2014 Volvo S60 R-Design
Swedish automaker, Volvo, has introduced a new lineup of R-Design-badged models at the New York Auto Show.
One of them, the S60 R-Design, is a pleasant surprise.
Volvos don’t usually have the kind of presence that its European counterparts command in an auto show as big as New York. But it’s doing its part to ensure that people still remember that they have something to offer that can impress a lot of people.
The S60 R-Design carries its share of improved dynamics over the standard S60 model. Some you’ll notice right off the bat, others you’ll notice only after you take it out for a spin.
In any case, the entire program is certainly worth looking into, at least if you’re in the market for an affordable luxury car with some added components that can drive up its appeal.
In the end, the S60 R-Design is a step up from the standard S60, and at this point, that’s as good as anything when it comes to Volvo.
Find out more about the Volvo S60 R-Design after the jump
2014 Volvo S60 R-Design
Horsepower @ RPM:304
Torque @ RPM:324
0-60 time:5.9 sec.
Top Speed:155 mph
Don’t expect an overwhelmingly different exterior look for the R-Design trim of the S60. Certainly, Volvo has never been one to go all out on radical designs and these models are no different.
What you can expect though are subtle modifications, each tailored to give the S60 R-Design a more expressive face. The frameless Tech Matte-Black grille has high-gloss black stripes, a revolutionary new design wrinkle, at least as far as Volvo’s standards are concerned.
A refined R-Design emblem was also added to differentiate it from the standard models as is the reworked front bumper, which now has a rounded end while the DRL lights added in the outer corners reinforce the car’s sporty aura.
At the back, there’s a new diffuser with its own aero fins that are now flanked by new high-tech R-Design tailpipes, as well as a new set of 19-inch wheels.
To be fair, the interior of the S60 R-Design is much plusher than the standard model. Guess that’s what being sporty for Volvo is all about, huh?
The first of many highlights is a new sport seat with a black nubuck textile and perforated leather that are now standard for all R-Design models. An R-Design logo has been embroidered to give the seat added sporty flavor. As an added option, owners can opt to add more panache to the seats with a full range of leather options.
The cabin of the S60 is an attractive mix of functionality and design, one that’s only highlighted by the variety of added goodies that are part of the R-Design program. The blending inlays create a unique and contrasting look that combines black leather and contrast stitching with a black headliner.
Adding the final touch is a new stainless-steel tread plate with a bright blue ‘R’ in the R-Design emblem.
Overall, the interior is a pleasant surprise. Volvo managed to succeed creating a sporty and luxurious interior without having to go overboard with high-end materials that would’ve looked out of place on the S60 to begin with.
The S60 R-Design comes with a choice of three powertrain options, which incidentally are the three same engines found on all standard versions. The first one, the D2 diesel, comes with only 115 while the most powerful model, the 3.0-liter T6 gas engine produces 304 horsepower 324 pound-feet of torque with a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Should the T6’s output prove to be a little less than what you expected, you can opt to get the Polestar software and boost the S60 T6’s output to 329 horsepower.
For the relative lack of overwhelming changes done on the S60 R-Design, Volvo did wonders improving the model’s chassis, providing more strength and lowering the setup by 15 mm (0.59 inches) compared to the Dynamic chassis in the standard S60.
This kind of modification may not sound like a big deal for casual owners, but Volvo is taking its attempt to improve the S60 R-Design’s driving dynamics seriously with this mod.
Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Car Group, explained it best when he said: "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"
Volvo has yet to release pricing details for the S60 R-Design. That being said, you can at least expect it to be slightly north of the $37,700 price of the standard S60 model.
The problem with Volvos isn’t so much the design of the cars and the accompanying technology. The Swedish automaker actually has some pretty good aesthetic and performance qualities to it. But Volvo’s long-standing image as a "grown-up" brand immediately cuts off the younger market. Don’t be fooled by all those Twilight cross-promotions.
On its own merit, the S60 R-Design has some good qualities going for it. The 304-horsepower output is actually almost identical to the Mercedes C-Class’’ 302-horsepower output, which is a very good thing going for the former.
But, ultimately, if you’re given a choice between a C-Class and a Volvo S60 R-Design, the answer is pretty obvious, right?
If Volvo really wants to get people to take notice of a pretty good model like the S60 R-Design, it needs to do more than just adding design elements and improving the car’s chassis.
You tell us to buy a Volvo S60 R-Design, we’re more than happy to oblige. But if you give us a choice, it’s hard to pick the Swedish brand over a Mercedes, or any of its German counterparts, for that matter.