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For decades, Volvo has made an excellent business of pushing safety above all else. But what happens when things change, when every car has countless airbags, crumple zones and stability control; when seatbelts aren’t just standard equipment, but not wearing them is a ticketable offense; when Mercedes-Benzes are stopping themselves and BMWs can see in the dark? In this world, the one the new 2011 Volvo S60 will enter when it goes on sale in the US in September, a premium midsize sedan simply needs to do more. Luckily, Volvo’s latest and most important sedan learns a number of new tricks without forgetting its roots...

FULL REVIEW

GALLERY
 

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Hello

Nice review from Swedespeed

Commenting on;

"S60 North American brand manager, Frank Vacca, says that its characteristics didn’t match up well to the T6."

This in reference to the Powershift transmission.

That doesnt really add up to be honest.

The original S80 T6 has manual cars as development models but Volvo decided the character of the S80 T6 was suited to an automatic. This was a rapid but large, luxury car and not an R variant. Of course, Volvo could have pushed the S80 in that direction as per other sporty large cars since 1999.

Saying the Powershift isnt suited to the T6 suggests somehow the Geartronic is suited but that is contradictory to the fact the S60 is the sportiest Volvo ever. You can't push the sporty tag line and then say the car is suited to an auto. I think this is just to say something when there isnt a manual and the Powershift isnt ready.

You're right about the manual version. Indeed, volumes are too low to justify it even if the majority of that small % who want the manual frequent websites such as this and make it seem there is a massive demand.

I think it is more likely that the RNC, RN, D5 family and SI6 Powershifts arent ready yet. When the original Powershift was launched, Volvo even then said larger versions for the larger engines were in the works. Given the fuel consumption benefit, Powershifts will replace the current automatic gearboxes eventually.

VAG's DSG boxes come under a lot of critisism for rough changes up to 2nd, down to 1st or 2nd and also into reverse (even on brand new models, not just older ones). Whilst a concern of an automated manual box, hopefully Volvo-Ford-Getrag (three way co-development) have got it right. For the larger Volvo engines, that's a pure Volvo-Getrag project. Careful design and software can make a Powershift smooth so as to unworrying replace the potentially silky smooth fluid automatics (potential re depends which supplier it comes from!!).

Wet or dry cluthes and the electro or electro-hydraulic actuator of the Powershift are the key to getting good shifts. Once mature and refined these should replace conventional automatics across the product line.

The R design should step the S60 on another level and dealer installed ECU updates as options as per my comments here

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...ollaborate-on-Special-Edition-V70-T6-R-Design

would give you a R with very little effort.

Come on Volvo!!! (and launch the C30R whilst you're there too).
 

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In the meantime, Volvo has been without what should be its highest-volume model since August of 2009.
Very nice write up.

I agree without a doubt that the S60 should be their highest volume model. But at least in the US, hasn't Volvo's highest volume model been the XC90 for most of the past years? In the rest of the world, isn't it the XC60 followed by wagons? What happened to that last company that sold volume SUVs, Hummer? In the US, I don't ever remember the S60 topping the XC90. And now, the dinosaur XC90 has been over thrown by the XC60, probably because of the lack of an S60. IMO, Volvo really needs this S60 to succeed. For all of it's major competitors, SEDANS have always been their volume sellers. They stick to their core and they don't ever jeopardize that core. Volvo's past history shows they don't stick to one model. Unlike Volvo's competitors, in the US, I think Volvo's top volume model has changed three times in the past decade. Volvo makes something, maybe gets lucky with a winner, then forgets about it and moves on. I really hope that Volvo shows us they won't make this mistake again, and that they keep the S60 alive with regular updates, and not just forget about it and stick it in a corner for a several years while they go work on other stuff.

One of my concerns with the S60, is with the very first model they're releasing here. After reading all the moans and gripes from other members about the Rs being cancelled, and constantly reading from the Volvo insiders that the Rs don't sell, the very first S60 model we're getting is for all practical purposes, essentially an R priced just short of an R. Actually, isn't it even better than an R, except for the lack of manual? And that's now suppose to sell A LOT more than any previous R ever did? For the record, I don't care about the Rs. I just want a "fun" car. In some ways, this new S60 is a bit more than that. Volvo should have just labeled this an R and in many ways, it would maybe have made the car look more like a bargain. Would have made for more interesting marketing with the return of the R. But then again, wouldn't it still just be a bargain R that supposedly not enough people were interested in buying before?

It will be very interesting to see how Volvo prices a more entry level S60, what engine will it get, and will it still at least deliver "enough" performance.

I really do agree with your one point about the upgraded stereo needing to be it's own option. After the interior that I don't really like, that's the second reason why I will probably be passing over on the new the S60. It just gets too expensive too fast.
 

