What is the Volvo S60?
The third-generation Volvo S60, which reached the UK in spring 2019, is the Swedish brand's compact upmarket saloon.
- Top speed: 145mph
- 0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
- Fuel economy: 35.3-39.8mpg
- Emissions: 152-155g/km of CO2
- Boot space: 442 litres
Which versions of the Volvo S60 are available?
The S60 range is currently very small with only a single trim level and engine combination, but expect new variants in due course.
The sole bodystyle on offer is the aggressive-looking four-door Volvo S60 Saloon – we’re not expecting a repeat of the curious S60 Cross Country version that appeared late in the lifecycle of its predecessor.
So far the only engine available is the 250hp T5 petrol, but T4 and T8 plug-in hybrids are expected before the end of 2019, along with a B5 mild hybrid.
One thing you won’t find in the S60 is a diesel engine – Volvo’s decided not to offer them in its US-built saloon, despite them being sold in the V60 estate and XC60 SUV versions.
Before long the S60 range will be fleshed-out with Momentum, Inscription and R-Design trim levels, each with a better-appointed Pro version available, but for now we’re restricted to the R-Design Edition to mark the launch of the Mk3.
What is the Volvo S60 R?
Volvo has so far only sold one dedicated high-performance version of the S60 in the UK and that was based on the Mk1.
Badged Volvo S60 R, and propelled by a 300hp 2.5-litre turbocharged engine, it was cosmetically distinguished from its siblings with a longer front bumper complete with a more protruding grille, unique paint options and R-specific alloy wheels.
More powerful versions of later models have been sold, such as the Mk2 S60 Polestar, but this wasn’t sold in the UK – even though the V60 version was.
Volvo S60 styling and engineering
Clearly following Volvo’s styling theme established in 2014 with the Mk2 XC90 SUV, the third-generation S60 is arguably the most aggressive evolution of it yet.
Self-evidently a four-door, booted version of the V60, the S60 looks lither and more athletic than the luxury-focused S90 range. To many eyes, the styling of the S60’s rear end is far better resolved, too.
Underneath the bodywork is a version of Volvo’s SPA architecture that underpins all 60- and 90-suffixed models; consequently, S60s will be available with front- and all-wheel drive.
Is the Volvo S60 good to drive?
One thing we appreciate about how Volvos perform is that they don’t try and emulate their German rivals, although the S60 is the sportiest handler of recent models from the brand.
Comfort is given priority over sheer dynamism – it’s enjoyable, but in a different way.
As with other Volvos, that level of comfort can be amplified by specifying the adaptive suspension option, and avoiding the larger-diameter alloy wheels. They might look impressive, but the negate the compliance of the ride quality.
How much does the Volvo S60 cost?
Given that it’s so far only available in a launch specification guise that’s well appointed, it’s rather pricey. Significantly less expensive versions, however, should arrive later.
The S60 should otherwise be significantly less expensive than its key rivals, when it comes to finance options, which could make make it a good proposition – one of those rare instances where you’re not buying an inferior product by paying less for it.
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Volvo S60 Model History
Second-generation Volvo S60 (2010-18)
The Mk2 Volvo S60 was based on the company's P3 platform, and followed on from the XC60 – arriving in showrooms a few months before the V60 did. .
Petrol and diesel versions were offered, along with all-wheel drive (AWD) on a selection of versions, but no high-performance iteration for the UK despite an S60 Polestar being offered elsewhere.
That distinctive front-end, with the daytime-running lights mounted on the flanks of the grille, was normalised in a 2014 facelift. This, unfortunately, resulted in a nose that looked like it had melted in the sun.
More of a diversion came in 2015 with the arrival of the S60 Cross Country – a sort-of crossover saloon. Perhaps answering a question nobody had asked, it was quietly withdrawn the following year after sales that barely registered.
First-generation Volvo S60 (2000-09)
The original S60, which arrived at the end of 2000, was a striking-looking four-door saloon that also had a larger estate counterpart – the Volvo V70. However, the same platform, mechanicals and styling were also found in the larger S80 saloon.
In theory, the S60 was a smaller replacement for the old 850 Saloon and was theoretically better positioned to rival the A4, 3 Series and C-Class. Nevertheless, it remained a bit of a left-field choice.
While it was no BMW M3 rival, the Volvo S60 R nevertheless gained a loyal following when it appeared in 2013. All S60s were also given a facelift in 2015, which introduced a dash more chrome to the exterior details.