Brutally Honest | Volvo S60 T6 R-Design

BY Joel Tam

Stupendously rapid and yet relaxing to drive and be in, the Volvo S60 T6 now gets an even sportier makeover from the company's R-Design wardrobe.

Photos: Low Fai Ming

The feeling of having 440 Nm of torque at your disposal is very similar to having a gun. You simply point and shoot. With a car though, you're not simply welding the gun, you ARE the bullet too! The Volvo S60 T6 is one such car. There is no aural 'bang' though, just a quiet rush that will see all of your surroundings suddenly blur in a horizontal fashion.

Clad in a slick R-Design suit, this S60 not only goes fast, it looks dashing too. Yet, nowhere does Volvo claim this to be a 'sports saloon'. All they want is for you to "experience an even more dynamic and exhilarating Volvo drive". Trust us, with the S60 T6 R-Design, you will!

The R-Design wardrobe adorns the S60 with a new athletic front kit, and a rear bumper that features duplex-styled chrome exhaust tailpipes sticking out of a sporty diffuser. 18" Diamond Cut Ixion alloys add aggression while the R-Design rear view mirrors finish the look like a pair of stylish cufflinks.

The car is lowered and stiffened up via shorter and stiffer springs. This really changes the look of the car and it now sits 15 mm lower and is 15% stiffer than the stock springs. You can't really feel the difference though, as the car features Monotube damping at the rear, allowing a more pliant ride whether you're cruising or chucking the car round a series of bends.

The sunroof is standard too, completing the whole package on the exterior. Step inside, and you'll find typical Volvo finishing, which is a good thing. Well thought out Scandinavian design and use of modern textures and materials make one feel right at home.

Volvo's Flextech textile seats are grippy, but may not be to everyone's taste. Personally, I prefer good ol' leather for an executive sedan, regardless of how sporty the concept may be.

Modern R-Design instrument cluster with blue inlay is nice, but with full-colour displays now the rage, the 'Maxidot' interface is starting to look dated. Cool factor: instrument area has a white florescent glow at night.

Perforated eather-clad steering wheel with Silk Metal inlay is a tad large in size, but feels good and buttons are nicely sized for ease of use. Paddle shifter

Safety always a priority in Volvos. Sensors work to enable the host of safety features like Pedestrian Detection (with auto brake), Collision Warning, City Safety and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to function. We tested the ACC and it worked like a charm, both deceleration and acceleration was smooth and the car kept to the safety distance we set. I wouldn't suggest relying on these too much though, intervention only.

Brutal acceleration comes from 304 bhp and 440 Nm 3-litre turbocharged powerplant. 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and it will power through to a top speed of 250 km/h.

Factory R-Design strut brace stiffens up the body, coupled with firmer bushings and a stiffer suspension setup, the car corners brilliantly with taut body control. The only letdown is an overly light steering feel. No doubt helpful at low speeds and parking, the light steering spoils an otherwise comprehensive sporty framework.

The Volvo S60 T6 R-Design is an excellent package. Handsome, sporty, well-built and really quick to boot. It may not have started out wanting to crush the competition, but if Volvo can give us more feedback and a meatier steering feel, they might just be able to.