Like all modern Volvos, the S60 is designed with a very aggressive, almost rakish profile. Almost no design cues are carried over from boxy Volvos of old, and there is a lot in common with the design language of the carmaker’s more recent cars like the XC60. Yes, the strong shoulder line and the chrome diagonal on the grille are still there, and the S80’s coupé-like roofline is retained as well. But this is clearly a new design direction and it works superbly. We also like the way the nose of the car is tipped slightly forward too, giving it an aggressive stance.
The S60 was engineered when Volvo was part of Ford and, as a result, the car is built on the same EUCD platform as the Mondeo. The steel monocoque chassis uses MacPherson struts up front and multiple links at the rear, and the engines are located transversely, placed well back in the engine bay for better weight distribution. Using a Ford platform is no bad thing, especially if you want a car to ride and handle well. And Volvo claims this is its best driving car ever, its engineers having made a number of improvements to the S60’s chassis. These include a stiffer front sub-frame, stiffer strut mount tops, stiffer bushes, a 10 percent quicker steering rack and a new steering column that’s twice as rigid.
The petrol T6 also gets a Haldex four-wheel-drive system, which has a combined rear differential and clutch. Incorporated into this system is a unique ‘torque vectoring’ system, which works in conjunction with the yaw and roll sensors of the ESP or stability control program.
As soon as some understeer is detected, the torque vectoring system sends more power to the rear wheels so that the car can be pointed into the corner more easily. The idea is to use power rather than brakes to bring the car back in line. Weight distribution on the diesel front-wheel drive, however, is more skewed to the front, upto 62 percent of the weight resting on the front wheels.
Volvo, in all probability, makes the safest cars in the world and while this car is its entry saloon in India, the S60 comes with a suite of safety features, some of them unique to this car, which could shame even a Merc S-class (see box). And all that safety kit at this price
A shocking omission, however, is the lack of a spare tyre or run-flat tyres. At least BMW’s run-flats allow you to get to your destination at a reduced speed. Volvo only provides a puncture repair kit, not much use if you get a slashed tyre wall, something that’s quite common in India.