Setting new benchmarks
Volvo Cars continues its new model roll out strategy with the new entry-level sedan of its range being given the makeover. We drove the car that is currently being manufactured only in the United States of America at an iconic location – at the end point of the historical Route 66 in Santa Monica, California.
Ever since the takeover of Volvo Cars by the Chinese and their infusion of funds into the company, Volvo has developed a clear plan for model make- overs. The first new car that rolled out on SPA underpinnings was the XC90 and that immediately set a global benchmark for both design and interiors. That was followed by a complete makeover of the 90-series cars and Volvo followed that up with makeovers of its SUV fleet. First came the XC60, and that was followed by the XC40 with the small SUV taking the established design and interior philosophy to the next level, a clear departure and evolution from the XC90 and the XC60. All the vehicles that Volvo has
ALL NEW GENERATION VOLVO
CARS ARE SETTING NEW BENCHMARKS
launched till now are doing well in their segments , setting benchmarks in some and pushing the envelope in others.
The S60 was expected to be the smaller sibling of the S90, similar in design and offering in much the same way that the XC60 takes off from the XC90. Volvo has however done to the S60 what it had done to the XC40, gone a different way while trying to keep some of the essential design DNA common.
First and foremost, Volvo is calling the S60 a sports sedan, a big departure from the positioning of the S90, which looked elegant and understated from the sides while carrying forward the new design DNA at the front. From the front itself the S60 looks sporty but at the same time a Volvo while the profile is a departure from the previous notch-back to a more sedan like appearance. The front headlights with ex- tended Thor’s Hammer design headlamps, and the un-mistakable Volvo grille are all hallmarks that are carried forward from the previous cars.
The S60 is based on the Scalable Product Architecture Platform that also underpins the 90-series cars as well as the XC60 and that means two things. The first being that it can be assembled in India without any significant changes or investments as the SPA cars are already being assembled in India and the second being that it comes ready for electrification. And in a departure from tradition and in keeping its commitments to electrification, the S60 becomes the first new Volvo to do away with a diesel engine entirely. At its launch the Volvo S60 will be available with a four-cylinder petrol engine in T5 and T6 guise as well in a twin engine configuration with the T8 powertrain, as per the engine designations from the
VOLVO IS CALLING THE S60 A SPORTS SEDAN,
A BIG DEPARTURE FROM THE POSITIONING
OF THE S90
entire Volvo range.
While the T6 4-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged engine produces max power of 310bhp at 5700rpm and peak torque of 400Nm from 2200rpm right up to 5100rpm, it is the T8 engines that we will be concentrating on. While the T6 may be the engine that will be the mainstay of the S60 range, it may well be that Volvo will introduce the T8 versions of the S60 to create a differentiation in the Indian market and stay ahead of the competition, both in terms of interiors as well as engine tech and driver assistance systems. With the new BMW 3-series just around the corner and the midlife facelift of the Mercedes-Benz C-class just introduced in the market, Volvo will have to create that differentiation.
The S60 T8 comes in two variants, the R-Design version as well as the Polestar engineered one, both with the same 4-cyl all aluminium 16valve engine but the Polestar engineered one having a little extra power combined with beefed up suspension and brakes.
The T8 engine with the R-design trim produces 303bhp of max power at 6000rpm and 400Nm of peak torque that is available from 2200 to 4800rpm. This is transferred to the front wheels
through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The rear wheels are powered by a 65kW electric motor that produces peak torque of 240Nm and is powered by a 10.4kWh lithium-ion battery that is stored in the central tunnel. The battery itself gives the car a range of upto 40km on pure electric power and effectively transforms the car into an AWD vehicle. Like on the other Volvos with twin engine tech, there are selectable drive modes by which one can choose to maximize performance or efficiency.
Overall, the system power output of the internal combustion engine at the front and the electric motor at the rear give the S60 max power of 390bhp and max torque of 640Nm giving the car a 0-100kmph time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 250kmph.
And that’s where the difference lies. Unlike the S90, the S60 is engineered toward sportiness and that is
evident on all the variants. The engine power is linear thanks to the supercharging at the bottom end and the suspension though taut, is not floaty like on the S90 and the car handles well albeit with a bit of body roll. Traction at the rear helps in quick maneuverability and the steering is also the quickest that we have seen on a Volvo. Overall the car is still not as sporty as some of the Jaguar sedans in recent times or BMWs of yore but provides a good mix of ride comfort and handling.
On the inside, while the S60 uses the exact same tech as seen on the other SPA vehicles including the advanced Sensus infotainment system, the same high end music systems and all the driver assistance systems including many of the autonomous driving features, as well as emergency braking and pedestrian, cycle and large animal detection. The car like the other Volvos can steer by itself, has adaptive cruise control that will work from a standstill and also detects driver fatigue and road signs. All in all, not only does the S60 make one feel special on the inside but also offers the best in safety tech available anywhere in the world. And it also signals Volvo’s march away from diesel to start with, and towards electric for the future.
The S60 gets signature Volvo interiors. This includes a large infotainment system which operates a plethora of functions on the car. The IP is also an all digital affair and can be tuned to the driver’s taste
Top class equipment on board the newS60. There is a large panoramic sunroof and seats at the back are rather comfortable. The alloys look sporty and goes with the overall theme of the S60