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Radical new Volvo S60 driven

2010-06-07 10:25
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Volvo
Model S60
Engine D5 2.4l five-cylinder
Power 151kW@ 4000 r/min
Torque 420Nm @ 1500 r/min
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Zero To Hundred 8.1 seconds
Top Speed 225
Fuel Tank 67.5l
Fuel Consumption 6.8l
Front Suspension MacPherson Strut, hydraulic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Rear Suspension Independent suspension, hydraulic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar

Sergio Davids

S60 2010 launch
S60 2010: Hans Nilsson

Volvo may have garnered a reputation for producing safe cars, but the Swedish carmaker has seldom been known for being sporty or brazen in terms of its vehicle design. With the launch of the all-new S60, debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year, Volvo hopes to change perceptions with a perfect balance of safety and sporty styling. To prove this, it has targeted one of the toughest automotive segments with this new model.


The new S60 has a radical design drastically shifting away from the more sedate styling seen on previous generations… Or any Volvo, for that matter. The sporty design delivers a visual promise of eager driving characteristics that becomes evident when driving the all-new sedan.

Volvo has shifted away from its modest styling for a more brazen look, rounder headlights and more dramatic lines compared to previous generations.

I really enjoyed the look of the new Volvo, as it is a vision of the great (visual) things to come from the brand, as seen in the updated C30 and C70 that both borrow design elements from the new S60. The car looks sporty, aggressive and gives you the sense that Volvo has come out of its design shell.

The only gripe I have with the S60’s new design is that the new technology had to strike a compromise between functionality and visual appeal. While looking at the front of the new S60 one can easily make out the square shape of the built-in radar and the nozzle-like front camera, though they’ve done their best to disguise it with a black grille.

New engines

Volvo launches this S60 with four different engines – two diesel and two petrol derivatives and plans to introduce a further four derivatives next year that will include three petrol engines; a 2.0l, and two 1.6l versions, alongside its 1.6 diesel DRIVe version.
The top of the range petrol 3.0 T6 derivative produces a hefty 224kW with a maximum torque figure of 440Nm. The top of the range diesel 2.4l D5 produces 151kW with a maximum torque figure of 420 Nm.

Driving the new S60 is a pleasurable experience as there is definite oomph beneath the bonnet all the while offering the driver a comfortable ride. I did however experience a slight degree of lag in all cars, although this was barely noticeable in the D5 and T6 versions.

The new diesel engines are superb and if you plant your right foot you are rewarded with an uncharacteristically amazing engine note.

The dynamic new chassis in the all-new Volvo S60 is backed up by a range of electronic systems that sharpen the driving experience even further.

According to Volvo, the S60 will be the first sedan on the market with Advanced Stability Control. Equipped with a new roll angle sensor, it is possible for the system to identify skidding tendencies at a very early stage and allow the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) to take over earlier with greater precision.

When cornering, the new S60’s inner driven wheel is braked at the same time as more power is transmitted to the outer driven wheel. This allows the driver to take the curve more tightly while reducing any tendency to understeer.


Inside, you’ll definitely get the sense that Volvo spent quite a bit of time designing the new S60’s interior. Controls are intuitively laid out while the centre console is tilted towards the driver.  Volvo has done its best to create pleasant atmosphere while retaining its “practical” heritage.

The S60’s new interior generally feels more extroverted than the simplified interiors of previous generations.

New technology

Volvo’s lane detection and collision detecting systems have been around for a while now – most notably it the XC60 – but the S60 introduces new technology in the form of its Pedestrian collision detection system. This radar-and-camera-based system can detect pedestrians in front of the vehicle and will warn the driver if a pedestrian were to walk in front of the sedan. If the driver fails to take action and the car is travelling at speeds below 35 km/h, the S60 will automatically brake.

Overall, Volvo has created an excellent vehicle with unique styling and great driving characteristics with a host of technological achievements behind it. What remains to be seen is how the S60 will fare against its German counterparts in one of the toughest vehicle segments. Pricing and specifications for the SA launch later this year have not been decided, but we could be looking at prices between R300 000 – R450 000 for the new S60.

S60 range at launch:

Petrol engines                   
T6          3.0         six-cylinder       224kW @ 5600; 440 Nm @ 4200r/min
2.0T       2.0         four-cylinder     149kW @ 6000r/min; 300 Nm @ 4000r/min

Diesel engines 
D5          2.4         five-cylinder      151kW @ 4000r/min; 420 Nm @ 3250r/min
D3          2.0         five-cylinder      120kW @ 2900r/min; 400 Nm @ 2850r/min

Engines to be added in 2011:

Petrol engines
T5          2.0         4-cyl in-line        177kW 320 Nm
T4          1.6         4-cyl in-line        132kW 240 Nm
T3          1.6         4-cyl in-line        110kW 240 Nm

Diesel engines 
1.6 D DRIVe       1.6         4-cyl in-line        85kW    270 Nm

Share your thoughts on the new S60 here!

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