Volvo probably isn't the brand that first comes to mind when the word 'performance' is uttered, unless you're talking about their performance in the realm of automotive safety. But with the new S60, there's whiffs of something sporty in the air that have been notoriously absent from the safety-first Swedish brand.
Credit the R-Design trim for this. Unlike the Momentum and Inscription models, the R-Design uses exclusive suspension tuning as well as paddle shifters to change the dynamic of the S60 from that of a cossetting, luxurious sedan to one of more sporting and eager pretensions. Get it in T6 or T8 trims and the included all-wheel drive helps better balance the car while also mitigating any nose-heavy sensations that can be common to front-drive cars. If cornering shenanigans aren't to your taste, try the more comfort-oriented suspension found in non-R-Design cars, which offer a softer and suppler ride.
All available engines are 2.0-liter four-cylinders matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the forms of forced induction differ for each choice. Starting things off is what Volvo calls the T5, a turbocharged mill that makes 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Though it's the least powerful, the EPA estimates it returns a thrifty 24 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway, and 28 combined, making it one of the more fuel-efficient luxury compacts out there.
Up next is the T6, which is both turbocharged and supercharged. Utilizing both forms of forced induction should deliver more power in a smoother manner than the turbo-only T5, and indeed, this motor in action in the XC90 or S90 has proven exactly that. In the S60, this motor puts out 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and fuel economy checks in at 21/32/25 mpg (city/highway/combined).
Highest in prestige and power is the T8, which takes the T6 configuration and adds two electric motors. This plug-in hybrid system uses the electric juice to crank out an impressive 400 hp and a whopping 472 lb-ft of torque. The T8 setup isn't available until after its siblings launch, and the EPA hasn't tested its fuel economy.
Once we drive the new S60, we'll be back to report on it's driving dynamics and real-world performance.