The Volvo S60 R boasts the tenacity of the Audi Sport Quattro, the high-speed stability of a Porsche 911, the grunt of BMW's M3 and the interior elegance of a Range Rover. In a steel-clad nutshell, the Gothenburg-based manufacturer has built a car that can pretty much do anything, go anywhere and do it in a style that is unmistakably Volvo.
In the pursuit of a "driver's car," Volvo engineers pulled out all the stops, beginning with its active performance chassis, a highly advanced system that imbues the suspension with three distinct settings: comfort, sport and advanced sport. Designed in conjunction with Oehlins, it uses highly evolved electronically controlled dampers to temper body movement in relation to road surfaces. The car's awd system is based on a Haldex driveline and funnels the power to the wheels that can best use the torque. But the real magic behind this hardware is the software that helps control it. Volvo has designed the S60 R with brains that allow an unprecedented amount of control. Want more rear-wheel bias for some tail-out oversteer? Just press the dash control. Or let the Volvo figure things out on its own as DSTC and TRACS will step in and apply brake and power to negotiate the most efficient route through the turns.
Although the R's inline five is getting long in tooth, Volvo engineers have given it new life via revised internals, twin intercoolers and a larger turbo. With 300 bhp and 295 lb-ft of torque (available at 1950 rpm), the S60 R is the most powerful car Volvo has ever released. Gigantic Brembo brakes, 17- or 18-in. wheels with Pirelli P Zero Rossos, and a brilliant six-speed manual (or five-speed automatic with Geartronic) complete the car's athletic frame. And the understated yet elegant body lines penned by Peter Horbury appear designed to withstand the test of time.
Inside, the S60 R is distinguished by three levels of trim, topped with gorgeous Atacama leather, brushed aluminum, blue-metal gauges, three-spoke sport steering wheel and matching stitching throughout. Add the best sound system from Harmon/Kardon and you've got a stellar cabin.
Ten years ago Volvo surprised the world with its T5 R Sportwagen. Prepare to be shocked by the S60 R.
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