A smaller S90 for the masses

Following the launch of the new-generation V60 wagon, Volvo introduced a redesigned version of the S60 sedan in June 2018. Essentially a shrunken S90 with mild tweaks on the outside, the new S60 comes to tackle the highly popular BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class with new technology and new drivetrains.

The first Volvo to be built in the United States, the S60 was unveiled during the inauguration of the company’s new South Carolina factory. It’s not only the first U.S.-built Volvo, but it’s also the brand’s first vehicle to be sold without a diesel engine. Although the Swedish company has some of the most efficient oil burners out there, its diesels will retire in a couple of years as Volvo wants to add electrification to all of its cars from 2019.

2019 Volvo S60 Debut Live Stream

Volvo S60 Exterior

  • S90-Based Design
  • Thor’s Hammer Headlamps
  • Sporty Bumpers
  • Longer Wheelbase
  • Modern Design Overall
2019 Volvo S60 Exterior
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The front fascia is a shrunken version of that found on the S90

Having already seen the V60 earlier in 2018, the exterior design of the S60 wasn’t much of a mystery. As previewed by the teasers and the spy shots, the two models are identical from the nose to the C-pillars and the S60 looks like a downsized S90. The latter is the flagship vehicle for Volvo’s new corporate look and needless to say, it looks both modern and appealing, even when compared to competition from Germany.

The front fascia is a shrunken version of that found on the S90. It showcases the same "Thor’s hammer" headlamps and the big, rectangular grille, and a similar bumper layout with a three-piece outlet configuration and a trapezoidal opening in the middle. The smaller black inserts in the side intakes set it apart though, so it’s not an exact copy. The outlets are a tad larger on the sedan, and the surrounding trim is different two, with both details giving the S60 a much-needed sporty appearance to take against the BMW 3 Series.

2019 Volvo S60 Exterior
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Around back, Volvo used the S90 as inspiration and crafted similar C-shaped taillights

The profile is also very similar to the big S90. Both the beltline and lower character line are pretty much the same, as is the shape of the roof and the side windows. There are key differences though. First, the quarter window is integrated into the rear door on the S60, whereas the S90 has it mounted on the outside. The S60’s deck lid is also shorter, a common feature for compact sedans.

Around back, Volvo again used the S90 as inspiration and crafted similar C-shaped taillights. However, the S60 has its license plate placed between the taillights instead of in the bumper, so it doesn’t look as elegant as the S90. The deck lid looks a bit sportier though thanks to an integrated spoiler.

Overall, the S60 gets almost all of the cool design features from the S90 and combines them with sportier elements that are crucial for modern compact sedans. While the previous S60 was sober and boring, the new model looks athletic enough to pose a threat to the competition.

2019 Volvo S60 - Exterior Design Video

Volvo S60 Interior

  • Also Based On The V90
  • Vertical Infotainment Display
  • Clean Center Stack
  • Wide Center Console
  • Premium Look
  • Loads Of New Tech
2019 Volvo S60 Interior
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The interior of the S60 is identical to the V60 for the most part

The interior of the S60 is also identical to the V60 for the most part, so it also sports the design cues and features seen in the larger S90. There are a few notable differences, but all the familiar details from the larger models are there, including the boxy dashboard, the vertically-oriented infotainment screen, and the wide center console with the offset gear shifter.

As we’ve already seen in the V60, the dash sits a bit taller in the compact car, while the chrome trim is different, now descending at the corners to run below the slightly larger A/C vents. The revised door panels have new trim and armrests, while the handle is placed just under the window.

2019 Volvo S60 Interior
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The S60 should come with cloth and leather upholstery in standard guise

The center stack and console layouts are identical to the S90, which is cool because the midsize sedan has one of the cleanest configurations I’ve seen in a modern car recently. There are no buttons and knobs outside the thin stripe below the display and the start button near the gear shifter, so there’s no clutter to worry about.

There aren’t many details about convenience features yet, but the S60 should come with cloth and leather upholstery in standard guise with an option for a full leather interior. Customers should also be able to choose from various trim options, including authentic wood veneer in the more expensive models. Tech will include the state-of-the-art Sensus infotainment system that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G. The tablet-style touchscreen should be similar to other Volvo models and combine car functions, navigation, connected services, and entertainment apps.

2019 Volvo S60 - Interior Design Video

Volvo S60 Performance

  • T5 And T6 Gasoline Engines
  • T8 Hybrid Drivetrain
  • Polestar Engineering model
  • Up To 415 Horsepower
  • No diesel engine options
  • Eight-Speed Automatic
  • All-Wheel Drive
2019 Volvo S60
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The S60 is offered without oil burners, being the first Volvo not to offer a diesel-powered drivetrain

As expected, the S60 shares underpinnings with the V60 and the larger S90. It uses the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, but the engine lineup is significantly different. While the S90 and V60 are available with both gasoline and diesel engines, the S60 is offered without oil burners, being the first Volvo not to offer a diesel-power drivetrain.

The range will begin with the T5, a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill that generates 254 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Next up is the T6, which uses the same four-banger, but the unit is both turbocharged and supercharged and generates 360 horses and 300 pound-feet of twist. Other Volvos also get a base T4 unit with 190 horsepower and 260 pound-feet, but there’s no word yet on whether this engine will make it in the S60.

The Polestar Engineered upgrade adds 15 horsepower to the T8 hybrid model

With the diesels out of the way, the third vehicle in the lineup is the T8 hybrid. This drivetrain pairs the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, both turbocharged and supercharged, to an electric motor that spins the rear axle. The gas engine delivers 313 horsepower, while the electric motor adds 87 horses for a combined output of 400 horsepower. Unlike the V60, the S60 didn’t get the downtuned T6 hybrid drivetrain.