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Hello

You can't push the sporty tag line and then say the car is suited to an auto.
really, go tell that to the guys at AMG. The thought process that sports cars have to have a stick are antiquated. the only problem with the Powershift is that it is a multipurpose tranny used in eco to performance applications...Geartronics were sourced as performance purposed trannys and they get the job done.
 

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Very nice write up.

I agree without a doubt that the S60 should be their highest volume model. But at least in the US, hasn't Volvo's highest volume model been the XC90 for most of the past years? In the rest of the world, isn't it the XC60 followed by wagons? What happened to that last company that sold volume SUVs, Hummer? In the US, I don't ever remember the S60 topping the XC90. And now, the dinosaur XC90 has been over thrown by the XC60, probably because of the lack of an S60. IMO, Volvo really needs this S60 to succeed. For all of it's major competitors, SEDANS have always been their volume sellers. They stick to their core and they don't ever jeopardize that core. Volvo's past history shows they don't stick to one model. Unlike Volvo's competitors, in the US, I think Volvo's top volume model has changed three times in the past decade. Volvo makes something, maybe gets lucky with a winner, then forgets about it and moves on. I really hope that Volvo shows us they won't make this mistake again, and that they keep the S60 alive with regular updates, and not just forget about it and stick it in a corner for a several years while they go work on other stuff.

One of my concerns with the S60, is with the very first model they're releasing here. After reading all the moans and gripes from other members about the Rs being cancelled, and constantly reading from the Volvo insiders that the Rs don't sell, the very first S60 model we're getting is for all practical purposes, essentially an R priced just short of an R. Actually, isn't it even better than an R, except for the lack of manual? And that's now suppose to sell A LOT more than any previous R ever did? For the record, I don't care about the Rs. I just want a "fun" car. In some ways, this new S60 is a bit more than that. Volvo should have just labeled this an R and in many ways, it would maybe have made the car look more like a bargain. Would have made for more interesting marketing with the return of the R. But then again, wouldn't it still just be a bargain R that supposedly not enough people were interested in buying before?

It will be very interesting to see how Volvo prices a more entry level S60, what engine will it get, and will it still at least deliver "enough" performance.

I really do agree with your one point about the upgraded stereo needing to be it's own option. After the interior that I don't really like, that's the second reason why I will probably be passing over on the new the S60. It just gets too expensive too fast.
Good points, a couple of rebuttals / observations.

1. Volvo hasn't forgotten successors to XC90, etc. They haven't had any money to build them.

2. You are 1000% correct that Volvo needs this car to succeed big time. IMO, the whole company is riding on it .

3. OSD should be able to get you the stereo separately, but it's silly that you have to get the Tech package to get it. MB, Audi and BMW package it separately. Having said that, $2,700 for the package is a good deal compared to all those options put together on competitors cars. Not a screaming deal, but cheaper.

4. Entry level S60 - I'm going to bet that it'll have a 250 HP T5 (the old 5 pot T5, not the new 2.0 4 cylinder). Considering that an A4 with the 2.0 and 211 HP is adequate, I would think this will work fine.

5. All cars in this class get expensive fast. Try pricing an A4 with automatic and see how quickly you're into the mid-40's with similar options.

Really, really a shame that the transmission's goig to be this car's weak point. For me, that's a deal killer. I'm tired of automatics that are unresponsive, slow to lock up and feel like they are sapping power. My next car will not have a transmission like that, whether it's a manual, a DSG or a "better" automatic. Let's just hope this is pre-production and better tuning can help it along. I have my suspicions....
 

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really, go tell that to the guys at AMG. The thought process that sports cars have to have a stick are antiquated. the only problem with the Powershift is that it is a multipurpose tranny used in eco to performance applications...Geartronics were sourced as performance purposed trannys and they get the job done.
Yes, but look at what the guys at AMG do to their autos...they rip out the torque converters and replace them with a multi-plate clutch pack. And in the SLS, they have a DSG.

So Auto & sport? OK. But a good auto...not a slushbox.
 

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Yes, but look at what the guys at AMG do to their autos...they rip out the torque converters and replace them with a multi-plate clutch pack. And in the SLS, they have a DSG.

So Auto & sport? OK. But a good auto...not a slushbox.
on later AMGs, yes, but not on earlier AMGs, and they are still good cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the great comments guys, I think there are a lot of good points in there. In regards to the decision to launch the T6 here first and not call it in "R," I actually think Volvo did the right thing. When common consumers see the "R" badge, they might feel like they're paying for a bunch of performance and styling they don't really care about. The S60 T6 has performance and pricing that puts it with the best in its class, and it really won't ride too harsh for those people who might otherwise be scared away if this were badged as an R car. R-design coming soon and a chip tune should satisfy the people who want that extra bit of sportiness, while the T6 as it is should be excellent for everyone else. If it isn't consistently Volvo's top seller once the supply coming in stabilizes, I'll be really surprised.

