Volvo’s trio of R-Design models that we saw at the New York Auto Show are all interesting in their own right. No, you won’t see any radical changes nor will you see an interior cabin glittering in gold.
What you will see are subtle modifications and upgrades that makes the V60 look cleaner and more sophisticated while also improving the car’s handling capabilities and, for a little premium, performance credentials.
All that can be had with the V60 R-Design and the best part is, we don’t expect any significant financial repercussions that you’ll have to be responsible for should you decide to put money down on a Volvo.
Overall, the V60 R-Design fits right into what Volvo has become within the industry. It’s a reflection of a company that shuns the bombastic razzle dazzle in favor of something a little more functional with sprinkles of edginess mixed in between.
Find out more about the Volvo V60 R-Design after the jump
Like the other R-Design models that Volvo unveiled at the New York Auto Show, the V60 R-Design received minimal styling modifications, although still enough to distinguish itself from the standard V60 model. A new front fascia was designed, complete with a redesigned nose, a Tech Matte Black grille with high-gloss black stripes, R-Design emblems and a silk metal diagonal. On the backside, the V60 R-Design now comes with a new diffuser in place of the stock one, as well as new aero fins and R-Design tailpipes.
It’s not much to go by, really. But when it comes to Volvo, you don’t really expect anything to be out of the conventional mold.
Depending on your definition of "change," you can argue that the V60 R-Design comes with either minimal modifications or overblown upgrades. We’re with the first group and though we appreciate the automaker’s attempt at ratcheting up the luxury on the V60 R-Design, the modifications don’t really do much in the way of blowing us away.
If you’re the type to be really meticulous about where you park your backside when you drive, you’ll be comforted to know that the V60 R-Design now has a new set of sports seats, which have been wrapped in a blend of black nubuck textile and perforated leather. Additionally, for that good ’ol distinctive mark, Volvo also added embroidered “R-Design” logos on the seats.
Black leather trim with contrast stitching can also be found throughout the interior, as are new stainless-steel tread plates, each with a bright blue "R" in the R-Design emblem, and a new Adaptive Digital Display that comes with three layouts - Elegance, Eco, and Performance - to go with different configurations and functionality.
The Volvo V60 R-Design comes powered with a choice of powertrain options, including a D2 diesel version that only nets 115 horsepower and a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder T6 gas engine that produces 304 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque.
The T6 engine, in particular, can be upgraded to 329 horsepower courtesy of a Polestar software that also charges the V60 R-Design’s specially designed sport accelerator pedal.
Volvo’s R-Design package may not be mind-blowing when you first look at it, but rest assured, it’s got some functionality improvements that you won’t get to feel until you sit behind the wheel and take the V60 R-Design out for a spin.
The most notable modifications is the stiffer chassis, which now comes with revised shock absorber springs and anti-roll bars, providing improved handling and overall functionality for the station wagon. On top of that, you can also make good use of a number of Volvo-developed technologies, including Corner Traction Control and DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control).
Those aren’t sexy sounding, but once you drive the car, you’ll understand why they’re pretty important.
Pricing for the Volvo V60 R-Design will be released at a later date. Rest assured, we’ll give updates as soon as the figures become available.
Station wagons aren’t considered one of the sexiest markets to be a part of. The Acura TSX Sport Wagon is one competing model that can give the V60 R-Design a run for its money.
The Acura TSX offers a range of engine options, including a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and sprints to 60 mph in a respectable 7.7 seconds. An optional engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 that pumps out 280 horsepower.
The TSX definitely delivers a nice looking exterior. Its sharp lines give it a sporty look. When compared to the V60 R-Design, the TSX has a completely different style, but it is hard to determine which one is better than the other. It basically comes down to what you prefer.
Ultimately, though, if given a choice, we’re taking the V60 R-Design over the Acura any day. The V60 delivers more peak power and a faster 0-to-60 mph time, plus a wider variety of engines. Additionally, the TSX doesn’t offer a performance variant and likely never will.
The Volvo V60 R-Design isn’t for the young generation, that much we’re certain of. But for older folks who have tendencies to enjoy rolling around town in a station wagon, the V60 R-Design is a safe choice as far as the overall package it offers is concerned.
There are more palatable choices out there, but the V60 is a pretty solid choice in its own right.
- Available Polestar upgrade
- Still a capable family hauler
- Variety of engines
- Still looks a little boring
- More power please
The new R-Design versions of Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 feature an outstanding blend of a renewed sports appearance, a dynamic driving-focused chassis and engine output up to a substantial 329 horsepower with the Polestar performance option.
"The new R-Design models are a perfect match for performance-minded individuals with a passion for exquisite details. In the new S60, V60 and XC60 R-Design, we have turned up the visual volume of these popular models with meticulous attention to detail," says Doug Speck, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group.
