Review: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Take Two

Posted on 16. Feb, 2011 by in Auto News

Judge me if you must, but when I think "naughty Swede," NSFW images of a blonde au pair in a slutty French maid outfit flash in my head. Therefore came to me a little odd that Volvo, long is the Birkenstock the car is known, would start running TV and internet ads calling the new S60 "naughty." What exactly is a naughty Volvo? As a former owner of a V70R, I had made for a Volvo to find out which.

Now that Volvo belongs to the Chinese, it seems that a new entrepreneurial approach works its way through Gothenburg. It's not a crazy new idea but an old: profitability. Apparently Volvo's new Asian masters want Volvo to actually have some cash, and to this end, a drastic reduction of the brand's U.S. lineup already underway. With a car austerity campaign underway, expect to see a few Volvo models on showroom floors, with the occupation of the S60 volumes leadership. This of course is the new Swede. In some serious competition with the likes of the Audi A4/S4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class Sweden's most popular sedan has what it takes?

Although the new S60 has grown compared to the outgoing 2009 model year, the competition has grown as well, so the cars safe from the land of ABBA are no longer a "half-step" between the vehicles from the German competition. With an overall length of 182 inches and a wheelbase of 109.3 inches, the S60 could even say that to be a "middle of the pack" contender. The 300hp twin-scroll turbocharged 3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic, the new S60 lands firmly on the top of the Euro competition (at least on paper). But makes the S60 "naughty"? Not quite.

The 2011 S60 carries a $ 37,700 base MSRP in T6 AWD trim ($ 30,975 for the newly announced T5 FWD model)., Which represents an increase of about $ 1,000 compared with the previous top-end S60 Fortunately, this is still relatively cheap in the euro segment, where competition in the form of the BMW 335xi starts at $ 43,100 and Mercedes C350 starts at $ 39,990 (especially if you pay attention to standard equipment). Volvo forum fan boys are all aflutter about continued price hikes Volvo. Unfortunately cheap Swede fans, the truth of the matter is Volvo must remain a premium brand in the U.S. to be profitable. Until we all buy Chinese built Volvos, labor costs in the EU is to position Volvo premium cost structure and premium brand.

Outside, the new S60 sheet is a departure from traditional Volvo's past, but still the strong shoulders of the outgoing S60 and some of the legendary Volvo two-box style. If it were not for the large trunk, the design could rival the original S80 posted the form for the most elegant Volvo ever, but as it is, passengers and observers were mostly undecided as to whether they like the new schnoz. Light guides in the rear light modules, subtle swoops across the wheel arches and a coupe-like C-pillar conspire to add a touch of modernity to the new S60, but as a whole, the new S60 is even more conservative than mischievous. Naughty? I'm not so sure, especially without the bright orange color of our tester came with. I'm also not sure, sassy sells cars, Audi latest cars carry the sheet is the "Midwest farm girl" of the auto industry and their sales are on fire.

While the exterior might be a starting point for Volvo, the interior is typical of the Nordic brand: quality parts, logically placed controls and subtle Scandinavian style. Volvo beginning of the 21st Century, with interiors that were class leader in the design and material, but in the last ten years, competition has developed and improved. While Audi may have little to fear, and I am sure that the next generation 3-series will continue to build on BMW the interior renaissance, offers the S60 materials an interior build quality is on par with the best of the Euro luxury market. How about the rest of the competition? Mercedes C-Class interior feels cheaper than the new S60 and the Acura TSX is cute, but the fake wood and plastic are just a mild step on the Honda line.

Anyone who is with Volvo's product portfolio feel at home in the right S60, such as interior decoration are largely borrowed from or be subtly tweaked versions of those in the S80. Formed by the seats Swede climate buttons to the large, easy-to-use dials, the resulting interior Volvo tradition of form and function are equally important. All controls are easily accessible and located quite logical. The only downer is the key fob slot on the right side of the steering wheel. If not for the $ 550 "PCC" choose key-less go choose option, your fob will need to be inserted into this hole while driving, so the rest of the buttons are free to beat on the dashboard ad nauseum. I understand the need to have a low MSRP, but really, since this construction, the PCC key should be standard.

Our test machine is proof that Volvo still loves the less pedestrian color combinations for the interior. In a world where Subarus are suddenly mainstream beige, we can only hope, Göteborg keeps the quirks and odd colors inside and outside. In a world gone bland world, they make Volvos all the more interesting. Unfortunately, the "Creamcicle" white / orange interior in some of the press is not an option in the U.S.. Too bad. Nevertheless, the orangeish-brown leather interior is striking when the shiny copper metallic paint our testers had accompanied. Naughty? Bring me that. Creamsicle interior or something in lime green and then we'll talk

If there is one area where the old S60 was severely lacking, it was the electronic gizmo department. The 2011 S60 may not be revolutionary, but it is quite modern. In addition to offering optional radar cruise control, lane departure warning and monitoring your alertness, but ultimately basic luxury features like Bluetooth, iPod / USB integration, satellite and HD radio comes standard. Speaking of audio, the base and up-level sound systems both provide excellent sound with the 12-speaker system Audyssey simply match the high-end systems from the competition in terms of clarity and beat-for-the-buck. The heart of the system is the all-new high-resolution 7-inch screen (standard in the U.S., other markets may get a standard 5-inch screen) is bright and clear, with well-designed graphics and intuitive, logical menus . The new system combines together audio, navigation and vehicle settings and is controlled by a button and knob on the center console or via a scroll wheel / button on the steering wheel.