Found this chart interesting. Pretty sure "Showroom Equipped" means automatic and a package or two. Weird they left out the Infiniti G37 though, since it is both more powerful and cheaper.
 

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"but the car’s North American brand manager, Frank Vacca, says that its characteristics didn’t match up well to the T6. Don’t expect a manual transmission to show up later, either, since Volvo estimates it would only account for about four percent of the product mix. "

I guess this means the end of Volvo's in my life, which dates back to a 1964 544 Sport B18 (manual transmission)!

I just can't believe Volvo would turn its back on $144,000,000 in sales (Using Volvo's numbers, 90,000 car sales estimate, 4% of sales on a $40,000 vehicle). The profit on these sales is something that can not easily be dismissed. Especially when the "rabid" manual fans on this forum would most likely be the early purchasers. Maybe the Volvo execs think that these "rabid" fans will cave in and buy the Geartronic vehicle. I highly doubt it! Maybe a DSG but not the GT. So these "rabid" fans will end up at another marque and sales 101 always says it is easier to retain customers then getting them to switch from another brand. So these customers and their hundreds of million dollars in sales are lost. What a great business decision??? Especially when there are relative easy options, such as producing manual transmission cars for the NA market periodically as a special edition (maybe once every three years) that would keep these "rabid" fans and there dollars in the fold. It is not like Volvo is not making MT cars for sales elsewhere! Another option is having the MT cars available for Overseas Delivery only, no need to tie up dollars in inventory. But I guess the decision has been made, and it is NO!

Since I learned that the S40 was not going to be replaced and the C30 is slightly too small and the MT was being dropped in the C70, I was so looking forward to the new S60, but I guess when it is time to retire my current Volvo's it will be hello Audi, BMW, Infinity, Saab, Volkswagen or maybe even a Suzuki Kizashi, because both my wife and I would rather drive a econo-box with an MT than a S60 with a GT (we are real "rabid")!
 

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Thanks for all the great comments guys, I think there are a lot of good points in there. In regards to the decision to launch the T6 here first and not call it in "R," I actually think Volvo did the right thing. When common consumers see the "R" badge, they might feel like they're paying for a bunch of performance and styling they don't really care about. The S60 T6 has performance and pricing that puts it with the best in its class, and it really won't ride too harsh for those people who might otherwise be scared away if this were badged as an R car. R-design coming soon and a chip tune should satisfy the people who want that extra bit of sportiness, while the T6 as it is should be excellent for everyone else. If it isn't consistently Volvo's top seller once the supply coming in stabilizes, I'll be really surprised.

Found this chart interesting. Pretty sure "Showroom Equipped" means automatic and a package or two. Weird they left out the Infiniti G37 though, since it is both more powerful and cheaper.
who cares, that chart is garbage and completely subjective. Anyone can tell that just by then putting a feature up there that none of the others has. And yes the G37 is in many ways a better car, can't have that on the bunko chart.

at this juncture, an R badged car is going to require over 350hp. 300 is the benchmark these days, set by BMW ad Infiniti.
 

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Great review! I'm eagerly waiting for the PowerShift and MT variants to arrive to North America, specifically Canada. I'd hate buying a S60 with the current 6 speed auto if it's as bad as it sounds. Plus, the car shouldn't be marketed as the "sportiest Volvo ever" without having such an advanced transmission offering.

who cares, that chart is garbage and completely subjective. Anyone can tell that just by then putting a feature up there that none of the others has. And yes the G37 is in many ways a better car, can't have that on the bunko chart.

at this juncture, an R badged car is going to require over 350hp. 300 is the benchmark these days, set by BMW ad Infiniti.
I agree that chart is garbage. Numbers tell only half the story. The other half comes from actual testing and driving feel and what not.

I disagree that the Infiniti G37 is a better car. My dad has the G37S Coupe and it's fast and quick and everything. HOWEVER, the ride quality is terrible when you're driving around in the city and on roads that's less than perfect. Fuel consumption is terrible too.
 

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My friend's parents have a G35x....when they went to test drive it a few years back they said it was the best car compared with an AUDI or BMW or whatever else they test drove. They primarily drive all japanese vehicles....well his dad caved in and they are waiting on a 335ix...when they test drove that, he said the BMW made the G35 feel "Japanese"....hopefully this car will be solid enough for volvo ....just remeber the 850 R never had MT...hopefull the GT trans will do
 

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4. Entry level S60 - I'm going to bet that it'll have a 250 HP T5 (the old 5 pot T5, not the new 2.0 4 cylinder). Considering that an A4 with the 2.0 and 211 HP is adequate, I would think this will work fine.
I sure hope so. And that it can at least deliver 0-60 performance in the high 6s. And have good fuel economy.

