When Volvo's all-new VOLVO S60
goes on sale this September, the initial offering will be the top-tier $38,550 T6 with all-wheel drive, 300-horse turbocharged I-6, and six-speed automatic. Volvo, evidently, wants to launch its fresh midsizer with a decided bang. And why not? When replacing its top-selling model, Volvo
would be wise to put its best (and most potent) foot forward. And, lest we forget, its best-looking foot, too.
The 2011 S60, 1.0 inch longer, 2.4 wider, and 2.2 taller, somehow manages to appear sleeker and tidier than its predecessor. Chalk it up to Volvo's new "emotionally charged" coupelike silhouette and overall "racetrack" appearance, which refers to the exterior lines' continuous and organic flow, supposedly mimicking vehicles in motion. Whatever's taking place on the sheet metal is working -- the new VOLVO S60
is as stylish as it is safe.
Inside, the design renaissance continues. Volvo's trademark floating stack, adorned in standard Shimmer Graphite inlays or optional Urbane Wood, now resides front and center, bringing the S60's HVAC and infotainment housing up to date with the brand's other models. Amply bolstered front sport seats are standard, and rear-seat passengers get 2.1 inches of additional legroom. Available options include a $2700 Multimedia Package (backup camera, premium audio, navigation with traffic updates and seven-inch screen), a $1500 Premium Package (moonroof, power passenger seat, bi-Xenon headlamps with active bending), and a $2100 Technology Package (adaptive cruise control/lane departure warning/distance alert, collision warning and Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake). For those hauling kids, the VOLVO S60
also offers an $1800 rear entertainment system with dual DVD players.
We recently had the opportunity to sample the T6 in Lisbon, Portugal, and found it to be the most refined, most alluring VOLVO S60
ever. Most fun? Well, besides last-gen's racy R model, the "most fun" label has to go to the new, front-drive 2.0T (in which we snuck a drive while other international journalists were breaking for cappuccinos). Now before you dismiss the 2.0T as a model we Yanks will never see, rest assured that it, or the even more powerful T5, will most likely make its way to American shores for the 2012 model year. But more on the 2.0T and T5 later.