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2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar Review

Secret race car By ,

Rebel blue at its best
Subtlety is something few can pull off well. Brash, in-your-face, larger-than-life is the norm these days, so those who take a more refined, under-the-radar approach are often overlooked. Shame on us for not paying more attention to the strong, silent types.

Now, some of you may have realized the colour of this subtle car is less than inconspicuous, however, that’s about the only “loud” part about it, and I absolutely love that. This car has some serious power hiding beneath its Rebel Blue bonnet, AWD holding it to the road, and a drive so dynamic I guarantee it’ll put a smile on your face.

Time to pay attention.


What is the Volvo S60?
Volvo’s S60 first emerged in 2000, the Swedish manufacturer’s idea of a “sports sedan.” While the vehicle received minor facelifts over the years, it wasn’t until 2010 that the Volvo S60 was completely overhauled and the second generation emerged. It is the current design we see on the road today. A V60 estate will finally be making its way to North America by next year.

“R” versions of the S60 (and sexier V70) were available for a few years starting in 2004 and featured Volvo’s AWD as well as more powerful engines and larger brakes were part of the package.

Polestar, founded in 1996 in collaboration with Volvo, is their performance division and responsible for their actual racecars and the performance parts that have trickled down along the consumer car lineup. Polestar can be likened to AMG or BMW’s M Sport division.

2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar 3/4 view
This car has some serious power hiding beneath its Rebel Blue bonnet. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar Price and Specs
Let’s forget the Polestar bit for a second here. The Volvo S60 T6 AWD comes equipped with a 3.0L I6 turbocharged engine good for 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Power is handled via a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and pushed put to all four wheels with Volvo’s AWD.

A base 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD has a starting ticket price of $46,550.

Should you want your S60 to have a bit more kick (in secret, of course), you’ll want to make sure you go for the R-Design. By purchasing a 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design, you’re upping your horsepower to 325 and your torque to 354. You’re also tightening up your suspension and handling, and adding a nifty Polestar badge to the front and back of the car.

A 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design will set you back $54,650 (base MSRP).

2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar front view
By purchasing a 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design, you’re upping your horsepower to 325 and your torque to 354. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Driving the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar
Here is where the S60 R-Design Polestar shines and becomes the secret racecar that it is. This thing is properly quick. I actually laughed at myself for being shocked by its get-up-and-go the first time I really hammered down the throttle.

Refined in its speed, the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar makes good on 100km/hr from a stop in just roughly 5.5 seconds. And forget paddle shifters, as there are none. I have to admit, I find it a bit strange there are none given the car’s sporty nature, but then I got to thinking; Volvo is pretty much telling every driver: “Thanks, we’ve got this covered, you just focus on going fast.”

So I did.

Throttle response is fabulous in the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar as is the steering. Connected and planted on the road, the S60 corners like a champ, powering out in the most fantastic way when asked to.

2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar clusters
Refined in its speed, the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar makes good on 100km/hr from a stop in just roughly 5.5 seconds. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Inside and Out of the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar
Oh, Rebel Blue, how I love you. Seriously, there are few car colours out there that instill such emotion when painted on sheetmetal. It is, hands down, the most in-your-face aspect of the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar, and I love it.

Sitting atop 18” IXION wheels that look fantastic, the 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design is an eye-catcher for all the right reasons. The simple, small Polestar and R-Design decals add a certain flare to the whole getup.

Inside, the cabin consists of uber comfortable seats (with the most comfortable headrests in the world, complete with an R-Design imprint in the backrest), and the standard button-overload Volvo centre stack. While I do appreciate a good button to push, Volvo takes it to the extreme.

Interior space is more than adequate for a small family, as is the trunk space for a stroller and groceries.

2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Polestar cabin
Inside, the cabin consists of uber comfortable seats, and the standard button-overload Volvo centre stack. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Comparing the 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design Polestar
When it comes to 300+ horsepower, AWD, midsize luxury sedans, there aren’t too many options out there, and the competition is a bit steep in the BMW 335i and the Audi S4. There’s also the Lexus IS350 F-Sport to consider. Each has something to offer, I think it’ll all come down to what you want your car to say about you in the end.