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Volvo Builds 2012 S60 T6 R-Design for Driving Enthusiasts

By Arv Voss, December 3rd, 2011

For 2012, Volvo introduces its newest S60 model -- the T6 R-Design -- the latest in performance for the venerable S60 midsize sedan.

The T6 R-Design sits lower and sports a firmed-up suspension for enhanced driving dynamics. This all-wheel-drive S60 also delivers more horsepower along with an increase in torque.

The T6 R-Design is the cream of the Swedish crop whose power is harvested from powerful 3.0-liter, turbocharged/intercooler inline six-cylinder that pumps out an impressive 325 horsepower at 5,400 rpm while producing 354 lb.-ft. of torque in a range from 3,000 to 3,600 rpm.

The heightened power level of the R-Design S60 comes from performance tuning of the Engine Control Module provided by Polestar, the Swedish racing and performance products company partnered with Volvo. The AWD model features Volvo's Instant Traction that gears power to the driven wheels through Volvo's six-speed automatic Geartronic transmission with driver adaptive mapping and Sport Mode.

Along with the R-Design's engine enhancements, the chassis team was assigned to further refine the sedan's ride and handling characteristics. The goal was to bolster the dynamics without compromising the comfort level.

The other 2012 Volvo S60 trim levels include the $31,150 T5 powered by a 2.5-liter, turbocharged/intercooler inline five-cylinder that generates 250 horses and 266 lb.-ft. of torque, and the $37.900 T6 AWD with a 3.0-liter version that makes 300 horsepower while generating 325 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 2012 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design is artfully elegant and a pleasure to behold with its smooth flowing lines -- no more Uncle Olaf's box school of styling. It is also a pleasure to drive -- or to simply be a passenger in for that matter. It is exceptionally well balanced and extremely stable and planted in virtually every driving scenario.

There's plenty of horsepower and torque instantly on call -- more than enough to please the avid enthusiast. The transmission operates smoothly and efficiently, whether set in automatic mode or shifting manually. It is a true sports sedan, at home in both urban and suburban settings.

The handling characteristics are indeed sporty with on-center feel and positive input and the ride quality is firm but never offensively harsh. Throttle steer is highly effective in more spirited situations. During my racetrack drive opportunity with the Volvo, I entered one decreasing radius turn a little too hot, initiating a four-wheel drift, but my trusty S60 R-Design pulled me instantly back on course simply by lifting on the throttle.

The T6 R-Design displays an imposing redesigned lower front fascia featuring a grille painted in glossy piano black. Distinctive twin exhaust tailpipes are incorporated within a sporty rear exhaust baffle, and Unique R-Design five-spoke 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels emphasize the car's overall sporty stance and purpose.

There are several enhancements to the interior to further differentiate the R-Design from the regular T6. Sport seats envelop both the driver and front passenger with highly supportive backrests and an all-new seat cushion with deeper side bolsters.

The test vehicle sported the exclusive Passion Red exterior finish and black interior with a base price set at $42,500. Options included the $800 Climate Package and the $2,700 Multimedia Package with Volvo's Premium Sound System. The S60 T6 AWD R-Design comes standard with the Premium and Dynamic Packages as standard (a $1,500 value).

Specifications

Base price $42,500 (as tested: $46,875)
Displacement 3.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 17.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 325 at 5400 rpm
Motor type 24-valve turbocharged 6-cylinder
Overall length 182.2 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 354 at 3000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD midsize sedan
Wheelbase 109.3 in.
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