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September 27, 2002
By: Brent Romans

Edmunds.Com S60R/V70R Comments/Paris


What Are They?
2003 Volvo S60R and V70R

What's Special About Them?
At the 2000 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile, Volvo showed off its Performance Car Concept (PCC), a juiced-up version of the S60 Sedan. This year, the company made it official: there will be a production version called the S60R. A V70R will also be made available.

Both cars are fitted with turbocharged five-cylinder engines. Currently, the top-line T5 trim's 2.3-liter engine makes 247 horsepower. With the R models, displacement is up by 200cc and a bigger turbocharger has been fitted, as well as twin intercoolers. Max power is listed at 300 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 293 pound-feet of torque from a range of 1,950 to 5,250 rpm. Your choice in transmission is either a five-speed automatic with Geartronic, or a six-speed manual. With the six-speed, 0-to-60 mph acceleration is said to take just 5.4 seconds.

Like the PCC, the S60R and V70R come with Four-C, Volvo's advanced suspension system. Using a variety of sensors, Four-C continually monitors vehicle behavior and driver input. It then adjusts the shock absorbers up to 500 times a second. The benefit, according to Volvo, is an excellent ride quality during casual driving and maximum performance potential during spirited cornering. Also included is an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system similar to the system on the S60 AWD, though it has been optimized for performance, rather than off-road ability.

Other features on the R models include improved braking systems and more dramatic styling. Previous high-performance Volvos usually had just different wheels and exterior colors to distinguish them. With the R, there are larger front air intakes, available 18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler on the S60R. Inside, Volvo has added special leather seats and unique trim. Expect to see the new R models in dealerships by Spring 2003

Why Should You Care?
Most luxury sedan makers, and particularly the European ones, are moving towards expanding their performance car offerings. Certainly, one need look no further than BMW's M brand and Mercedes' AMG to see the potential benefit in image.

Though it's unlikely that the S60R will be able to match the outright performance of the M3 or C32 AMG, its four-wheel system and Four-C suspension should give it added stability and security. Meanwhile, the V70R should appeal to those wanting high performance combined with wagon versatility. Taking the kids to school in a V70R would be quite the adventure.

High-performance all-wheel-drive cars have traditionally come from Audi and its S-branded A4 and A4 Avant. And, at this year's Paris show, Audi debuted its new 2003 344-hp S4. So, S4 or S60R? The decision is yours.

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