The all-new 2011 S60 is best described as the Volvo with an attitude. Its design form is sleek, sexy and revolutionary.
Gone forever is the clumsy, three-box design that Uncle Olaf drove around in. The new S60 is the sportiest Volvo produced to date, creating an ever-present sense of motion, whether parked or moving.
The 2011 S60 is a sedan, but displays the look of a coupe. The roofline is dramatically curved, emphasized by the blacked-out “B” pillars. Inside, the luxurious surroundings feature an all-new infotainment system. A Driver Control Interface manages information from the audio unit, navigation system (if equipped) and other functions, displaying them onto a 7-inch high definition color monitor in the upper part of the center console.
Motive force comes from a 3.0-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that delivers an impressive 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Maximum torque is realized from only 2,100 rpm, which remains available throughout the rev range. Emphasizing the car’s efficiency, this is the same torque output as the 4.4-liter V8 found in other Volvo models.
The potency of the engine is handled by a standard six-speed “Geartronic” transmission that allows the driver to select gears manually or completely automatically. Manual shifts are accomplished via the console-mounted lever, but alas, there are no paddle shifters, which would elevate the S60’s prowess to an even sportier level.
Testing the new S60 started in Newberg, Ore., taking in the scenic wonders of the Northwest, on the way to Oregon Raceway Park, a 2.3-mile, 12-turn highly technical private track with 400 feet of elevation change per lap. Eight journalists were selected by a drawing to participate in a special exercise of tutorial laps with SCCA World Challenge Champion race driver, Randy Probst, followed by an exciting hot lap with Randy piloting the S60 while demonstrating the torque vectoring advantage.
Traditionally, Volvos are thought of as being among the safest of cars on a global basis and not as a sporty performance vehicle.
The S60 is on a mission to change that perception, placing it in a more competitive field.
Acceleration is rapid, shifting is smooth, the ride quality is compliant, without being either too soft or too harsh, and handling attributes are definitely sporty in nature and response, delivering crisp and nimble reactions. We think the newest Volvo S60 T6 AWD is a superlative four-door sport coupe with an alluring Swedish shape.
At the 2011 S60’s national press introduction the base price for the S60 T6 AWD was set at $37,700. Adding the Climate Package, Multimedia Package, Technology Package, Premium Package and destination charges elevated the final tally to $46,200.
Standard on the S60 is the Dynamic Chassis, focusing on optimizing control and agility without diluting ride comfort. The Touring Chassis is for those who place a greater emphasis on comfort. The major difference between the two lies in the dampers and the front and rear subframes.
Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake debuts as a world-first technology, which actively helps the driver to avoid accidents through Volvo’s radar- and camera-based system that can detect pedestrians in front of the car, warn the driver if anyone walks out into its path, then automatically activate the S60’s full braking power if the driver fails to respond in time. The system is able to avoid a collision at speeds up to 22 mph. — Arv Voss, Motor Matters
Next New On Wheels: 2011 GMC Acadia Denali
Next Bonus Wheels: 2011 Audi R8
2011 VOLVO S60 T6
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger AWD midsize sedan
BASE PRICE___________________ $37,700 (as tested: $46,200)
MOTOR TYPE___________________ 24-valve turbocharged inline 6-cylinder
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 300 at 5600 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 325 at 2100 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 109.3 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 182.2 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 39.0 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 17.8 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
2012 HONDA FIT EV: The Fit EV Concept hints strongly at the direction and styling for Honda’s upcoming production Fit EV all-electric vehicle, which will be introduced to the U.S. and Japan in 2012. “Honda’s long history with electromotive technologies has enabled us to understand customer requirements,” said Takanobu Ito, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President and CEO. The Fit EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of the average metropolitan commuter and utilizes the same 5-passenger layout found in the popular Fit hatchback. When the Fit EV production model is introduced, it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. (Source: Honda)
WHAT BUYERS AVOID: The 2010 “Avoider Study” from J. D. Power and Associates found that a bad prior experience with a brand or a poor perception of a car manufacturer’s reputation is a more important reason for avoiding a brand than it was in 2009. Exterior styling is the most frequently mentioned reason for avoiding a model, which is cited by 35 percent of new-vehicle owners. For premium brands, concerns over maintenance costs also play a major role, despite an increasing number of premium brands that provide free scheduled maintenance for varying periods. (Source: Down the Road, Motor Matters)
OLD IS NEW: The newest car manufacturing plant in the U.S. is also one of the oldest. It’s taken two years and $550 million to transform Ford’s sprawling Michigan Assembly Plant, just outside of Detroit, from churning out gas-guzzling Sport Utility Vehicles into a lean, green production machine for Ford’s new focus on small, fuel efficient cars. All these vehicles are variations of the Ford Focus, built on the company’s global “C”-segment chassis. This helps lower costs, because many parts are the same no matter what the propulsion system, or whether the cars are built in Michigan, Germany or China. (Source: FreeWheeling, Motor Matters)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010