The Volvo S60 is a premium mid-size sedan that serves more in the way of luxury and performance than ever before as it guns for well-established upscale rivals from Germany and Japan.
For the latest model year, the S60 gains a new long-wheelbase model called Inscription.
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.
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.
In standard, front-wheel-drive form, the entry-level T5 is powered by a new turbocharged 2.0-liter "Drive-E" four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. With the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission, it returns 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
Opting for all-wheel-drive requires the substitution of a six-speed automatic and a 2.5-liter straight-five engine with 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. This configuration is good for 20/29 mpg.
The base T5 comes standard with central locks, remote keyless entry, torque vectoring, LED daytime running lamps, rain-sensing wipers, a multi-function steering wheel, dual-zone electronic climate control SiriusXM satellite radio, an eight-speaker sound system and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Premier trim level adds keyless start, bright trim pieces around the windows, a power glass moonroof, a configurable thin-film transistor (TFT) screen in the instrument cluster, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, an eight-way power adjustable passenger seat and leather upholstery. It also gives buyers access to a host of options that cannot be selected with the base trim.
Next up is the Premier Plus trim level. Building upon the Premier model, it gains a Homelink garage opener, a compass in the rear-view mirror, a grocery bag holder, a quick-fold passenger seat and a rear-view camera.
The T5's list of options includes a wide palette of metallic paint colors, wood trim on the dash and the door panels, heated front seats, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and bi- Xenon headlights with washers.
The front-wheel-drive S60 T6 comes standard with a turbocharged and supercharged version of the new 2.0-liter four that shifts through an eight-speed automatic and churns out 302 horsepower along with 295 lb-ft of torque. Mileage is rated at 24/35 mpg.
A sport-tuned suspension, torque vectoring and a reworked chassis enhance handling for the T6.
The base T6 comes standard with a power moonroof, puddle lights, rain-sensing wipers, a configurable TFT screen in the instrument cluster, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, sport seats, shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel, an eight-way adjustable passenger seat, an auto up/down function for the front windows, aluminum trim on the dash and on the door panels, leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.
The next model in the lineup is the T6 Premier Plus which gains a Homelink garage door opener, a rear-view camera, a grocery bag holder and a compass in the rear-view mirror.
The range-topping T6 Platinum features auto-dimming and retractable exterior mirrors, accent LED lighting inside, a 12-speaker premium audio system with a DVD player and navigation.
The list of options includes bi-Xenon headlights with washers, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, heated front seats, metallic paint colors and an accessory prep cable.
The S60 R-Design boasts 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. of torque thanks to a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six. Power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. Fuel economy checks in at 19/28 mpg.
The R-Design stands out from other S60s thanks to a unique front fascia with a glossy black front grille, twin exhaust pipes and model-specific 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the R-Design offers bespoke sport seats with more bolstering, off-black leather with contrast stitching, a sport steering wheel and blue dial-style gauges.
A strut tower brace adds stiffness to the chassis while monotube dampers improve the ride quality. Shortened front springs lower the R-Design's ride height by about half an inch.
Standard equipment includes bi-Xenon headlights, heated exterior mirrors, a moonroof, mirror-mounted puddle lights, a multi-function steering wheel, a compass in the rear-view mirror, eight-way adjustable front seats and speed-sensitive power steering.
The R-Design Platinum trim adds auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a rear-view camera, interior accent lighting and navigation.
The list of options largely mirrors the S60 T6's. Extra-cost equipment includes a rear-seat entertainment system, heated front seats and several metallic paint colors.
Manufactured in China, the S60 Inscription features a wheelbase that has been stretched by three inches.
Front-wheel drive models ship with the aforementioned 240-horsepower turbo four and an eight-speed automatic transmission, and buyers who need all-wheel drive have to order a 2.5-liter five-cylinder rated at 250 ponies.
The Inscription is offered in Premium and Platinum trims. It comes generously equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, a rear-view camera, walnut wood trim, power sunshades, coat hangers, and additional sound deadening material for a quieter ride.
Building off of the S60 R-Design, the Polestar adds even more performance with a 345 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque version of the straight-six. In conjunction with a specially-tuned six-speed automatic, that power is sufficient for the all-wheel-drive Polestar to sprint from zero-to-60 mph in 4.7 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.
Passerby can distinguish the Polestar 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.
Only 120 examples of the Polestar will be built.
Volvo offers four different option packages for the S60.
Available on all models, the Climate Package bundles features such as heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield and the automaker's Interior Air Quality System.
The Technology Package consists largely of driving aids such as Volvo's Pedestrian Detection technology. Cable of of detecting when a collision with a pedestrian is imminent, the system automatically triggers the S60's brakes to prevent an impact.
Other package highlights include Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Distance Alert, Lane Departure Warning and active high beams. S60s equipped with the Drive-E engine also get Lane Keeping Aid as part of the package - it uses a camera to keep tabs on lane markings and applies brake torque to get the sedan back on track if it begins to wander into an adjacent lane.
The Blind Spot Information System package adds a blind spot warning system, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Merge Aid and front and rear park assist.
An available Park Assist Pilot system automatically steers the S60 into a parallel parking spot while the driver controls the gearbox, gas pedal and brake pedal.
Finally, T5 buyers can order the 18" Sport Package. It includes shift paddles, a dynamic chassis, 18-inch alloy wheels and sport 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.