5. All cars in this class get expensive fast. Try pricing an A4 with automatic and see how quickly you're into the mid-40's with similar options.
This is where I think Volvo is in a bind. I've been keeping on eye on used A4s and most A4s I see are the base AWD models that are already very well equiped and that appear to be satisfying the majority of buyers. This is almost $4k cheaper than the S60. I agree that once you do start checking off options, it gets expensive fast, but at least Audi does give a lot more individual items to check off. Even getting an A4 premium plus with the upgraded stereo, and I'm only 1k more expensive than the S60, but I'm getting more of what I want, NOT what volvo wants to sell me.
 

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Great review! I'm eagerly waiting for the PowerShift and MT variants to arrive to North America, specifically Canada. I'd hate buying a S60 with the current 6 speed auto if it's as bad as it sounds. Plus, the car shouldn't be marketed as the "sportiest Volvo ever" without having such an advanced transmission offering.



I agree that chart is garbage. Numbers tell only half the story. The other half comes from actual testing and driving feel and what not.

I disagree that the Infiniti G37 is a better car. My dad has the G37S Coupe and it's fast and quick and everything. HOWEVER, the ride quality is terrible when you're driving around in the city and on roads that's less than perfect. Fuel consumption is terrible too.

well unless you spring for 4C I seriously doubt this "Dynamic" suspension will be better that a G37.
 

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In regards to the decision to launch the T6 here first and not call it in "R," I actually think Volvo did the right thing.
Since the majority of models sold are usually base models, and the previous gen (and even their closest competitor, the A4) base model price was low 30s, I just don't see that it makes sense to release an almost $6000 more expensive model first.

Given that Audi CANCELLED the 6cyl A4 for lack of sales, I wonder how well Audi would have done if two years ago the first new A4 released had been ONLY the A4 6cyl premium plus. I wonder how well buyers would have initially accepted for whatever temporary time frame, a $6000 more expensive A4.

I sure hope the base S60 isn't far behind.

When common consumers see the "R" badge, they might feel like they're paying for a bunch of performance and styling they don't really care about.
So Volvo is hoping ENOUGH consumers will pay the extra (BECAUSE OF all that extra performance and styling) but at the same time assuming they won't actually care about that extra stuff and that they're just going to buy the car anyways at the initial entry price? I still think Volvo should have just shown that off, since it is there, even emphasized it. R-design is the joke IMO. Paying a premium just for looks. Now Volvo has both, but they're downplaying it.

Also it goes both ways. I see CitySafety, Volvo goes out of it's way to make sure I'm aware of it, and I do feel like I'm paying at least $1000 more than I should be and I don't have a choice. If it was an option, I'd bet the majority of buyers would not be getting it, including me.

I'd gamble there's a bigger market of consumers willing to buy into performance than are willing to buy/be forced into safety.
 

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I wouldnt say never to the S60 T6 manual seeing that Volvo wasnt going to sell the V8 XC90 in the UK due to perceived lack of demand and the costs of developing a RHD model. But, market influence meant the UK got the V8.

How about the missing XC70 AWD D5? That came in the end?

The C30? Wasnt even on the cards when the SCC was launched but the buzz at the motorshows got the design centre to commission proposals before the board or product planning had even thought of making a small car.

The fact Volvo says the R range isnt on the cards and yet the S60 was focussed on offering the most sport Volvo ever and it offers 300bhp and AWD..... R design kit and that's a replacement for the last R, more focussed from the start and I think and less compromised.

Volvo isnt deaf to comments and feedback from the market

Re the Powershift being an economy focussed tranmission, dont see that at all Pattyweb as automated manuals arent exactly foreign to Ferrari, Lambourgini etc
 

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This review has me really pumped to get this car. I've been driving a 330xi for the last 5 years and can't wait to get out of it. It's fun to drive but man is the suspension stiff. With 4-C I'll be able to dial in the sportiness or pop it into comfort and cruise. So pumped for this car. Volvo definitely appears to have nailed this one.
 

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I sure hope so. And that it can at least deliver 0-60 performance in the high 6s. And have good fuel economy.



This is where I think Volvo is in a bind. I've been keeping on eye on used A4s and most A4s I see are the base AWD models that are already very well equiped and that appear to be satisfying the majority of buyers. This is almost $4k cheaper than the S60. I agree that once you do start checking off options, it gets expensive fast, but at least Audi does give a lot more individual items to check off. Even getting an A4 premium plus with the upgraded stereo, and I'm only 1k more expensive than the S60, but I'm getting more of what I want, NOT what volvo wants to sell me.
Remember, the first A4 out was the 3.2, the 2.0 came later, I believe.
 
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