The past several years have been exciting for Volvo and Volvo owners. The $11 billion investment and rebirth of the brand is unfolding. While the new XC90 has been grabbing the recent headlines, the Drive-E 60-series vehicles offer compelling new hardware and software for 2015.5.

Volvo has made minor changes since the 2011 introduction of the second generation S60. The 2014 model delivered a stylish exterior facelift. For 2015, while the five-cylinder and six-cylinder engines are still available, the Drive-E four-cylinder engines was introduced and they will become the only engines available as each Volvo model is redesigned on the SPA platform. Volvo’s new two-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family offers a blend of world-class drivability and low CO2 emissions. The Volvo S60 T6 with 302 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 2,100 rpm. Reaching sixty miles per hour is a brisk 5.6 seconds with quick shifts from the new Aisin Warner 8-speed automatic transmission. The S60 T6 is the first car in this segment that delivers over two horsepower per gram of CO2 solely from a combustion engine.

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“During the development phase of our Drive-E powertrains, we promised to bring efficient driving pleasure into a new dimension. The official European NEDC [New European Driving Cycle] certification now confirms that we outperform competitors when it comes to power versus CO2 emissions,” says Derek Crabb, vice president powertrain engineering at Volvo Car Group. With 302 horsepower and CO2 emissions at 149 g/km the Volvo S60 T6 becomes the first car in the segment that offers the driver more than two horsepower per gram of CO2.

Drive-E powertrains are developed in-house at Volvo’s R&D department in Sweden. Drive-E also is Volvo’s name for all innovations made to reduce the impact on the environment. The moniker encompasses everything from a sustainable, efficient and clean manufacturing process, along with the use of recyclable materials, to efficient and low-emission powertrains — without compromising performance.

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The new two-liter, four-cylinder T6 engine features both a supercharger and a turbo charger. Using the supercharger to fill in the bottom end torque gives the petrol engine a big, naturally aspirated feel. The mechanically linked compressor starts to function immediately at low revs, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up. “We have created a range of smaller, more intelligent engines with power curves that give exciting drivability compared with engines with more cylinders. At the same time we continue to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,” says Crabb.

The 2015.5 S60 T6 Drive-E starts at $39,000.00 and comes with a 48month/50,0000 mile limited warranty. Complimentary factory scheduled maintenance is available for the first three years or 36,000 miles. Our tester was equipped with the Platinum package for $3,750. Platinum includes a very nice sounding Harmon Kardon Premium Sound system, Active Dual Xenon headlights, the Technology package: Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection w/ Auto Brake, Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control Lane keeping Aid, Active High Beam, Road Sign Information and the convenience Package: power retractable exterior rear-view mirrors, grocery bag holder, rear park assist camera and accent lighting.

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There are many useful features offered in the Platinum’s Technology package. Safety conscious will appreciate the numerous safety features. I found the road sign information to be a fascinating option. At the moment the vehicle passed a speed limit sign, the small symbol on the dash changed immediately. The Active high-beam option was very sensitive to on-coming traffic. There were a few times that I wanted to activate the high beams and opted to deactivate the automatic feature in preference to the traditional pull of the stalk.

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Our S60 tester model came with the optional 19-inch BOR diamond cut wheels with sport chassis for $900. The BOR wheels are one of Volvo’s best-designed wheels to date and look ideal on the S60. The sport chassis, the same as the R-Design, lowers the S60 slightly giving it an athletic profile yet still delivers a comfortable ride. The Sport package includes an attractive black headliner, paddle shifters and aggressively bolstered, Beechwood Brown leather seats. We’ve enjoyed Volvo seats for years and not since the 2004-2007 P2 R models have the side bolster shapes been so aggressive. In fact, these optional sport seats are more aggressive, supportive and comfortable than the P2 R seats. Volvo has taken their industry famous seat comfort to a new level.

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The $1,550 Climate package offered front and rear heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles and the Interior Air Quality System (IAQS). The heated steering wheel is new and welcomed on cold winter mornings. However, the heated windshield was met with mixed results. For quickly removing morning frost, the heating elements are welcome but for those who will only use this feature once or twice a year, the heating element lines may be distracting during night driving and in inclement weather.

