Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E: Test Drive
When you purchase a car, it is a natural thing to have the feeling of wanting to impress people around you as well as expressing your taste in cars. Apart from how a car looks, one would also put the car’s performance as an important weightage in the decision-making process.
Looking into compact premium sedan segment, brands like Mercedes, BMW and Audi are the common names that came into the picture. Each of them have their own performance division to add some spice to their cars.
Then consider this, 306 hp and 400 Nm of torque, from a Volvo, to the front wheels. Those figures propel the Volvo S60 T6 from its 2.0-litre twin-charged engine. The lesser S60 T5 produces 66 less horsepower and 80 less torque. Meanwhile in the same price bracket, the Mercedes C 250 AMG Line (RM287,888) produces 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque and the BMW 330i M Sport (RM297,800) is capable of 252 hp and 350 Nm of torque. The S60 T6 is around 49 grand cheaper than the Merc, mainly due to its EEV status and being a front-wheel driver (the C 250 and 330i are rear-wheel-driven).
Design and styling
The S60 features clean lines and curves on its exterior styling. To my eyes, the long sweeping rear windscreen and tall boot makes the car looks smaller than what it actually is. This particular car is equipped with R-Design package which includes a rear diffuser with twin hexagonal exhausts (trapezoidal ones integrated into the rear bumper on the base model), a thin boot spoiler and 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (17-inch wheels on the base model). The package helps giving some energy to the visual appearance of the S60.
Climbing into the interior, the S60 gets a rather office-ish design philosophy; plush and premium materials combined with moderately-glossy trims. The fake oak finishing on the dashboard enhances the premium look of the car, but not as pleasant to the touch. With the overall interior construction, you’d be easily fooled by the car’s actual capability.
No complaint on seating posture, as the power-adjustable driver’s seat helps in finding your best driving position. The flat-bottomed steering wheel has nice weight to it, but the leather feels a bit hard. Rear passenger enjoys ample legroom and headroom and the bench can comfortably seat three occupants. However, the rear air-con lacks blowing power although it is cleverly channelled through each sides of the B-pillars.
Drivetrain and performance
Under the hood lies a twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, good for 306 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Those wild power outputs are sent to the front axles via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The supercharger and turbocharger work sequentially where the supercharger helps with initial pulling power before the turbocharger takes over on the higher rev range.
Since peak torque is available from as low as 2,100 revs, everyday driveability is on point. The car accelerates effortlessly while returning a decent fuel economy. The Aisin-sourced gearbox will engage highest gear possible but downshifts a gear or two when necessary, for example, when you bury the throttle. Gearchanges are also almost unfelt, apart from seeing the ‘rev needle’ on the LCD display drops on each upshift.
Despite the sports car pace, the Volvo S60 T6 is able to cover plenty of miles per liter of fuel it swallows. I managed to get a respectable 15.8 km/L in average, taking into account that my drive consists of city driving, highway cruising as well as one to four passengers onboard, including their luggage. I believe the figure could easily jump if I drive alone and behaving my right foot.
Ride and handling
The ride in the S60 T6 is quiet and refined. Even at high speed above 140 km/h, the wind noise is barely heard. Oh, and the car feels very stable and planted too. The R-design package combined with 18-inch wheels and 235/40 tyres enhance the car’s stability by a significant margin. Apply a tiny degree of steering angle at speed, you will immediately feel the car’s chassis starts to follow your input, like a solid piece of steel on rails.
With absence of body roll, the S60 improves your confidence on tackling the curves. The Pilot Super Sport rubbers also work superbly on both wet and dry surfaces; does not pull the steering when rolling on water puddles and require a complete idiot to actually reach the lateral grip limit on dry.
Being the core pillar for Volvo, the S60 is stuffed with a host of passive and active safety features. Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Collision Warning, Driver Alert and Speed Limit Warning are among the noticeable ones. All these features as well as other car controls can be accessed by one of the fur knobs on the centre console or by using buttons and toggles on the steering wheel.
To me, the most interesting driver’s aid is Lane Keeping Aid where you can adjust the assistance mode (steering vibration or steering pull assist or both). Another one is Active Cruise Control that is similar to other cars’ cruise control, but works together with S60’s front sensors and cameras to ensure the car is travelling within 1.5 to 2 seconds of safe distance from the car ahead. It automatically applies brake pressure when there’s slower car within the safe distance and automatically accelerate to the pre-selected speed when the safe distance is clear.
I would say that the Volvo S60 T6 is arguably one of the most underrated sedan in the segment currently on sale. It barely stands out in the traffic, especially with black colour on this particular car. It may not be flashy or receive second look from the people around it, but it is the kind of car that impress you, the driver.
Specifications of the Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic
Power: 306hp at 5,700rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 2,100 to 4,800 rpm
Safety: ABS, EBD, Traction Control, Stability Control, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Keeping Aid, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Alert, Front Collision Warning, Speed Limit Warning, ISOFIX.