Smooth, sleek, American? Volvo reveal suave new S60
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It appears that shifting at least part of their production to America hasn't cost Volvo any of their knack for scribbling together a superb-looking sedan.
The manufacturer today made a dual announcement. They unveiled their new manufacturing plant in Charleston, California — Volvo's first in the United States — and they revealed the new Volvo S60.
It's the third generation of S60, replacing the faithful second-gen model that became rather famous in these parts for its popular (but short-lived) campaign in the Supercars Championship in the hands of Scott McLaughlin among others.
Little about how the 2019 S60 looks will come as a surprise. From its curvy predecessor, designers have elected to move to a more chiselled and mature shape. All in all, it's still Volvo through and through; from the 'Thor's Hammer' headlights to its trademark subtle-but-sporty demeanour and stance.
The interior too is very typical of current-day Volvos, with oddly-shaped air vents, 4G capability, a portrait-mounted nine-inch infotainment system (lifted from the XC60), and a distinct love of squares all making an appearance.
Note that the S60 shares the same SPA platform with the V60, XC60, XC90 and S90 models — effectively ensuring that it's going to be one of the safest cars in its class. Among its arsenal of safety tech is Volvo's Pilot Assist system, one of the growing number of level two autonomous systems on the market.
It's in the engine department that the S60 is perhaps most controversial. Depending on your view, it's either good news or the end of an error to see the S60's line-up not include a single diesel option. This is something we've been acutely aware of, given that Volvo confirmed the S60 wouldn't have a diesel variant back in May. It's the start of a trend that is scheduled to continue through the rest of the Volvo range.
In the absence of a diesel, the S60 will be offered with an engine-set familiar to the V60 line-up. These include the T5 and T6 petrol engines, capable of developing 186kW and 235kW respectively. And they're joined by a pair of plug-in 'Twin Engine' hybrid alternatives — one turbocharged and one supercharged.
These plug-ins are what's most likely to suck in enthusiast buyers. The T6 Twin Engine makes 253kW of power, while on the flipside the T8 Twin Engine nearly cracks the 300kW barrier — with peak power output of 298kW. And those wanting even quicker Volvos in their stable can tick the box for an optional Polestar package on the T8 that equips it with better brakes, suspension, and more power at 309kW.
“The new S60 is one of the most exciting Volvo cars we’ve ever made,” said Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson.
“It is a true driver’s car that gives us a strong position in the US and China sedan markets, creating more growth opportunities for Volvo Cars.
“The active chassis and drive modes deliver excellent control and an engaged performance that makes this a driver’s car. It also brings the acclaimed technology from our 90 Series and other 60 Series cars into this segment, making it one of the best sports sedans on the market.”
We'll be the judge of that when the S60 lands in New Zealand. But, given their current roll of top-notch cars, expect the S60 to excel.