An eight-speed automatic transmission routes to power to the wheels in all models. While the T5 is a front-wheel-driven car, the T6 and T8 get AWD as standard equipment.

Another big change compared to the V60 is the Polestar Engineered trim, a limited-edition model based on the T8 hybrid that gets upgrades to the engine control unit, suspension, and brakes. Output increases to 415 horsepower, an extra 15 horses compared to the standard T8.

2019 Volvo S60 - Driving Video

Volvo S60 Safety

2019 Volvo S60
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Just like the V60, the S60 sports a safety package that’s identical to the larger S90 sedan. Active safety systems include Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert Control, Road Sign Information, Run-off-Road Mitigation, Run-off-Road Protection, and the City Safety package. The latter is able to detect vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals and it’s always active above 4 km/h (2.5 mph).

In addition to the above, which are included in the standard package, you can select optional features like Blind Spot Information, Rear Collision Warning, Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist, Distance Alert, Park Assist Pilot, and a 360-degree camera. The S60 is also a semi-autonomous vehicle thanks to Volvo’s new Pilot Assist feature. When activated, it controls acceleration, braking, and steering in order to help the driver follow the traffic flow within the current lane. It also reduces driver strain and increases safety.

2019 Volvo S60 - Safety Video

Volvo S60 Pricing

2019 Volvo S60 Exterior
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Pricing for the S60 starts from $35,800 for the base T5 trim. Go with the T6 drivetrain with AWD and the sticker jumps to $40,300. The T8 hybrid is obvious the most expensive model, retailing from $54,400.

Just like the recently launched XC40, the S60 is also available via lease and Care by Volvo, a premium subscription service with a monthly flat rate and no down payment. Specific pricing is not yet available, but Volvo says that a well-equipped S60 T6 AWD Momentum will be available for $775 a month through the program, while the S60 T6 AWD R-Design will cost $850 a month.

The T8-based Polestar Engineered model will be available exclusively through the Care by Volvo app starting June 28.

Momentum R-Design Inscription
T5 FWD $35,800 $41,900 $4
T6 AWD $40,300 $45,400 $47,400
T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid eAWD Not Available $54,400 $55,400
Destination Charge $995 $995 $995

Volvo S60 Competition

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior Exterior
- image 769397

Redesigned for 2018 and updated in 2018, the C-Class continues to be the benchmark of this segment, and it’s arguably the most elegant option right now. Although the facelift didn’t change much inside and out, the C-Class remains impressive thanks to its sporty design and fancy interior based on the larger S-Class. Engine options are numerous, and the gasoline lineup includes both 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter inline-six engines. Output figures range from the base 154 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the 328 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of the C400 model. All diesel models are powered by a 2.1-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers between 168 horsepower and 295 pound-feet to 228 horses and 398 pound-feet. A plug-in hybrid model pairing a gasoline four-cylinder and an electric motor is also available. This version comes with 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque on tap. U.S. pricing for the C-Class sedan starts from $40,250.

Read our full review of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

BMW 3 Series

2016 BMW 3 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 629346

The 3 Series is yet another popular model in this segment, but the current sedan is a bit long in the tooth, and a new-generation model is expected to arrive in 2018. While the outgoing 3 Series isn’t exactly dated, it’s definitely not as fresh as the Volvo S60 and lacks the modern technology. It’s still a solid choice when it comes to drivetrains though. Until the next-gen sedan arrives, you can get the 320i with a four-cylinder rated at 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet, the 328i with the same engine but tuned to 250 horses and 258 pound-feet, and a 340i model that gets 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet from a 3.0-liter inline-six unit. If you’re a fan of diesel, the 328d benefits from 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of twist. You can also get a hybrid model. It’s called the 330e and comes with 252 horses and 310 pound-feet on tap. Pricing for the 3 Series starts from $34,900.

Read our full story on the 2018 BMW 3 Series.

Audi A4

2016 - 2018 Audi A4 High Resolution Exterior
- image 635406
Audi A4

The A4 is the newest of the bunch, having been launched for the 2016 model year. The redesign includes a new styling language that’s sharper and sportier and a new, more modern interior featuring the brand’s continuous air vent strip dashboard design. Of course, the sedan is now equipped with Audi’s latest technology and safety features. The gas engine lineup begins with the 1.4 TFSI rated at 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, but there’s also a 2.0 TFSI version with 252 horses and 273 pound-feet. The range-topping 3.0 V6 cranks out 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of twist. As far as diesel go, it can be equipped with various 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V-6 units with output ranging from 122 horsepower and 199 pound-feet to 272 horses and 443 pound-feet. In the U.S., where the A4 is restricted to the 2.0-liter gasoline engine, pricing starts from $36,000.

Read our full review of the 2018 Audi A4.


2019 Volvo S60 Exterior
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The outgoing S60 may feel dated inside and out, but it still gets a lot of praise for its comfortable ride, solid safety package, and efficient engines. If the bigger S90 is any indication, the new S60 should be better in just about every department. Safety shouldn’t be an issue with Volvo’s latest systems, while the interior boasts more premium features and state-of-the-art technology than ever. Volvo’s new engines are among the best as far as efficiency goes and deliver sufficient power in just about every setup. On top of that, the S90-inspired design turns the compact sedan into one of the most appealing vehicles in this niche. Granted, Volvo might not be able to outgun its German competitors at first, but the new S60 will help the Swedish firm close the gap on the world’s most popular premium compact cars.

  • Leave it
    • Difficult market
    • New BMW 3 Series underway

Further reading

2014 Volvo S60 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S60.

2019 Volvo V60 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo V60.

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Read more Volvo news.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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