NOT content with announcing a comprehensive 2011 model year upgrade for its entire line-up earlier this week, Volvo Car Australia has now announced the local availability of entry-level T5 front-drive and top-shelf R-Design versions of the vital new S60 sedan it launched in December.
Powered by the same 177kW/320Nm GTDi four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that resides under the bonnet of Volvo’s new entry-level front-drive XC60 T5, which also went on sale this week, the similarly misleadingly titled S60 T5 sedan now opens the S60 range at a previously revealed price of $51,950 plus on-road costs.
An R-Design version of the base S60 T5 is also now on offer in local Volvo showrooms, pricing for which has been announced at $56,150. Carrying the same $5000 premium is a range-topping R-Design version of the turbocharged six-cylinder all-wheel drive S60 T6 AWD flagship, priced at $69,150.
The 3.0-litre T6 petrol-six and 2.4-litre D5 diesel-five versions of the AWD S60 released in December continue to be available for the same prices announced at last October’s Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
As we’ve reported, Volvo’s new Ford-sourced GDTi turbo-four - a version of which will power Ford Australia’s ground-breaking Falcon EcoBoost four-cylinder later this year – comes matches as standard with a six-speed dual-clutch Powershift automatic transmission, in the T5 version of both the S60 and XC60.
As in the XC60 T5 and EcoBoost Falcon, the 16-valve 2.0-litre engine is claimed to offer the performance and economy of a smaller petrol four, thanks to the world-first employment of a turbocharger made of sheet steel rather than cast iron, which is claimed to be the industry’s smallest turbocharger in relation to engine output.
In the S60 T5, the Euro 5 emissions-compliant direct-injection all-alloy petrol engine features variable valve timing for both camshafts and returns combined fuel consumption of 8.3L/100km and CO2 emissions of 193g/km, while accelerating to 100km/h in as little as 7.5 seconds.
Despite its $6000 lower price point, the S60 T5 offers the same standard specification list as the mid-range S60 D5 AWD diesel, including climate-control, cruise control, leather trim, a ‘High Performance’sound system, power windows, retractable exterior mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, reversing sensors and17-inch alloy wheels.
Like all new S60s, the standard safety equipment in the T5 includes the pedestrian-friendly City Safety system, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, Roll Over Protection System (ROPS), latest-generation Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) and twin front, front-side and full-length side curtain airbags.
Meantime, the sportier new S60 R-Design variants bring both design and chassis modifications, with exterior differentiation including a more aggressive front bumper with gloss black grille, colour-matched body components, larger intakes for the rear diffuser, twin exhaust outlets and five-spoke 18-inch ‘Ixion’ diamond-cut alloy wheels.
Inside, there are sports seats with larger squab bolsters trimmed in R-Design leather, a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, sports leather gearshifter and sports pedals, plus R-Design floor mats, trim inlays and watch-dial instrumentation.
The sporting theme continues to the S60 chassis, which has been lowered by 15mm via 15 per cent stiffer springs accompanied by firmer anti-roll bars and a front strut tower brace under the bonnet – a move that Volvo says increases body rigidity and steering feel.
The standard S60’s twin-tube rear dampers have been replaced with mono-tube dampers, resulting in what Volvo claims is quicker response, while the bushings that attach the rear dampers to the car's body have been stiffened by 20 per cent.
“The all-new S60 marks the beginning of a new approach to our successful R-Design,” said Volvo Cars senior vice-president of product development, Paul Welander.
“We've gone one step further this time, with our sights set on creating a cohesive whole, an integrated blend of sporty looks and an exciting drive.
“In the R-Design chassis we've sharpened the steering, the agility and the solid overall impression still further compared with the dynamic chassis in the all-new S60.”