|Volvo is taking two high acclaimed models to the next step with significant improvements to the R-Design models for 2012 when they go on sale late this summer.
The S60 and XC60 R-Design models are both powered by Volvo’s T6 engine, a turbocharged, inline six-cylinder that will now produce 325 horsepower and 354 lb.ft. of torque. The standard T6 engine in both models produces 300 horsepower and 325 lb.ft. of torque.
The S60 R-Design will have a starting price of $42,275* and the XC60 R-Design will start at $43,150*.
“The jump in performance will re-define these two R-Design models,” said Doug Speck, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “Along with styling and suspension features that set them apart from other versions, our two newest R-Design models will have a higher ‘fun-to-drive’ quotient. I see that as a positive thing, and so will car buyers.”
The turbocharged T6, displacing 3.0 liters, is the most powerful six-cylinder engine currently offered by Volvo. Power is transmitted to the wheels via Volvo’s second-generation six-speed automatic Geartronic transmission with sport mode. New valves and lower friction mean faster gear changes than before. Similar to the S60 T6, the S60 R-Design will be offered standard with Volvo’s electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system with Instant Traction? and Corner Traction Control with torque vectoring.
The chassis team got in the act by making further refinements to the already impressive handling.
“The challenge was to boost the dynamics without making the chassis feel raw,” says Stefan Sallqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics.? A strut brace was added under the hood to tie together the suspension strut towers. This is a classic method of stiffening up the body structure and to improve steering response. At the rear, the S60 R-Design features monotube dampers. Unlike the twin-tube dampers used in the S60 T6, the monotube system features compression and return damping via the same valve. This gives shorter, faster fluid flow, which in turn means the damper responds more quickly.
Corner Traction Control uses torque vectoring for smoother cornering. This technology is a further refinement of the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC). When cornering, the car’s inner driven wheel is braked while, at the same time, more power is transmitted to the outer driven wheel. This allows the driver to take the corner more tightly while reducing any tendency to understeer.
Helping to set the S60 R-Design apart from the S60 are a number of visual design cues. On the outside the cars have an imposing redesigned lower front fascia with a grille painted in glossy piano black. The sporty stance is further enhanced with color-matched body components, details in matte finish and a hexagonal pattern that is repeated both front and rear.
Incorporated within a sporty rear exhaust baffle are distinctive, 90mm twin exhaust tailpipes and unique R-Design exclusive five-spoke 18-inch diamond cut wheels emphasize the sporty overall appeal. The introductory, R-Design exclusive color is Passion Red but the Volvo S60 R-Design also will be available in four other colors. Additionally, the S60 R-Design features a rear trunk spoiler and standard Dual Xenon headlights with Active Bending Lights.
Inside, a number of new features help to further differentiate the S60 R-Design. The driver and front passenger sit in sports seats in which the highly supportive backrest from the S60 is matched by an all-new seat cushion with deeper side bolsters. The upholstery will be offered in off-black leather with contrasting stitching and a sport-oriented textured leather accent with an embossed R-Design logo across the front-seat backrests. The interior also features a sport steering wheel with R-Design logo, gear selector, sports pedals, floor mats and a blue watch-dial instrument cluster.
On the safety front, the S60 R-Design is available with Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake. This driver assistance system consists of a newly developed radar unit integrated into the S60’s grille, a camera fitted in front of the inside rearview mirror and a central control unit. The radar’s task is to detect any object in front of the car and to determine the distance to it while the camera determines what type of object it is. Up to 22 mph, the system helps the car avoid hitting a pedestrian. At higher speeds, the system helps mitigate the severity of an impact.
The function is also programmed to respond to vehicles in front that are at a standstill or are moving in the same direction as the car fitted with the system. Thanks to the newly developed dual-mode radar’s much wider field of vision, pedestrians about to step into the roadway can also be detected early on. The camera has higher resolution than the previous-generation unit. This makes it possible to detect the pedestrian’s pattern of movement.