The S60 wears a stylish and elegant design that clearly demonstrates Volvo's desire to move up a notch on the market. It is characterized by slender A- and C-pillars, features that improve its looks while noticeably increasing visibility.
Following the sweeping roof line to the back end of the car reveals boomerang-shaped tail lamps and a tall trunk lid. The S60 is far from the newest model in its competitive set - an all-new model is coming next year - but its soft, flowing lines have aged gracefully.
Offering room for up to five passengers, the S60 features a well-laid out cabin that puts a big emphasis on comfort and ergonomics. It is equipped with an innovative floating center console that frees up space for a small storage bin behind concealed behind the climate control buttons.
The S60 offers 12 cubic feet of trunk space with the rear seats left up. Carrying long items such as skis is a breeze thanks to a pass-through integrated into the rear arm rest.
All S60s regardless of trim level come standard with a dash-mounted seven-inch color touch screen that runs Volvo's Sensus infotainment system. Sensus groups the car's connectivity and entertainment and navigation (if equipped) into a single easy-to-use unit that can also be controlled with buttons and voice command. The screen also displays images in cars equipped with a rear-view camera, and gives the driver access to a host of menus that provide vital information about the car.
Under the hood
The base S60 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at just 1,500 rpm. Named T5, it spins the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available at an extra cost.
The next engine up is called T6 in Volvo-speak. It's a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four rated at 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The T6 engine is exclusively offered with all-wheel drive.
Finally, speed junkies can order the S60 Polestar, which adds even more performance with a 362 horsepower, 347 lb-ft of torque version of the T6's four. In conjunction with a specially-tuned eight-speed automatic, that power is sufficient for the all-wheel-drive Polestar to sprint from zero-to-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
To keep the extra muscle in check, the S60 Polestar features 80 percent stiffer springs and uprated Ohlins shocks. New brakes - with ventilated discs measuring 14.6 inches up front and 11.8 inches at rear - sit behind 20-inch model-specific wheels.
Standard and optional equipment
The S60 comes standard with LED daytime running lights, a six-month subscription to Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, milled aluminum trim, a 60/40-split rear seat, a power moonroof, power-adjustable front seats, a memory function for the driver's seat, leather upholstery, front sport seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 18-inch alloy wheels, and Xenon headlights.
The list of options includes the Vision Package, which bundles a blind spot information system, rear parking sensors, cross-traffic alert, a rear-view camera, and a HomeLink transceiver, among other features.
Buyers can also pay extra for the Navigation / Harman Kardon package, which brings - you guessed it - navigation and a Harman Kardon sound system.
Standalone options include all-wheel drive, metallic paint, heated front seats, and keyless drive.
Volvo offers two special variants of the S60: the Inscription and the Polestar.
Manufactured in China, the S60 Inscription features a wheelbase that has been stretched by three inches. The extra space benefits the passengers sitting in the back.
The Polestar is the hot rod of the family. Passerby can distinguish it from humbler S60s by its unique front and rear splitters, along with a rear spoiler and diffuser, additions that also serve to increase downforce and improve aerodynamics. The cabin benefits from Polestar-specific materials and colors in addition to a sportier steering wheel and seats.
Volvo and safety are almost synonymous so it's no surprise that the S60 comes with a long list of active and passive safety equipment. All S60s feature dual front, side and side curtain airbags.
A tire pressure monitoring system and a Whiplash Protection Seating System (WHIPS) both come standard.
Additionally, all models regardless of trim level feature Volvo's City Safety function which uses a laser sensor to automatically trigger the brakes at low speeds if a pending impact is detected.
Noteworthy competitors in the crowded premium mid-size sedan segment include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the BMW 3 Series, and the Cadillac ATS.
The long-wheelbase Inscription has no true rivals. It can be cross-shopped against the regular S60's competitors, which are smaller and offer less legroom, or against sedans a class up -- like the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class -- which are much bigger and more expensive.