Car tested: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 Petrol
Price OTR Mumbai: 38,97,770/-
Whats the first thing which comes to mind on hearing the word ‘Volvo’, for most it’s the Volvo B7R or the newer 9400 city buses, but ‘Volvo’ is much more than buses alone. Globally acclaimed as the worlds safest car maker, this Swedish, now Chinese company is slowly increasing its presence in India. Volvo’s car division was taken over by the Ford Motor Company in 1999 and later Ford sold it to Geely Automobiles in 2010. We drive its latest offering in the form of the Volvo S60 and find out whether it has the muscle to take on its German rivals.
Exteriors – The S60 is an attractive car and passes fantastically well for a premium sports sedan. Volvo’s evolved designing capabilities have paid off well, with the S60 looking nothing less than stunning (especially in this copper colour). The sloping roofline gives it a coupe look while the aggressive lines on the bonnet give it character. Daytime running LED lights area integrated on the bumper and are placed on either sides of the front grille. Projector headlamps further enhance its looks. Side indicators are placed on the external rear view mirrors.5 spoke alloy wheels add muscle to this beast. Shark fin seen on the roof, Volvo is keeping tab on its German rivals !! (Read BMW)
Twin exhausts manage to hint away at the raw power the T6 engine produces while the boot houses a small spoiler for aerodynamic purpose. Under the ‘O’ of the VOLVO lives a camera which engages when the car goes into reverse and displays up on the MID. Sunroof is part of the package.
Interiors – Keep the key in your pocket and tug on the door handles, the S60 will welcome you. On the inside, the first thing which hits you is the interior quality. Consistent panel gaps all over and fabulous fit and finish, European quality at its best. The center console is tilted slightly towards the driver to give a cockpit feel. Too many buttons seen there, dont think half as many are required. Push button start is pretty much standard across the entire segment now. Front doors have both the lock/unlcok button while the rear ones get only the unlock option.
Air conditioning is effective and the car cools quickly. Rear vents are provided in the B Pillar and there are vents below the front seats for efficient cooling at the back. Audio system sounds out with decent quality with both USB and Aux supported.
The front seats are by far the most comfortable ones in the segment. Adequate thigh support and the backrest literally hugs onto you giving the right amount of back support and a comfortable feel. Rear seats, on the other hand, are disappointing. They are placed rather low and thigh support is poor, so is the legroom. Front seats also feature lumbar support.
Both the front seats are electrically adjustable with memory option. Rear headrests block out most of the view through the rear view mirror, but can be dropped by the push of a button. If you want to be driven around, the S60 is not the ideal car for you, partly because the rear is not comfortable and partly because you really wouldn’t want your chauffeur to have all the fun, will come to that a bit later.
The steering feels good to hold but not many will be fond of its twin colour. Buttons are easily accessible.
Reverse guide camera also shows the projected direction of the car.
Bonnet release a little old fashioned and is not easily accessible from the drivers seat.
Boot space is the least for any car in the segment. The center armrest (rear seat) also opens into the boot.
Lift the lid to check for a spare wheel and you will be shocked to find none. A Continental puncture repair kit sits pretty in there. Absolutely shocking. Indian driving conditions cannot do without a spare wheel or atleast runflat tyres.
Safety – Volvo has the reputation of producing the safest cars in the world. The S60 is no less and is loaded with a host of safety features. To start with, its has adaptive cruise control, wherein the car will check the distance with respect to the car ahead and adapt its speed accordingly.
The BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) ensures your blind spot is clear all the time. A camera is mounted below the external rear view mirror, which moniters objects in the blind spot and alerts the driver via a small light as shown.
A monitoring system on the front glass consists of cameras and lasers which can detect movement patterns of humans and works with the laser assisted braking, pedestrian warning and collision warning. In each of the above case the S60 will automatically apply brakes before giving an audible and visual warning to the driver. The same cameras also detect change of lane and alert the driver if he tends to be be distracted or is cutting lanes.
ABS, ESP, EBD Front and curtain airbags are standard. The S60 also features headlamps which turn with the steering, giving you ample illimunation to see where you area turning.
Its certainly good to have a car loaded with such intelligent features but towards the end of our drive, it soon became a nuisance. In India, pedestrian to car distances are far less than what are seen in Europe and every now and then the system would beep. It would reduce the volume of the audio system, beep and then play up the volume again. Turn the system off and it would automatically turn on again. Volvo should have ideally optimized this system in accordance to Indian driving conditions.
