Hitting The Swede Spot | Volvo S60 T6

BY Burnpavement

Dubbed as the sportiest Volvo ever, the all-new Volvo S60 is Volvo's answer to a dynamic performance sedan.

Photos: Joel Tam

The Swedish manufacturer's magnum opus till date, the all-new Volvo S60 though sold under Sino ownership (I feel a gag reflex as I type this), is actually a serious contender in the highly competitive CD Premium segment. And there is no reason to refute the 'serious contender' claims, for this all-new Volvo S60 is indeed a worthy car to consider with its performance and safety offerings.

Although manufactured in Ghent, Belgium, the all-new Volvo S60 has its design conceived in true Scandinavian fashion. Truly a work of art, the S60 like many new sedans in recent times, subscribes to the 'coupe' styled notion for its aesthetic inspiration with its large 18 inch alloy wheels, short front overhangs, rakish windscreen, sloping roof line and a sporty looking rear like many other coupe styled 'sport backs'. New design cues aside, the all-new S60 still retains Volvo's traditional identity such as the egg crate looking radiator grille, wide shoulder haunches and a nose reminiscent of the recently facelifted C30 and C70. To top it all off, the icing on the S60 is the sporty silver trim for the car's front lip, side skirts and rear diffuser.

If the S60's exterior is veering towards the left of the field and away from Volvo's usual fare, the interior is unmistakeably Volvo. But although the standard offering of Volvo's floating center stack still exists, this time round it is slightly tilted towards the driver which honestly doesn't sit well (pun intended) with an 'all things symmetrical' me, but in truth it does make things easier for the driver when he or she wants to adjust the car's cabin temperature or sound system volume on the four rotary knobs that surround a host of other buttons. Other amenities that one can look forward to in this car include refinements to the fascia plastics, lovely soft leather seats, plenty of storage space around the driver and many more, all which add up to a well designed high quality interior.

Aesthetics and amenities aside, how does the all-new Volvo S60 fare on the road in terms of performance and safety? On our T6 test car, City Safety and Pedestrian Detection with Full Autobrake come as standard. The former is a system that helps lessen or even entirely avoid low-speed rear end impacts at speeds of up to 30 km/h. With City Safety, the car automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops (taxi drivers) or if the driver is driving too fast towards a stationary object. For Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, the package includes a laser and a camera with recognition software that looks out for bipedal humanoid objects. If you fail to notice a Lady Gaga wannabe auntie crossing the road with her Justin Bieber lookalike son in tow, you get a series of loud warning 'beeps' in the cabin and a big red flash at the base of the windscreen telling you to slow down. If you insist on mowing them down, like many other people would, the car's conscience, I mean system, kicks in and the car applies emergency braking to a standstill.

In terms of performance, Volvo claims that the all-new S60 is the most dynamically gifted car they have made thus far, even more so in the range topping T6 variant. Equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger, Volvo's 2,953cc inline-six churns out 304 bhp at 5,600 rpm and peak torque of 440 Nm. Throw in a relatively quick shifting Geartronic automatic transmission (Volvo's version of a Tiptronic), the S60 T6 hurtles from zero to 100 in an impressive 6.5 seconds. In the handling department, the T6 comes with the Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept (Four-C) offering Comfort, Sport and Advanced modes as standard. Couple the chassis enhancement to an all-wheel-drive drive train with torque-vectoring, the S60 T6 is one great car to drive round bends, with the car's nose responding neatly and directly to nicely-weighted steering inputs. In fact we had so much fun with it, we took the car down the same twisty route over and over again just to explore the car's dynamic potential.

All in all, the Volvo S60 proves that one can marry both dynamic driving and road safety features into one product. With the necessary equipment to aid it in the performance stakes as well as technologically advanced safety features that could potentially help reduce traffic accidents, the all-new S60 is truly a driver oriented car. The only gripe I have with the car however, are the lack of paddle shifters on the steering column and slightly spongy brakes which failed to inspire confidence, but overall the car drives as well as it should be. Now for some Heico add-ons...