Road Test: 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design


The whole time I was driving the 2013 Volvo S60 I wanted a group of bad guys to start chasing me.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

You see, while the Volvo S60 look may look like just another mid-sized upscale sedan, I had the T6 R-Design model. With 325 horsepower, twin turbo motor, all-wheel drive and sport suspension, I think could have given them a run for their money.

The Saint and his Volvo P1800
The Saint and his Volvo P1800

Which means I would have felt like Simon Templar. He’s the lead character in “The Saint”. During the original TV show, Templar (played by Roger Moore) drove a Volvo P1800. (You can watch a video of his car here.) In the 1996 movie version, Templar (played by Val Kilmer) drove a Volvo C70.

The Volvo P1800 used in the original show looked sporty, but wasn’t really. This new Volvo is everything that Simon Templar would have wanted. The base engine in the S60 is a 2.5 liter 5-cylinder that delivers 250 hp. Bump up to the T6 and you get a 6-cylinder, DOHC with 300 hp. But the top of the line (and Roger Moore wouldn’t have driven anything less) is the R-Design which delivers 325 horsepower. Interestingly, it still qualifies as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. Mileage is average for a mid-sized sedan, 18 MPG city/25 MPG highway. But that’s actually pretty impressive for all that horsepower. Mated up to the six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and it helps you enjoy all that Swedish muscle. The Saint never had it this good.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Volvo’s Boxy Days are Gone

Of course horsepower is only part of the fun. The R-Design model has a sport chassis, bigger brakes and standard all-wheel drive. It even has what Volvo calls “corner traction control through torque vectoring”. I’m not totally sure what that means but when I’m being chased, I’ll be darn glad I’ve got it.

The S60 is a nice looking car. Volvo styling has come a long way from the boxy 244 of the mid-80s. This design can hold its own in the luxury sports sedan range. The R-Design has some styling tweaks. It has different rear and lower front spoilers, a rear diffuser with polished end pipes. Subtle, but nice.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Interior

Inside, it’s both simple and comfortable. The seats are properly luxurious and sporty. The R-Design has leather seating surfaces and aluminum inlay on the dash. While some reviewers have called the dash a little dated, I actually liked the styling.

While Volvo styling has changed, the carmaker is still big on safety. For example, the S60 has Volvo’s Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS). It allows the seat to give slightly when you hit something. My test car also had the City Safe  feature. It can can automatically stop the S60 if it senses a low-speed collision is imminent, even with pedestrians. It worked well each time City Safe activated (no pedestrians were injured during my test-week). Another interesting feature was the Active Bending Headlights. Turn the steering wheel and the headlights bend into the turn. I’m not sure that’s critical but it definitely was cool.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design dash
Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Controls

Ironically, about the only thing I didn’t like about the car was the rear window defroster. It didn’t seem to work well in my test car, which is surprising considering how much it must be used in Sweden.

Of course all that fun isn’t cheap. My test car stickered at $45,495, but that is competitive with other luxury sport sedans.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
R-Design badging is subtle

And of course when the bad guys are chasing you, and the combination of horsepower, all wheel drive and R-Design sport suspension allows you to escape their clutches, that price tag will seem cheap. Just ask The Saint.





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