Swedespeed has asked the question that anyone who follows Volvo is thinking: Will R cars return? After a tumultuous last couple of years that saw the Swedish brand suffer falling sales amidst parent company Ford's effort to sell the brand to the highest bidder (it's looking like Chinese automaker Geely at the moment), Volvo has gotten as far away from producing performance automobiles as a brand can. All the while, its competition from Germany, Japan and the U.S. have augmented their luxury lines with mid-level or super high-performance cars like the BMW 335i/M3, Audi S4/RS4 and Cadillac CTS-V. Volvo, meanwhile, put all its egg into a basket that touted refined design and safety. Unfortunately, every player in these segments has upped the ante with their designs and superior safety is no longer an island on which Volvo finds itself alone.

So back to the R cars. Volvo had some success with the 850R in the mid-Nineties, which was a mildly hotter version than the standard box sedan on which it was based. After that, the P2-gen S60R and V70R were downright scorchers with a complex Haldex all-wheel-drive system, 300-hp motor, adjustable 4C suspension and Brembo brakes. But then the R cars disappeared and were replaced by "R Design" packages that offered all of the visual potential for high performance but little else.

Swedespeed decided that proper R cars should return with the arrival of the all-new S60, and rather than being blow-the-doors-off quick, should offer mid-level performance like the original 850R did. What you see above is their rendered speculation of a reborn S60R. Click here to read more about it and catch an extra view. We think they're spot on and would love to see Volvo return to building R cars that make us think of more than safety and design when we're behind the wheel.

[Source: Swedespeed]