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S60 is Volvo's Sexy Sedan from the Swedish Icon

By Arv Voss, July 20th, 2013

The Volvo S60 is the best-selling vehicle in the Swedish icon's lineup. Volvo has long been recognized for manufacturing vehicles noted for their innovative safety technology, and the latest iteration S60 sedan not only continues, but also expands that long-standing tradition.

Manufacturer photo: The Volvo S60 continues to win praise for its breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics, advanced powertrains, innovative technology and tremendous value
Manufacturer photo: The Volvo S60 continues to win praise for its breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics, advanced powertrains, innovative technology and tremendous value

Visually, the S60 is best described as the Volvo with an attitude. Its design form is sleek and sexy. The clumsy, three box design that was a favorite of Volvo is gone forever. The sporty Volvo creates an ever-present sense of motion, whether parked or moving (this of course depends upon your personal taste. Some Volvo enthusiasts still prefer the look of the Volvo P1800, which was ahead of its time. Though in reality the S60 is a four-door sedan, it displays the look of a coupe.

The roofline is slender and dramatically curved for a coupe-like effect, emphasized by the blacked-out B pillars. The pronounced shoulder line consists of a sharp contour that creates a "double wave" stretching from the front to the rear. Up front, the dramatically shaped grille is flanked by V-shaped position lights sporting a prominent Volvo iron mark logo.

My drive in the 2013 S60 T5 AWD occurred in Utah, taking in the scenic wonders of the Rocky Mountains, with a visit to the Winter Olympic Park. The tester wore an exterior finish of Ice White with a Black and Brown interior. The base price was set at $31,750.

Traditionally, Volvos have only been thought of as being among the safest of cars and not as a sporty performance vehicles. The S60 changes that perception. Acceleration is rapid, shifting is smooth, the ride quality is compliant, without being either too soft or too harsh, and handling attributes are definitely sporty in nature and response, delivering crisp and nimble reactions.

Manufacturer photo: The Volvo S60 continues to win praise for its breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics, advanced powertrains, innovative technology and tremendous value

Inside, the S60 cabin envelops one in luxurious surroundings, featuring a state-of-the-art infotainment system. A standard Driver Control Interface manages information from the audio unit, navigation system and other functions, displaying them onto a high definition color monitor in the upper part of the center console. It allows the driver to explore the high-tech features of the car and personalize them to suit their needs.

All functions may be operated by a thumb-activated rotator located on the right steering-wheel spoke or via buttons on the center control panel located below the screen. A standard high-performance multi-media system includes a CD/DVD player, HD Radio, AUX and USB inputs, MP3 capability, 160-watt amplifier and eight speakers. Also included is Bluetooth hands-free phone interface with audio streaming and Sirius Satellite Radio.

The S60 T5's 2.5-liter, 250-horsepower inline five-cylinder engine improvements include an increased compression ratio from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1 and a reduction of internal friction. Those modifications, in combination with faster gear changes in sport mode, result in quicker acceleration from 0-60 mph of 6.4 seconds (previously 6.8 seconds) with standard front-wheel drive. When equipped with optional AWD the 0-60 time is clocked in 6.6 seconds.

A new trim level strategy has been developed, with the new Premier trim level including a power glass moonroof, leather seating surfaces, Keyless Drive with Personal Car Communicator (PCC), power passenger seat, auto-dimming rear view mirror and Accessory Prep cable.

A new Premier Plus trim level includes the Premier content, but adds active dual Xenon headlights, front and rear park assist, HomeLink remote garage door opener and compass in rear view mirror.

Manufacturer photo: The Volvo S60 continues to win praise for its breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics, advanced powertrains, innovative technology and tremendous value

A new Platinum trim level includes Premier Plus content, while adding Volvo's Premium Sound System, Navigation System with Voice Control and Map Care and rear park assist camera. The Technology Package gains Road Sign Information and Active High Beam.

Driving dynamics fall into three functionally designed categories: Standard is the Dynamic Chassis focusing on optimizing control and agility without diluting ride comfort. The Touring Chassis, available is for those who place a greater emphasis on comfort. The major difference between the two lies in the dampers and the front and rear subframes. Both setups provide exceptional ride and handling qualities, while the Touring Chassis has been tuned for a smoother ride on poor road surfaces.

Finally, Volvo's FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) active chassis is optionally available -- specifically modified to improve control and comfort. The system employs sensors that continuously monitor the car's behavior, adjusting the dampers in fractions of a second to suit the real time driving scenarios, allowing the driver to select from three different settings: Comfort, Sport and Advanced.

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