When Volvo launched its latest platform, called Scalable Product Architecture, with the current XC90 SUV back in 2014, it made everything else in Volvo’s lineup feel instantly out of date. Volvo’s S60, its compact sedan, was the last in line to get the upgrade, but now its time has come.
With the new platform comes growth — the 2016 S60 is 4.9 inches longer and about an inch wider than the previous S60. While that doesn’t sound like much, add in its 1.8-inch lower stance than the outgoing model, and the S60 has some serious curb presence. The new S60’s hood height is lower, which exaggerates the rest of the car’s fresh sheetmetal.
The new S60 also introduces the Polestar Engineered models to the lineup, following the path of companies like Mercedes-Benz with its AMG line. On the S60, the Polestar Engineered model sits at the top of the hierarchy and uses the T8 twin-engine plug-in hybrid for motive force. The Polestar Engineered S60 also sports a set of 19-inch wheels.
Along with the chassis architecture and engine choices, the new S60 also inherits Volvo’s current interior and Sensus infotainment system. The S60 is the first model to roll out with an updated chipset, but all ’19 models will get the refreshed system. Like the S90, the scaled-down Volvo has a simple and clean interior, with minimal buttons and an expansive stylized dashboard.
- 2.0-liter I4 fitted with a turbocharger and a supercharger power the T6 R-Design.
- The compound-boosted engine sends 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
- From there, the power hits an all-wheel-drive system before transferring to the pavement.
The Polestar Engineered version sports the same 2.0-liter twin-charged engine, tuned to 328 hp, along with an electric motor. The plug-in hybrid squeezes 415 hp out of the system in total, making it one of the most potent Volvos you’ll be able to snag at a dealer.
Polestar S60 feels considerably more powerful. The electric motor and the more aggressive tuning on the internal combustion engine set you back in your seat. The T6-prepped S60 is not exactly a slouch either, with an acceptable 5.3-second 0-60 time. If you can’t swing the extra coin for the hybrid T8 twin-engine S60, you won’t have any problems getting around traffic in that one.
The S60 T6’s nonhybrid powertrain means there are no regenerative brakes — just good, standard binders. The Polestar Engineered S60’s brakes, however, are harder to modulate. The initial pedal feel is light, with the Brembos grabbing aggressively later in the stroke. The nonhybrid S60 provides a better and more controllable pedal feel. When it comes to slamming on the brakes, both with stop you just fine.
Both models use the same electric power steering system, and it’s probably the weakest link of the S60 driving experience.
The electric power steering might feel numb, but it’s an essential part of Volvo’s Pilot Assist suite of driver aides. The adaptive cruise control works without a hitch — pushing the car along without having to manage the throttle or brake. It works at high speeds, too. You have to keep your hands on the wheel for legal reasons, but it feels like it’s driving itself
The 2019 S60 is a testament to how far Volvo has come in recent years. The new S60 now has everything good that has turned Volvo around, in one compact package. And the Polestar Engineered stuff opens the door for even more performance models, another good thing.