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Volvo unveils its all-American S60

Southern charm: Volvo has become the latest European manufacturer to choose the American south for a car plant, this time in South Carolina where it will build the new S60 and – from 2021, the XC90.

Diesel out and electrification in as Volvo wheels out US-built S60 sedan


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21 Jun 2018

VOLVO’S bigger and sharper third-generation S60 luxury mid-sized sedan was unveiled last night in Charleston, South Carolina, where it will be built exclusively for global consumption at a new $1.5 billion factory due to open later this year, thus becoming the first Volvo car to be built in the United States.
As expected, the Chinese-owned Swedish company has ditched diesel from the sedan, instead going for a quadrella of petrol powertrains, two of them with plug-in electric assistance.
The BMW 3 Series/Mercedes-Benz C-Class/Audi A4 competitor has yet to be confirmed for Australia where – if it was to get the green light – it would line up beside the closely related, equally new V60 wagon that appears to be locked and loaded for this market in the first half of 2019.
Volvo Car Australia director of corporate and PR Greg Bosnich told GoAuto should Australia decide to take the S60, production would start in about the middle of the second quarter of next year.
"A decision to take a model as part of the product portfolio is always a longer term proposition," he said. "No final decision as yet. A decision will be communicated closer to the model’s global introduction."
Built on Volvo’s modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that also underpins the V60 and other new-gen Volvo models, S60 has the same dimensions as the V60 – 4761mm long, 2040mm wide and 1431mm tall – which makes it longer (+133mm), wider (+141mm) and lower (-53mm) than the current model that was launched in 2010.
The new S60 makes good on Volvo’s promise to move away from diesel towards electrification, based on its Twin Engine concept that combines a blown petrol four-cylinder engine on the front axle and electric motor driving the rear wheels.
Unveiling the new model, Volvo Cars president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson described it as “one of the most exciting Volvo cars we have ever made”.
“It is a true driver’s car that gives us a strong position in the US and China saloon markets, creating more growth opportunities for Volvo Cars,” he said.
The S60 carries over a lot of the technology and powertrains from other recent Volvo models, including the flagship S90 and XC60.
For the first time, the S60 will come with active suspension that, according to Volvo research and development senior voice-president Henrik Green, delivers “engaged performance” to make it one of the best sports sedans on the market.
The powertrain line-up is expected to start with the 183kW front-wheel-drive turbo-petrol T5 that reputedly can spirit the S60 from zero to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and delivers fuel consumption of between 7.2 and 8.1 litres per 100km.
A supercharged version of the 2.0-litre engine, producing 228kW of power, motivates the mid-range T6 via all four wheels.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the T6 Twin Engine combines the four-cylinder petrol engine with a 65kW electric motor for a total of 253kW.
The top-of-the-range T8 Twin Engine offers 298kW of power from its petrol-electric AWD powertrain for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.9s.
Buyers can tick the box for an optional Polestar Engineered upgrade that, apart from go-fast parts such as sports suspension, upgraded brakes, and bigger wheels, ramps power up to 309kW and chops the 0-100km/h time to 4.7s.
As expected with a Volvo car, the S60 has high levels of safety, including autonomous braking that now includes automatic braking to mitigate head-on collisions.
The S60 gets the latest version of the company’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system that, like Tesla’s Autopilot, provides a modicum of steering, throttle and braking assistance on well-marked roads at up to 130km/h.
Other safety technologies include rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking. 
The infotainment system with its tablet-style screen gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G connectivity.
Volvo took the opportunity of the S60 launch to show off its nearly completed South Carolina factory that will not only build the S60 for the world but, from 2021, the next-generation XC90 large SUV.
The factory joins other plants in Europe and China in Volvo’s growing network of production facilities funded largely by its Chinese parent Geely which bought Volvo from Ford in 2010.
Volvo joins fellow European manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and BMW in creating new manufacturing bases in the American south.

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