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2012 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Review & Test Drive

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“Safety, Sports Appeal and Performance Blended into a Complete Package”

The Swedes have managed to produce the most powerful production Volvo yet, the all-new Volvo S60 R-Design. The new 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design jumps aboard the performance sedan segment to continue a long heritage of the safest vehicles on the road, which happens to have excellent performance characteristics to boot.

For 2012 the new Volvo S60 sedan maintains its redesigned styling from the 2011 model year putting to rest any previous notions that Volvos are boxy and boring vehicles.

The all-new 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design takes Volvo to new heights not only in the styling department but in the performance arena as well. Adding an additional 25-horsepower and 29 lb-ft. of torque over the standard S60 T6’s turbocharged inline 6-cylinder makes the new S60 R-Design the most powerful Volvo to date.

I had the chance to spend a full week with the new S60 R-Design. The new S60 R-Design recalls a feeling that I probably share with other performance-sedan enthusiasts when the Volvo 850 was one of the rare turbocharged sedans during the 1990’s. Since then, Volvo has departed from the boxy design now encompassing sexy curves without sacrificing their primary focus on safety.

In a world full of drivers distracted by anything from the latest smartphones to abundant doses of alcoholic beverages, Volvo manages to discerningly blend safety and performance in the new S60 R-Design. For instance, the new City Safety system attempts to help you prevent rear-end collisions below 19 mph. Essentially, in the event that you are not paying attention, City Safety will automatically stop the car if a low-speed collision is imminent.  Other standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, full-length side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags and whiplash-reducing front head restraints. Volvo’s pedestrian detection system, part of the optional technology package on the S60, will apply the brakes to stop the vehicle to help avoid hitting pedestrians who are 31-inches in height. The system operates below 22 mph. Additionally, the technology package includes driver-attention warning, lane departure warning and collision warning with auto-braking.

The new Volvo S60 R-Design pumps out 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, which directs power to all 4 wheels to propel over 3,800 pounds. The combination actually makes for a potent mixture especially when the snappy surge of torque hits you in the back as the turbocharger starts to spool at a low 3,000 rpm. Thanks to Volvo’s advanced all-wheel-drive system transferring power at different degrees to each wheel, the S60 R-Design felt planted at virtually any level of acceleration. On slippery roads the Volvo AWD system is especially beneficial by vectoring power to the wheels with the most traction.

EPA fuel consumption figures for the 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design are 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. If you are any thing like me, once you feel the intoxicating acceleration of the S60 R-Design, you will have a hard time driving conservatively. During my time in the S60 R-Design, mostly consisting of city commutes and some light highway driving, I came away with an average of 22.5 mpg.

Inside of the new 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design is a sporty cabin with supportive front bucket seats and a simple two-pod gauge cluster. The cluster is well lit at night from projected LED lighting instead of conventional backlighting. The dashboard stack for the S60 R-Design is a common trait for Volvo featuring numbered buttons arranged like a phone keypad and large turning dials. The center LCD screen is on the small side but provides excellent contrast to easily read menus and view streets on the navigation system. Navigating through the vehicle settings and controls on the LCD screen via dashboard turn knobs or steering wheel mounted controls is relatively simplistic. The GPS navigation system on the new S60 R-Design is a welcomed improvement over previous year’s units which had not-so-user-friendly controls mounted on the back of the steering wheel.

Stiffer springs, stiffer bushings and a strut tower brace, all aid in the new S60 R-Design’s improved handling characteristics over a standard S60 T6 without making the ride too harsh over bumpy roads. The R-Design version of the S60 also receives other special treatments in the looks area featuring a sporty rear diffuser, lower front fascia, flat-black grille, rear spoiler, and unique black-accented five-spoke 18-inch wheels. For the interior the S60 R-Design gets blue watch dial cluster gauges, perforated and bolstered leather seating areas w/ contrast stitching and R-Design logos throughout the interior.

Already the Volvo S60 is a sporty sedan out of the box. The exclusive T6 R-Design trim takes it to a new level playing on the same field as a new BMW 335i sedan with an M-Sport package. The starting price for the all-new S60 R-Design is $43,475 including destination, which is already $6 grand less than a BMW 335i sedan M-package. Mind you, the S60 R-Design already comes with the premium package, which includes HID headlights, power moonroof and power front seats. Moreover, the R-Design version has added power and upgraded sports suspension which could easily cost the enthusiast over $3 grand on a normal S60 T6 going the aftermarket way.

The all-new 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design may not be the sportiest and fastest sedan to come off an assembly line, but it is surely an excellent alternative for the sport-minded but safety conscience enthusiast who needs 4 doors.

Copyright: 2011


  • Price: Base Volvo S60 R-Design $43,475 / As-Tested S60 T6 AWD R-Design $46,875
  • Engine: 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve turbocharged inline-6 cylinder 325 horsepower @ 6500 rpm / 354 ft-lbs. torque @ 3000 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Drive: All-wheel-drive
  • Wheelbase: 109.3in.
  • Total length: 182.2in.
  • Total width: 73.4in.
  • Total height: 58.4in.
  • Track: f/r-62.1/62in.
  • Headroom: f/r-38.3/37.4in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.9/33.5in.
  • Fuel tank: 17.8 gallons
  • Turning circle: 39.0ft.
  • Interior volume: 105.5cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,877 lbs.
  • 0-60mph: 5.5 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 18mpg/city, 26mpg/highway

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