Ride, Handling and Braking – The S60 rides on 17 inch alloys, which are not ideal for a comfortable ride but aid in the handling characteristics of the car. To start with, there are 3 modes in front of the gear lever, ‘Sport’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Advanced’. For regular city running, the ‘Comfort” mode is the ideal option. In this mode, the ride is bearable and the car will soak in most bumps on the road but will let you know that they are there.
Switch to the ‘Sport’ mode and the suspension stiffens up and improves the handling traits of the car. The S60 comes equipped with the ‘Torque Vectoring System’, which modulates the brakes and power delivery to the inner and outer drive wheels, thereby reducing understeer and oversteer and gives the S60 superb handling character. Sharp corners and sudden steering inputs do not stun this Swedish beauty, rather its stays amazingly balanced. Try and get its tail out, it wont budge and in an event you just mange to do so, the ESP will bring it back to place in no time.
With 300 horses on tap, the S60 is very stable at high speeds with astonishing grip levels. Stand on the brakes and it will stop in one line without going astray. All 4 disc brakes have their part to play in this and this level of braking inspires us to push the car even harder. The S60 is a CBU and ground clearance falls short of what is expected with Indian roads. With atleast 100 plus varieties of speed brakers around, there is an instance of a hit and run on most occasions, with the S60’s belly kissing the speed brakers. Rear seat passengers are most affected.
Performance – The Volvo S60 T6 is powered by a 3 litre, 6 cylinder, turbo charged Petrol engine which churns 304 BHP @ 5600 RPM and a mammoth 440 Nm of Torque at as low as 2100 rpm. On paper, the S60 comes across as a pure performance machine, indeed it is and a little more. In the city traffic, the S60 is light and easy to drive around with the power coming in smoothly at low rpm’s. Power is delivered to all wheels (AWD) with a limited slip differential.
A 6 speed automatic gearbox, which drives this machine is slick and not jerky at all. Push the accelerator lightly and the S60 will move ahead with confidence, making it ideal for routine city traffic. NVH levels are good with hardly the engine or the tyre noise audible in the cabin. The gear lever feels below par if compared to the competition.
Come to the highway and its another story. Floor the pedal to the metal and you will be thrown back into your seat. Coupled with the mindblowing performance is the sweet sound of its engine. The gearbox has an option to shift manually too and the engine revs all the way to almost 7000 rpm. The S60 stops the clock at 6.2 seconds flat for a 0 – 100 run and comfortably goes past the 200 kmph. Surprisingly, even at this speed, its feels planted on the road with amazing grip. You’d have to be a fool to try and extract mileage from this car, but for those who are curious, expect 3 – 4 kmpl in the city which can go up to 5 – 6.5 kmpl on the highway.
Conclusion – The S60 is a quality product surely, but in a market which is dominated by brand image, Volvo has a long way to go before it comes to par with its German competitors in the eyes of the consumer. That aside, the S60 is quick, looks sporty and is a drivers paradise. It may be burning fuel rather quickly, but for the sheer performance it delivers, its not something which will bother you. It attracts more attention on the road than its established competitors and lives upto Volvo’s commitment of producing the safest cars in the world, the extra goodies it carries don’t go amiss either. We still cant get over its sweet engine note, pure music to the ears.
* Sporty looks
* High speed stability
Whats Not So Cool
* No spare tyre/runflat tyres
* Safety features inconvenient for Indian roads
* Rear seat comfort
* Thin dealership network
Volvo S60 Specifications : –
* Engine: 2953 cc, 6 Cylinder Turbo Charged Petrol Engine
* Power: 304 PS @ 5600 Rpm
* Torque: 440 Nm @ 2100 – 4200 Rpm
* Transmission: 6 Speed Geartronic Transmission with AWD
* Top Speed: 240 kmph
* 0-100kmph: 6.1 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 3 – 4 kmpl (City), 5 – 6.5 kmpl (highway)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tires: 215/50/17 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: All four Discs
* Safety: ABS, EBD, ESP, Frotn Airbags, Curtian Airbags, BLIS, Turn in lights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Laser Guided Braking, Pedestrian Detection with Auto Braking, Collison Warning, Torque Vectoring, Driver Alert Control Etc
Volvo S60 Dimensions : –
* Overall length x width x height: 4628 mm X 1865 mm X 1484 mm
* Wheelbase: 2776 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1588/1585 mm
* Ground clearance: 130
* Turning Radius – 11.5 m
* Boot Volume: 380 liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 67.5 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1680 kgs