The Volvo S60 combines excellent performance and a great shape with outstanding safety features. It feels like a tight European sedan and does a good job of smoothing out rough roads. The S60 fills the middle range in Volvo’s lineup: It’s larger than the S40, but not quite as large as the premium-luxury S80. Its interior is handsome and the available leather has a high-quality look and feel. Notable improvements for ’06 include a revised all-wheel-drive system for better performance, newly designed wheels and simplification of the options and packages.
The Volvo S60 R is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder that pumps out 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed manual transmission to all four wheels. A six-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode is optional. Acceleration is quite brisk, with ample juice to pick off the occasional unsuspecting BMW driver. Volvo claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.4 seconds with the manual gearbox. Volvo’s Four-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) system comes standard; it includes an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system, as well as an adaptive suspension that Volvo says can adjust the shock valving up to 500 times per second for improved grip and reduced body roll.
As the S60 R is intended to pull double duty for driving enthusiasts who also need to haul people around, all the usual Volvo safety features are included — stability control, side-impact airbags for front occupants, full-length head curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing seats. The S60 R is based on the regular S60, which earned four out of five stars in the NHTSA’s frontal-impact crash tests, a perfect five stars for side impacts and a "Good" rating (the highest) in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.