2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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If the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R could speak, this is probably what it would say: "I'm ticked off. I'm tired of all of the automotive publications and web sites gushing over the latest M car from BMW, AMG car from Mercedes-Benz, or S car from Audi. Yes, those Euro rides are good machines, but I need some respect. Who else can give you 325 horsepower, 354 pound-feet of torque, all-wheel drive, and a top safety pick rating in insurance industry testing? Who? Only Volvo baby, and it's high time people recognize!"

Well big Swede, I hear you! After seven days of test driving the S60 T6 AWD R, I am sold. This car blends the perfect mix of performance and civility in a highly styled package that breaks new ground for Volvo. Always known for safety, the S60 strikes an edgy chord for the car company that rarely took styling risks. But this is not your dad's 240! It's swoopy, properly adorned with the right trim pieces and is utterly drivable. All sightlines front and rear are virtually unobstructed. So when you drive the S60 T6 AWD R fast -- and you'll want to do it often -- you can do it safely.

The "R" in the title stands for R Design, the performance wing of Volvo. In addition to the engine and suspension performance upgrades over base S60 models, unique exterior styling bits including a front and rear spoiler and rear diffuser with polished end pipes define this special model. Inside, R Design leather seating with special accents, aluminum dash inlays and aluminum sport pedals, a perforated sport steering wheel and gearshift knob, and a gorgeous blue watch dial instrument cluster are part of the R Design trim.

These special trim pieces add to an already well-equipped S60. A glass moonroof, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, dual-Xenon headlights, power folding rear headrests and much more are standard on the "R." Options on my tester included the Platinum upgrade with navigation and real time traffic updates, enhanced audio plus a rear camera for $3,300.

Volvo's even upgraded their telematics system with standard "Volvo Sensus." Volvo Sensus is a system that brings together infotainment, navigation (optional), car settings and other features and functionalities. The system features a 7-inch high-resolution colour display. Volvo Sensus allows you to explore the high-tech features of the S60 and personalize them to suit your needs. And with features such as the "MY CAR" button on the centre console, you get access to the Intelligent Driver Information System, City Safety, and if ordered, optional equipment like Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection, Driver Alert System, and the Blind Spot Information System, plus the lights, door mirrors, climate, central locking, and audio system controls.

Volvo Sensus also shows the Volvo Navigation System with Real-Time Traffic, Volvo Bluetooth hands-free controls for your mobile phone, park assist camera and DVD. You can control these functions via the steering wheel controls, allowing you to keep your attention on the traffic and your hands on the wheel.

On the road, the S60 T6 AWD R-Design is surprisingly well behaved, given its totally sporty intentions. Many cars of this ilk are tightly sprung, with sport packages capable of beating your brains into a near-concussive state. Not so with the S60, which utilizes a Macpherson front and multi-link rear suspension to handle road-carving duties. Power is transmitted to the standard 18-inch alloy wheels through a Haldex full-time AWD system.

Under the hood lies a 3.0-litre six-cylinder motor with a single twin scroll turbocharger. Put your foot on the go pedal hard, and this car delivers forceful acceleration. There is no turbo lag, a phenomenon associated with the spool up of the turbocharger before it can force-feed a gasoline-air mixture into the combustion chambers. A plus is this car is very quiet, even under full-throttle acceleration.

And what Volvo would truly be a Volvo without the ultimate in safety gear and occupant protection? Consider this: the Volvo S60 recently was the only European car tested to pass the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new stringent "Small Overlap" crash test, a test that mimics real world crash scenarios. Rest assured, the entire S60 model range has a full suite of standard and available safety systems.

The 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design is in a word, correct. Safety, performance, driving bliss and great style come together in an impressive package that starts at $52,565 including destination fees. If you don't need the extra performance the T6 version affords, base S60 models start at $40,465.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sport Sedan, Volvo, 2013, S60 T6 AWD R, $50,000 - $74,999, Midsize,

Organizations: Volvo

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