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We drive Volvo's sexy S60

2010-10-28 14:16

Sergio Davids

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Volvo
Model S60
Engine T6 3.0l
Power 224kW @ 5600 rpm
Torque 440 Nm @ 4200 rpm
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Zero To Hundred 6.5 seconds
Top Speed 250
Fuel Consumption 9.9l (claimed)
Price R464 000

S60 - Driving
S60 - Overview

Volvo has enjoyed a loyal following and in recent years even managed to garner an image of being cool, courtesy of Hollywood bloodsuckers. Despite this, the Swedish automaker has always come across as timid, unble to excite drivers.

I've been driving the new Volvo S60 sedan and I promise: there’s nothing dull about this new sedan. The S60 has a wild side but knows when to stop…quite literally thanks to its pedestrian detection system.

The SA launch introduced three engine derivatives for the S60 in South Africa – 2.0T petrol (manual and automatic), 3.0 D5 diesel and 3.0 T6 petrol. More engines and model variants will launch in 2011.

Great looks

The new S60 is probably the most radically designed Volvo yet, with the exception of its R-design range. The S60 shirks off the “sensible but boring” look of the previous generation: agile, assertive, a sense that Volvo has at last come out of its design shell.

Monster T6 petrol

The flagship T6 petrol is deceivingly powerful. It’s pleasant enough to cruise around in but put your foot down and it’s transformed into hooligan courtesy of its 3.0 petrol engine producing 224kW at 5600rpm and 440Nm at 4200 rpm. The 3.0 engine is mated to a six-speed auto transmission.

Handling is superb, with the S60 able to handle any bend you put through almost daring you to be a little more adventurous…yes, a “Volvo” is making me want to be more adventurous.

RADICAL DESIGN: The new S60 has great looks coupled with Volvo's adherence to safety.

Diesel engines

The engine range includes two five-cylinder turbo diesels - D5 and D3. The D5 produces one of the best sounding diesel grunts courtesy of its 2.4 engine capable of 151kW at 4000rpm and 420 Nm at 3250 rpm . It comes with either manual or auto transmissions. Frugal, too, at 5.9l/100 km.

There's also a new 2.0 D3, capable of 118kW and 400 Nm.

New 2.0l engine

Volvo has improved the previous generation two-litre engin in the S60 and will be available with either manual and auto transmission. The 2.0 GTDi produces 149kW at 6000rpm and 300 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.

Still to come is 176kW variant of its 2.0 GTDi and a 1.6 GTDi in two versions: 132kW and 110kW.

All GTDi engines will be available with either a six-speed auto or six-speed manual transmission.

DRIVe Version

An 85kW DRIVe 1.6 will arrive in 2011 with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 4.3 l/100 km and CO2 emissions below 115 g/km. The DRIVe model will only be available with a six-speed manual gearbox.


Volvo continues to hammer home its “we make safe cars” image with the S60, borrowing much in terms of the safety technology its XC60 sibling and introducing a pedestrian collision detection system. This radar-and-camera system can detect pedestrians in front of the vehicle and will warn the driver. If the driver fails to take action and the car is travelling at speeds less than 35 km/h, it will will overide the accelerator and brake.

Try as we might we couldn’t run over Volvo's test dummy (named Bob). The system worked until Bob met a grisly end when a journo ploughed through him. The dummy-killer achieved this by decelerating to fool the system into thinking the driver was taking corrective action and then accelerating again.

INSIDE: The centre-console is angled towards the driver.

The S60's cabin presents everything you’ve come to expect from Volvo - simplicity coupled with style. The centre console is angled towards the driver and the controls are simple to use and intuitive. The T6 model has a HUD display which works with the numerous safety features to give visual and audible warnings to drivers.

Despite its great looks and pleasurable drive, Volvo will still have to tackle the brand-loyal South African market who won’t stray too far from the German trio. Unless you’re introducing something really special, which is exactly what Volvo has done.

Prices: Includes CO2 emission tax

2.0T Manual – R355 500 (R4800 emissions tax)
2.0T Powershift - R371 900 (R5475 emissions tax)
2.OT Powershift - R408 000 (R3450 emissions tax)
T6 Geartronic - R464 000 (R8325 emissions tax)

Engines to be added in 2011:

Petrol engines; maximum power/torque
T5    2.0     176kW;    320 Nm
T4    1.6     132kW;    240 Nm
T3    1.6     110kW;    240 Nm

Diesel engines   
D3    2.0    118kW;   400 Nm
1.6 D DRIVe    1.6    85kW; 270 Nm

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