Steady evolution

2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E First Impressions

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E First Impressions

Summary Rating: 84%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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Las Vegas, NV -- If you manufacture and sell luxury cars, there is one segment you must and want to be: the compact luxury car category. This group of cars is the gateway to prestige and likely, for those who buy, a first step in adopting a brand to which loyalty will be strong.

The problem here is that the indomitable BMW 3 Series, unconquerable Mercedes C-Class and resolute Audi A4 all dwell here. To pierce through this holy trinity of German cars takes styling, performance, and the all-important “want” factor.

On the first two fronts, the 2015 Volvo S60 has the competition square in its sights. In fact, it has a few tricks up its sleeve that make it very interesting. Sadly, it’s the final element that the Swedes need to work on. This car is every bit as good as the Germans and because it has something to prove, will continue to improve at a strong rate. This car deserves consideration and a test drive.


What is a Volvo S60?
The 2015 Volvo S60 is Geely’s automotive acquisition’s bread-and-butter car. It comes from a long line of Volvo sedans that have paved the way for countless innovations starting with the Amazon in the mid-‘50s, the 240 and 850.

Known as the S60 since 2001, Volvo’s compact car evolved into a one-size-fits-all offering that can be equal parts sporty and posh (not to be confused with the Spice Girls).

2015 Volvo S60 Price and Specs
The 2015 Volvo S60 T5 Drive-E FWD sports a base price of $37,750. This T5 is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-pot good for 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque (280 lbs in overboost). $42,850 will get you a 302-horsepower turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl mill in the T6 that also develops 295 lb-ft of torque.

Both engines are mated to an equally new 8-speed automatic transmission. In time, AWD will be added to the mix and should tack on an extra $2,000 to the above mentioned MSRPs. AWD will be offered later on when the new platform on which all 60, 70, 80, and 90 Volvos will be built, arrives. The XC90 will be first and will break cover later on this year.

The current 2014 S60 T5 runs on a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.5L 5-cylinder. AWD comes with the T6 and its boosted 300 horsepower 3.0L inline-6. For those looking for a little more juice, including 325 horsepower, they can opt for the R-Design. All utilize a 6-speed autobox.

2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E rear 3/4 view
The 2015 Volvo S60 is Geely’s automotive acquisition’s bread-and-butter car. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)

Driving the 2015 Volvo S60
The revised 2015 S60 rides like a Volvo S60 has since it brought sexy back in 2010. There are two very important related differences to keep in mind though.

The first is the new Drive-E series of boosted engines. The T6, as noted, produces 302 hp in an appreciably nonchalant way for a 4-pot. Unlike the T5, the T6’s acceleration is noticeable nearly from a standstill as the supercharger clutches in immediately depending and throttle demand. And when it is strong enough, the S60 T6 will rocket to 100km/hr in roughly 5.7 seconds.

The second is the considerable reduction in weight over the front wheels. Steering (electric) has grown livelier and with the option of varying the level of assist, the drive becomes very interesting. Not only do I feel more involved with the car -- although I still remain fairly isolated form what is going on up ahead -- the ride quality seems to have improved.

Weight is the enemy, period. Be it for your back or knees, the less you lug around, the better it is for all. Volvo’s never been recognized for fuel economy, but this is about to change. The coming of the Drive-E family of powertrains also brings with it start/stop functionality and various drive modes including an ECO+ variant. This technical wizardry can return potential sub-7L/100km fuel numbers. This is truly impressive.

2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E 3/4 view
The revised 2015 S60 rides like a Volvo S60 has since it brought sexy back in 2010. There are two very important related differences to keep in mind though. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)

Inside and Out of the 2015 Volvo S60
“Designed around you” is what Volvo is going with for its latest catchphrase.

The cabin is familiar Volvo territory, lifted directly from all of the updates performed on the 2014 model year cars. Included in these upgrades are a new instrument cluster and a few other interior upgrades including a 7” sensus HMI screen.

Fit and finish are on par with what one would expect from a luxury brand. Ergonomics are typical Scandinavian-fare, so unusual yet original. Then we have the seats: Supportive and comfortable, they are some of the best in the business.

Overall passenger room is good, perfect in fact for four occupants. The trunk is acceptable for a sedan at 339 litres. If, however, more trunk space is required, Volvo has you covered with the new too-damn-hot-for-its-own-good V60 Sportwagon.

2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E cabin
“Designed around you” is what Volvo is going with for its latest catchphrase. The cabin is familiar Volvo territory, lifted directly from all of the updates performed on the 2014 model year cars. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)

Comparing the 2015 Volvo S60
The 2015 Volvo S60 has its work cut out for it as stated earlier in this review. On top of the German crop, the S60 tangos with one of my favourite cars in the segment: the Lexus IS. The Infiniti Q50 also stands in as an option.



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