Folks, they did it with 300 horsepower from a
turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing. To
help dissipate the heat created in producing that much energy from a modestly proportioned
powerplant, twin intercoolers live under the hood. A mighty 295 lb.-ft. of torque
contributes to the S60 R blasting from zero to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds with the
standard six-speed manual transmission. Surely this is the most powerful Volvo ever built!
You know its a Volvo, because despite its hearty roar, the new
engine meets Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards and is rated at 18 mpg city, 25 highway.
My mileage for the week came to 19.4 mpg. Premium fuel is required.
To further sweeten the pot, the S60 R comes with all-wheel-drive
standard. Combined with the electronic wizardry of Dynamic Stability Traction Control,
this Volvo is adept at putting its prodigious power to the road without any unpleasant
The new car wears the same tapered, stylish design as other S60s,
which along with the larger S80 introduced earlier, has liberated Volvo from its
traditional box form. But the S60 R gets many special features, some aesthetic, some for
performance, some for comfort, and some for security.
The 300-horsepower engine is the biggest differentiator of course,
as is the close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, which was specially reinforced to
take the high torque of the new engine. You can opt for the Geartronic five-speed
automatic transmission, which permits clutchless manual shifts if youre in a sporty
Close to the road, the Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept
(Four-C) is Volvos electronically controlled chassis / suspension. It offers three
settings, Comfort, Sport, and Advanced Sport. Using seven electronic sensors, the system
collects data on the movement of the car and adjusts the shock valve damping in
milliseconds to compensate for road conditions and driving style.
Stopping a supercar takes special brakes, and this Volvo sports
13-inch Brembo four-wheel discs with four-piston aluminum calipers. Bi-Xenon headlights
with washers light the way even at the 155 mph electronically limited top speed.
On the outside, the S60 R wears a unique grille, rear spoiler, air
intake, and rear trunk spoiler. Big 17-inch Pegasus alloy wheels sparkle. My Black
Sapphire Metallic tester had the super cool optional 18-inch titanium wheels ($995), shod
in high-performance Pirelli tires.
On the inside, the S60 R is peaceful and serene at well above the
freeway speed limit. The Volvo Danish Modern look is enhanced with extremely comfortable
full leather seats. My test car had the optional pumpkin-colored ATACAMA leather interior
($1,550), with contrasting blue stitching. The instrument panel gauges pick up that blue
in their faces with glinting metal rings around them, resembling giant Seiko watches.
The Volvo manual transmission shifts easily, but it does not, as in
most manual-equipped cars, have a leather bag around the stalk. Instead, the lever enters
into what appears to be one part of the surface of a silver sphere, of which only a small
part is exposed.
Driving the S60 R is really the best of both worlds. With its power
and control, it handles like a sports car, but with its bank vault solidity and
five-passenger capacity, its a fine family hauler. In the whispering quiet of the
interior, you can hear every nuance of the terrific audio system. My tester had the
optional 200-watt system with Dolby Prologic Surround Sound. It came as part of the $1,995
Premium Package, which also added a power glass sunroof. The Dolby Prologic wizardry makes
any CD sound like a live concert. It is one of the finest systems I have heard in quite a
The S60 R has plenty of other standard features, such as power
eight-way driver and passenger seats (the drivers has three-way memory, too). These
chairs also have front kangaroo storage pockets. The leather-wrapped steering wheel tilts
and telescopes for perfect positioning. The outside mirrors are power activated, heated
for defrosting, and can be set with the memory control. Theres a dust and pollen
filter for the air inside, and on the radiator, the PremAir system helps transform ground
level ozone into oxygen as you drive.
The Climate Package in my tester added heated front seats and a rain
sensor ($400.00.) Rain sensing wipers are a joy when the storm cant make up its mind
how much rain it wants to dump on your windshield.
The list price for the S60 R is $37,250, plus a $685 destination
charge. My tester had optional metallic paint ($450), the aforementioned Premium Package,
leather seats, Climate Package, and those gorgeous 18-inch wheels. The bottom line came to