Swede As Honey | Volvo S60 T4

BY Joel Tam

Well-appointed, handsome and a pretty quick steer. Volvo's sportiest drive is about to show you why it is the perfect car for the Singaporean who wants everything.

Photos: Joel Tam

So you want to buy a new car. You make a checklist - It's got to be stylish, modern and big enough to ferry your kids and/or parents. But you also want something that your mates won't laugh at, you're thinking of something sporty, something that can keep up with their rides. A powerful turbocharged engine that doesn't drink too much would be ideal.

Seems like too much to ask for? Well it IS! But fret not, there is a car that fits the bill very well. The Volvo S60 T4.

The dashing new S60 is not all that new, but the engine that is mated to this T4 variant, makes it even more appealing. First found in the V60 T4, then on the S80 T4, the 1.6 GTDi (No it's not a diesel, it stands for Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) is a potent 180 bhp powerplant that delivers a surprisingly sporty drive.

'Sporty' isn't something usually associated with Volvos, but this car comes pretty close to owning that term. Not only does it drive well, it looks pretty foxy too. Especially in R-design trim, the high boot with wrap-around lamps, rear bumper with dual integrated exhaust pipes and alloy wheels, all serve to add to the dynamic package.

Step inside and the stylish lines continue their flow all around you. Inspired by race tracks, the lines on the door panels and dashboard have been sculpted with athletic flair.

Materials used are of typical Scandinavian grade, light to the touch, but robust in feel.

If you're a designer of some discipline, you will appreciate the details found in the S60's interior. Clean lines with a silver lining on the centre console and even the air-con vents shape the inside well - it's a perfect blend of simplicity and style.

The form carries on in the details, clean white back-lit lights adorn the dash at night, creating a contrast of light and dark throughout the interior ambience.

But the gem in this car is this 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine that enables this executive sedan to slot into the category A COE segment. It may sound a little gruff to some, but the engine does emit a sporty growl when you flatten the throttle, adding once again to the sporty nature of the car.

Aural pleasure aside, the car will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 9 seconds, but quite honestly, it feels faster than that. The dynamic chassis fitted to the car ensures the car is more than capable in handling all that spirited driving, while keeping you safe with it's Advanced Stability control and Corner Traction Control, which uses torque vectoring to modulate power transfer between wheels when cornering.

With a 1.6-litre engine, the S60 T4 slots into the Catergory A COE segment. At S$185,000 with COE, the S60 T4 may sound like quite a lot of dosh to fork out, but consider the fact that a similarly specced German executive sedan will cost a cool S$30,000 more than this, and the S60 T4 begins to sound like a steal.