Swedespeed Project S60 T6 January 2012 Update
Jan 11, 2012 - 10:01:53 PM
In November, our long-term, Ember Black S60 made the trip from Michigan to Washington D.C. for a new perspective. Driving several hundred miles a week, we crossed over the 11,000-mile mark and we are happy to report, no issues or unexpected service visits. At a recent holiday party, I was asked to sum up the vehicle in one word and my immediate response was, “impressive.”
We have owned several P2 platform Volvos including our 2003, 2007 XC90s and our 2004, 2006 V70Rs. I can see, feel and hear the improvements. Our 2006 V70R with the six-speed manual transmission was a raw, fun vehicle, especially with an aftermarket tune but if we take a step back and be honest with ourselves, the T6 with the Polestar tune out performs the P2 R. Additionally, no longer does Volvo lag behind the competition with infotainment, as it did in the P2 Rs. The features within Sensus integrate iPod and Bluetooth better than previous attempts. Yes, there is room for improvement, but this the first generation and we look forward to watching Sensus advance the user experience.
The S60’s suspension with the optional 18-inch wheels is surefooted over various road surfaces and diverse qualities of Northern Virginia and DC. Gone are the rattles or unusual creaks, and pops from plastics that I have noticed in previous generation Volvos. The Haldex AWD system plants each of the 325hp to the ground in a very effective manner. If you put your foot to the floor, the T6 comes alive and the S60 launches stronger than the P2 R.
Even though the winter has been mild, morning temperatures dip down into the 30s and 40s. The days of winter were fast approaching and the stock 235/40 18 ContiSportContact 3 tires started to reveal degrading performance. The design and tire compounds are engineered to provide maximum dry pavement performance above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The tires became hard and we would experience lumpy ride for five to ten miles until the tires warmed. Knowing our drive from Virginia to the Detroit Auto Show may include bad weather; we made a call to Volvo and discussed our options.
We learned that Volvo has a very nice Tire Advantage Program ensuring the best safety, performance and comfort for your Volvo. The program includes original equipment tires best suited to your vehicle, competitive pricing on all major brands, 24-month road hazard protection, convenient one-stop tire solution, installation and inspection by Volvo-trained technicians. Winter weather will test driver patience and vehicle components. Properly inflated tires will help prevent safety and performance issues. Have your local Volvo retailer check your tires for proper pressure and tread depth. A dusting of snow can make the commute home challenging if your tires don’t have the necessary tread depth. Volvo recommends replacing your tires at 3/32”. Volvo trained technicians will inspect and provide recommendations to keep you Volvo performing like new. We are impressed with the Tire Advantage Program and we recommend contacting your Volvo retailer before one of the big box tire stores.
The winter tires selected for our T6 are the Yokohama W.drive tires. Yokohama’s carbon compound is designed to sponge away water on icy surfaces via its unique capillary action. Then, their proprietary tread design works in conjunction with the natural rotation of the tire to expel the remaining water—providing performance and control. After a few hundred miles, I can report that the W.drive performances similar to an all-season tire. The recent mild temperatures revealed the W.drive’s excellent dry weather performance and no road noise increase as compared to the original tires. Pushing the tires at speed on a sweeping exit ramp reveals a cornering performance limitation as compared to our summer tires. When we experience the worst winter has to offer, we will be putting Yokohama’s asymmetric tread design, advanced compounds, 3-D sipes, and high-drainage grooves to task. We are looking forward to the first significant snow fall and will report additional feedback in our next report.
The decision for some owners may be "Do I really need snow tires instead of a good all-season?" Many drivers in the Metro DC area discovered during 2010’s Snowmagedon, roads can quickly become impassible. Mid-Atlantic drivers with all seasons could commute from the office through an inch or two of snow, but dedicated snow tires are a must for drivers in hilly, snow country. A dedicated snow tire combined with Volvo's Haldex AWD system will make snow driving safer, and offer peace of mind that our family members can make it home from snowy destinations. Visit your local Volvo retailer and utilize the Volvo Tire Advantage Program for your Volvo.