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Viking style for local Volvos

2011-03-15 07:41

PLENTY OF CHOICE: Volvo’s new R-Design package will be available on an amazing 22 derivatives of the S- and V60 model ranges.

Volvo is best known for producing family cars with impeccable safety levels but the Swedish brand has always had a wild streak of sorts.

From its halcyon rally days with the striking P1800 coupe in the 1960's to the inexplicably successful 850 station wagon British Touring car racer it campaigned in the 1990's, Volvo has competition heritage – no doubt about it.

Now the automaker has released R-Design upgrades for each of the 22 S60 and V60 models recently launched in South Africa.

Although the R-Design package does not include an engine upgrade there are some neat styling trinkets inside and out. Volvo’s chassis engineers have recalibrated the suspension, too, with the aim of finding a perfect median setting between comfort and track-certified dynamic responses.

Unpacking the R-Design package you get a redesigned grille up front (filled in with hexagonal-pattern mesh), colour-coded surfacing (contrasted by matte-finish door mirrors) and five-spoke d18" alloy rims. All things considered, the R-Design cars are not really that distinct in terms of styling from their series production siblings.
Inside Volvo’s replaced the standard 60-series seats (which are superbly comfortable) with firmer sports seats. The steering wheel is R-Design specific too, as are the pedals and mats. Equipment levels remain unchanged.


Beyond the (negligible) styling and cabin trim upgrades, the R-Design package does add some subtle engineering touches to improve the cars' dynamic driving experience.The engine is untouched but if you lift the bonnet of one of these new R-Design cars you’ll notice a strut brace running between the suspension strut towers – signalling Volvo’s intent to stiffen the body structure.

The most pronounced changes are made to the individual wheel oscillation behaviour and stability intervention systems.

Volvo’s engineers have cut a coil or two off each spring, resulting in a ride height reduction of 15mm and 15% greater individual wheel rebound resistance. Harmonising these new, firmer springs are monotube dampers which combine the compression and return damping in a single valve actuation – thereby enabling responses nearly twice as quick as traditional twin-tube dampers, reducing body roll at speed.

The greatest depreciator of any dynamic driving experience is overzealous stability intervention system interference and to this end Vovlo’s electronic engineers have reprogrammed the R-Design cars to operate with greater benevolence towards on-the-limit driving behaviour.

Volvo’s corner traction control system retains its torque vectoring (by braking the rear inside wheel when cornering at speed), yet the combined dynamic stability and traction control systems feature a selectable setting with a greatly reduced intervention threshold.

Engineers promise these new R-Design models all have the capacity to oversteer when provoked. It must be said that with most of the cars being front-wheel drive (only the headline 224kW models are all-wheel drive) that provocation would have to be of the suicidal throttle lift and steering-wheel yanking variety.

THOR’S WAGON?: Is Volvo’s V60 in 224kW all-wheel drive T6 R-Design form a car without rivals?…

Volvo will offer R-Design upgrades for an array of engine options.

Only the 224kW turbocharged in-line six T6, or 177 and 149kW incarnations of the company’s turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder engine can really do the R-Design package justice.

It really is quite challenging to justify the case for those 18"wheels and the strut brace engine bay upgrade when it concerns the 110kW 1.6-litre T3 or Volvo's D3 and D5 diesel models. For some buyers though, these less powerful R-Design cars will have a showpony appeal all of their own.

Do you enjoy distinctively Scandinavian auto design? With peerless safety features and enhanced handling responses? Well, then these new R-Design cars could make a lot of sense to you. Still wish they would sign-off a production order for this one though…


Volvo S60 R-Design derivatives

T6 AWD Geartronic R-Design - R489 300
T5 Manual R-Design - R405 000
T5 Powershift R-Design - R421 400
2.0T Manual R-Design - R380 700
2.0T Powershift R-Design - R397 200
T4 Manual R-Design - R356 800
T4 Powershift R-Design - R374 200
T3 Manual R-Design - R332 600
D3 Manual R-Design - R377 400
D3 Geartronic R-Design - R391 300
D5 Geartronic R-Design - R433 200

Volvo V60 R-Design derivatives

T6 AWD Geartronic R-Design - R499 900
T5 Manual R-Design - R415 500
T5 Powershift R-Design - R431 600
2.0T Manual R-Design - R391 300
2.0T Powershift R-Design - R407 300
T4 Manual R-Design - R367 100
T4 Powershift R-Design - R384 600
T3 Manual R-Design - R342 900
D3 Manual R-Design - R387 900
D3 Geartronic R-Design - R402 100
D5 Geartronic R-Design R443 600

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