Volvos front-wheel-drive S60 sedan is slotted between the companys entry-level S40 and top-of-the-line S80; it was launched for the 2000 model year. Based on the S80s platform, the S60 bears a family resemblance but is shorter in wheelbase and overall length. An all-wheel-drive (AWD) model joined the S60 sedan lineup in 2002.
For 2004, a 208-horsepower, 2.5-liter light-pressure-turbocharged five-cylinder replaces the prior 197-hp 2.4-liter engine. A less-potent 2.4-liter five-cylinder serves as the base engine, while the turbocharged 2.3-liter in the T5 edition produces 247 hp. The mirrors have been redesigned to reduce wind noise, new 15-inch alloy wheels are installed, and new ZF rack-and-pinion steering is used. A new instrument panel features watch-bezel gauge surrounds, and the flip-style key has integrated remote control.
Volvo introduced a high-performance S60 R sedan and a comparable V70 R wagon at the Paris Motor Show in September 2002. Ford Motor Co. owns the Swedish automaker.
A surprisingly curvy shape for a Volvo gives the four-door S60 the look of a coupe. In fact, Volvo calls it a coupe with four doors. Styling themes include a low hood, sloping rear roof pillars, and short front and rear overhangs. Volvos hallmark square grille is more compact in this installation; it is flanked by aerodynamic headlights.
Five people fit inside the S60. A split, folding rear seat expands cargo capacity beyond the trunks 13.9 cubic feet. Standard equipment includes power windows with automatic up/down operation, a CD/cassette player, a tilt/telescoping steering column, dual-zone air conditioning and a remote keyless entry system. Leather upholstery is optional.
Under the Hood
Four inline-five-cylinder engines are available for regular S60 sedans. A 2.4-liter produces 168 hp in the 2.4 model, while a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine develops 208 hp in the 2.5T and 2.5T AWD. Farther up the performance scale is the T5s 247-hp, turbocharged 2.3-liter, which drives a five-speed manual or optional Geartronic five-speed-automatic transmission. Buyers can choose a manual shift or a regular five-speed automatic with the 168-hp engine. The 208-hp inline-five comes only with automatic, but a Geartronic transmission that includes a manual-shifting provision is available.
Volvos comprehensive safety package includes side-impact airbags and whiplash protection for the front passengers, side curtain-type airbags that protect front and rear occupants, and antilock brakes. Volvos Dynamic Stability Traction Control electronic stability system is standard on the T5 and optional on other S60 sedans.
Built for high-performance operation, the S60 R sedan holds a 300-hp engine and features a Four-C adaptive chassis, along with Servotronic steering, Brembo brakes and Haldex all-wheel drive. The S60 R went into limited production early in 2003 as a 2004 model. Both the S60 R and a comparable V70 R wagon were introduced to the U.S. market at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2003.
The 2004 S60 Rs 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder engine produces 300 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque; it drives either a five-speed-automatic or six-speed-manual transmission. Three driving modes are available: Comfort, Sport and Advanced Sport.
Superior construction tops the list of S60 attributes, and refinement is the next word that comes to mind. The turbocharged engines are quiet and produce eager and energetic performance, albeit in a modest manner. Even though the S60 rides smooth most of the time, it lets quite a few road imperfections get through to occupants because of an undeniably taut suspension. But the driver feels in complete control.
The tires adhere smartly to the pavement. Confident steering demands some effort, so this isnt a car that can be driven lazily. Automatic-transmission response varies from smooth to a bit abrupt, depending on the throttle position and road speed.