendly positioning. This is all summed up nicely with the actual numbers: there’s 250ps and 350Nm torque on offer, which ensures a sprightly 0-62mph sprint time of 6.5 seconds. But let’s make something clear: that’s not a breakneck scramble from standstill, but an elegant rapid glide as the power and torque kick in. Combine that with emissions of 155g/km CO₂ and fuel economy that we logged around 38mpg and you have a very competitive powertrain package.
The all-aluminum engine is paired with an 8-speed Aisin-Warner transmission that moves through the gears effortlessly, further making sure the drive is silky smooth.
But this is no wafty motorway eater that lacks dynamism. Rolling off Volvo’s SPA platform, S60 benefits from a double wishbone front suspension with coil springs and an integral link rear axle with a composite transverse leaf spring, all of which allows for some fun to be had when driving a little harder.
Our R-Design S60 came with a sports suspension setup that offers even more dynamic handling thanks to stiffer springs, faster-responding monotube dampers, thick anti-roll bars and a 12mm lower ride height.
Combine all that with the S60’s stunning interior – modern Volvo’s are such a nice place to be in these days – and you have a mid-size sedan that’s up there with the best of them.