The 2015.5 model year also brought several additional enhancements to the interior. A very attractive, frameless review mirror is a subtle yet distinctive change. There are a few new buttons located on the center stack. Sensus Connect offers AT&T 3G Internet connectivity and while not the fastest connection, we were able to simultaneously check email and watch a few cat videos on YouTube on multiple iPads during the long holiday drive. We did not have any issues connecting our iPhone 5S and 6 via Bluetooth.

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While driving the S60 it is important to note that the engine sits transversely which leads to a safer setup during crashes but this also affects how the car handles. When pushed hard into a turn the weight over the front wheels will cause the S60 to push into the turn. This is typical of a front-wheel drive vehicle. Overall handling is quite good, especially with the optional Sport suspension and 19-inch performance tires but for the enthusiast driver, aftermarket upgrades may appear on a birthday wish list.

At idle, the four-cylinder sound is new and noticeable with direct-injection at each cylinder. Volvo’s start/stop technology, ECO+ driving mode helps improve fuel economy in city driving and while a coasting feature that disconnects the driveshaft with steady highway cruising. Fuel economy is rated at 24mpg city and 35 mpg highway. My experiences around the Washington DC Metro area yielded a 26mpg average for the week.

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We drove the V60 T6 AWD R-Design and the S60 T6 Drive-E back to back and while they have many similarities there is no denying the smooth delivery of the six-cylinder turbo. The four-cylinder future is here and the potential for a 400hp third generation S60 is very exciting. The 2015.5 S60 T6 Drive-E is a very good sedan delivering a balance of power and fuel efficiency. The Scandinavian design looks elegant and unique from its competition. The recent launch of the S60 Cross Country has made the S60 model more robust than ever. It is a good time to stop by your local Volvo dealer and take advantage of the 2015.5 offers.

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Would I recommend buying the 2015.5 S60 T6? If you do not need AWD, and are looking are in the market for a safe and sporty daily driver than delivers solid performance with decent fuel economy, absolutely yes. The seats are the best in the automotive industry for extended drives and we have driven in 10 hour stretches without back or leg discomfort.

Sensus Connect is still a young product with room to grow and more integrated apps would be nice. I really enjoy Spotify and it is not available so I need to stream through my iPhone, which sounds fine, just not an optimal solution. Here is a breakdown of the subscription options after the complimentary periods:

1. Sensus Connect with Volvo on Call- pricing ($200 to $600 for plans ranging from 18-54 additional months, beyond the complimentary six months for new customers) - includes Roadside Assistance

Sensus Connect with Volvo On Call is a subscription service featuring the Volvo On Call smartphone app that puts you in constant contact with your Volvo. The service also provides security since it includes roadside assistance, emergency help, theft notification and stolen vehicle tracking.

The Volvo On Call smartphone app includes vehicle diagnosis details, including Engine Remote Start, Car Locator, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Vehicle Dashboard, Car Alerts, Journal Log, Vehicle Information, Subscription Information, Stolen Vehicle Tracking, Alarm Notification and Remote Vehicle Immobilization.

2. Roadside Assistance - "On Call" button on the ceiling - $89.99/year after the free 4 year period.

3. Sensus Connect In-Car Apps with AT&T Data Plan pricing (complimentary for the first six months for new customers; pricing for subscriptions beyond the first six months is being determined and will remain complimentary for those users finalized) - Various in-car infotainment apps for non-vehicle-related items, including the navigation apps, Yelp, Pandora, Park & Pay, Glympse, and others. The built-in modem utilizes 3G data connectivity with service provided by AT&T for the apps’ and Internet access. Users can also utilize their existing smartphone’s/tablet’s data connectivity to power the apps’ and Internet access via wired tethering and/or Bluetooth tethering (iPhone only).

My gripes with the S60 are small. The lack of sufficient rear leg room is top on the list. This has been addressed with the 2016 S60 Inscription (formerly known as the S60L). The additional three inches of leg room makes a tremendous difference. I would also like to see better fuel economy around town with Drive-E. Real-world results are still mid-to-high 20s and that is just a little bit better than what Volvo has been doing for the past 15 years with most of its cars based on my experience owning numerous models. Many factors contribute to fuel economy and driving in Sport mode all the time does not help, it is just so much more fun!