The interface has proven to be quite appealing and delivers high-quality graphics, but with self-styled competition is the BMW 3-Series, I have to ask, why not pop a BMW Volvo-like widescreen display has it? Opportunities lost. However, it was the only thing. I found myself missing a broader range of voice commands to control audio devices, alá Ford Sync The Swedish rumor is, we should expect this same infotainment system, the XC60 in a mid-cycle refresh and S80/XC70 trickle sometime later. Meanwhile, the system offers a nice twist Volvo safety conscious reputation that makes it quite a bit of leeway to the infotainment system to play around while riding. Naghty? Maybe.

Speaking of gadgets, completes the list of the new S60 is Volvo's revised radar cruise control. The new system will now take you to a complete stop and hold the vehicle stopped, moved to traffic again. I tested systems from Lexus, Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Ford and Toyota, and oddly, the system in the new S60 is quite simply the best I have ever tested. Systems in cars will cost three times more than the S60 that does not work smoothly. Who knows what the programming wizardry been done under the hood electronic, but the system responds quickly and without drama, when a car cuts in front of you, it works pretty well on windy roads and not the same strange "lag" that some systems do not where they fall far short of the traffic when accelerating. Included with the radar cruise is a collision warning, you know, if you are tailgating and whether a punishment is imminent. The system we developed and unlike similar systems from Ford, we have never experienced a "false alarm" caused by windy mountain roads. A Volvo that can feet go free, now, cheeky.

You can not check a Volvo without consulting security. Latest of collapsible steering column, anti-whiplash seats and "anti-submarineing" guards Volvo's active safety systems intervene, if you fail, we can easily say that the safe and well-checked properly. The biggest improvement in the new S60 is City Safety and Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake. Personally, I think the system should be standard in all Volvo models, even if it means a higher strike price. If you recall, the previous generation City Safety system saved my bacon in the XC60 I reviewed last year, so I am confident that it do the same here. The S60 takes the system to the next level by detecting pedestrians while it big on 31-inch. While Volvo may act a little egg on their corporate face for the failure of the system in some recent demonstrations if the system keeps at least one person from plowing to little Jimmy running after a ball, then it is worthwhile in my book have. Strangely, I could stand a volunteer in front of the system, so that we could find to test it. Volvo is a safe naughty? No, but I'll take the safer car every day.

Heading out to the coast on Highway 1 a few times when I do. Hoping she could find the S60 inner demon Volvos in the past decade, far from slow, but lacked the commitment can be found in a BMW or Audi. When the road gets twisty, the new S60 delivers more than I, but less than would be expected forum fanboys hope. The S60 chassis is very stable, balanced remarkably well and provides very Familiarity. The available adjustable electric power steering allows you to adjust some heft to your steering, but regardless of which mode it is quite isolated. While the S60 will never be a 335xi, it will, in fact, the likes of the Audi A4 informed. The 3-liter turbo engine, our tester was equipped, is an eager and willing companion, as long as you put your foot in it. Fairly large throttle mapping and transmission programmed for efficiency a toll on the fun factor, if you are often willing to romp on the go pedal. Luckily the car is responding well to be whipped and easily yielded 5.67 seconds run to 60 every time they asked. Top speed? 130th Naughty? Not bad.

Speaking of these options, we talk pricing. Trim the base MSRP of $ 37,700 for the T6 AWD, to find the basic City Safety system, the car will only recognize (it will only Jimmy plow right through), dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and more safety acronyms than I ever seen in my life. Our tester was equipped with the $ 2,100 "Technology Package" Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Auto Brake, Pedestrian, Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control and Lane Departure Warning included. We also had the $ 2,700 multimedia package: up-level audio with 650 watts, 12 speakers, Dolby Pro Logic, the voice command navigation system and a rearview camera, $ 1,500 premium package including moonroof, passenger seat and steering Xenon headlights; $ 800 climate package, heated seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, headlight washers, rain sense wipers and contain an air quality system. The above packages met our $ 45,675 tester with a $ 875 destination fee.

While the BMW 335xi is faster and makes driving more fun, like it configured on the balance $ 56,375. The slower RWD only C350 Mercedes does not offer the range of features such as the S60 so it's hard to compare, but the S60 ends up being cheaper when similarly configured. Most natural competition for Volvo seems to be the Audi A4/S4, while the S4 is faster and stronger than the S60, the S60 is similarly configured almost $ 6,000 cheaper and the A4 2.0T lacks the zip for a similar price.

At the end of a week with the S60 I can honestly say that this is not at all new Volvo evil, but that's OK, because the car is designed for real people. It's not intrusive, even louder, and it does not scream ego. Instead, the S60 T6 AWD is an extremely competent sedan, priced well and offers impressive safety features. If an AWD sedan euro is what you are looking for, the S60 should be at or near the top of the list. The newly announced S60 T5 model perhaps. A better deal, because at just over $ 30,000 starting price, it delivers the style, many of the same features without the AWD and 300HP Volvo's new S60 looks ready for battle with the competition for another 8-9 years to do, we hope not to fight it alone for so long.

Volvo provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for the review.

Performance statistics as tested:

0-60mph: 5.67 seconds

30-60mph: 3.5 seconds

Average Economy: 24.5MPG