"The S60 or V60 R-Design with lowered R-Design chassis, T6 engine and the optional 19-inch wheels hits all the right notes. Just let the ultra-comfortable new sport seat embrace you while you enjoy the intense driving experience," adds Doug Speck.
Unique new front
All three R-Design cars - including the XC60 - now feature a unique face with a redesigned, dynamic, expressive nose. The frameless Tech Matte Black grille has high-gloss black stripes, a silk metal diagonal and a refined R-Designed emblem. The DRL lights in the outer corners reinforce the low, road-hugging impression.
"The front wheel arches are small design gems that enhance the car’s sporty aura. The rounded end of the front bumper ‘wraps’ around the dynamic Ixion wheel, which is now available in a redesigned 19-inch version for the S60/V60 and a 20-inch for the XC60," says Fedde Talsma, Design Director, Exterior.
At the rear, the unique diffuser with aero fins is flanked by the round, high-tech R-Design tailpipes.
New generation R-Design interior
The new sport seat come as standard in the R-Design cars. It features a blend of black nubuck textile and perforated leather. The embroidered R-design logo with a blue ‘R’ confirms the sporty aura. Full leather seats are available as an option.
"With great hugging side support all the way from the thighs to the shoulders, the new sport seat makes a perfect addition to the in-command feel of a true driver’s car while the seat retains the traditional comfort that has been a Volvo hallmark for decades," says Doug Speck.
The Adaptive Digital Display features the option to switch between three layouts with different configuration and functionality - Elegance, Eco and Performance. In the R-Design versions, the Elegance theme boasts a radiant blue colour.
The design team has dedicated much attention to all the interior details that emphasize the distinctive R-Design aura.
"By blending inlays with a perforated look, black leather and contrasting stitching, the design team has created an interior with all the details in perfect harmony, crowned by the black headliner. The new stainless steel tread plate with a bright blue ‘R’ in the R-Design emblem is another exquisite detail," says Doug Speck.
Sporty ride with up to 329 horsepower
R-Design models can be combined with all the engines available for the standard versions. The range spans from the D2 diesel with 115 horsepower (not available in the XC60) to the 3.0 litre, six cylinder T6 petrol turbo with 304 horsepower and 440 Nm of torque.
The T6 buyer can boost performance to 329 horsepower by opting for the Polestar software that charges the specially designed sport accelerator pedal with an extra 25 hp.
Acceleration times in the T6 version, using the new paddle shift with the automatic gearbox in Sport mode, have been cut in all three cars with 0-100 km/h now down to 5.9 seconds (previously 6.1) in the S60 T6. The equivalent figure for the V60 T6 is 6.0 seconds (6.2), while the XC60 T6 now covers 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds (7.3).
Lower and firmer chassis
The R-Design Sport chassis has been lowered 15 mm compared with the Dynamic chassis in the standard S60 and V60, and the spring stiffness is 15 per cent higher compared with the dynamic chassis in the standard S60 and V60. This gives responsive driving pleasure with full control.
"The driving experience should be so connected that it boosts the dynamics without making the chassis feel too raw. If the chassis is too firm, even smooth tarmac can feel bumpy. We aim for a sporting yet luxurious feel," says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Car Group.
The S60 and V60 R-Design features rear monotube dampers, delivering compression and return damping via the same valve. This gives shorter, faster fluid flow, which in turn means the damper responds more quickly.
Stiffer bushings counteract oscillation, and roll and movements are more controlled. The bushings that attach the rear dampers to the body are 20 per cent stiffer compared with the Dynamic chassis. The front tie-blade bushing is a substantial 400 per cent stiffer to counteract wheel bouncing and shaking.
A strut brace under the bonnet ties together the suspension strut towers to stiffen up the body structure.
The XC60 R-Design chassis is also stiffer than the standard car and has more dynamic driving properties - without compromising ride comfort. The shock absorber springs and anti-roll bars are adjusted and tuned to be firmer and more balanced. The result is improved control and a sportier, road-hugging drive.
Corner Traction Control
Just like in the standard variants, a range of electronic systems that sharpen the sporty driving experience backs up the chassis in the R-Design cars.
Corner Traction Control, which uses torque vectoring to provide smoother cornering, is now also standard on the XC60. The DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) system also has several other functions that improve driving and safety properties, such as:
Advanced Stability Control. With a gyroscopic roll-angle sensor the anti-spin system can deploy faster and with greater precision.
Engine Drag Control prevents the wheels from losing their grip during engine braking on a slippery surface.
The DSTC system also has a sports setting that makes it possible for the driver to disable the anti-spin function.
The new Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 R-Design will be available in all markets that sell the standard versions of these models. Volvo Cars expects that about 10 per cent of buyers will choose the R-Design version, but this increases to over 30 per cent in some markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia.
"Of the R-Design models, more than half of the volume will be snapped up by buyers who drive other car makes today. These cars also play a vital role in lowering the age of our customer base," says Doug Speck.