Vital Stats

Engine:
Twin-Charged 2.0L I4
Power:
302 HP / 295 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
5.6 Seconds
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,472 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
12.0 CU-FT
MPG:
24 City / 35 HWY
Base Price:
$38,150
For those not paying attention, Volvo has updated its S60 sedan range for 2015 with a new range of engines under the Drive-E label. Wearing the same T5 and T6 badges to note the relative levels of power under the hood, both engines are 2.0-liter four-cylinders, with the lesser being turbocharged and the greater being both supercharged and turbocharged.

Both Drive-E variants are currently only available in front-wheel-drive flavor, though Volvo will still happily sell you an S60 T5 AWD with the older 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder, or a top-of-the-line S60 T6 with a turbo'd 3.0-liter six-cylinder and all the wheels turning.

The car I drove for a week is perhaps the most balanced version of the S60 range, with that exotic sounding twin-charged 2.0-liter mill planted happily in the attractively sloping nose. Provided you're not hung up on front-drive dynamics, the T6 Drive-E might be a solid candidate for your next premium small sedan shopping list, as well.

Driving Notes
  • At 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the output of Volvo's twin-charged 2.0-liter mill is damn close to that of the outgoing turbo-six, while weighing close to 150 pounds less. The engine feels meaty down low, as you'd expect, with audible whine from the supercharger never letting you forget about the forced induction at low rpm.
  • With the transmission slotted into normal Drive mode, throttle response is pretty great when forcefully pulling away from stoplights or entering the highway. Moved into Sport mode, the programming becomes downright aggressive, and the torque available is palpable through your toes. Speed doesn't pile on instantaneously when passing on the highway at 70 miles per hour, but simply tap the throttle from 10 mph around town, and Sport mode will launch you gleefully past your neighbors if you aren't ready for it.
  • Past experience with the S60 had me expecting that this car would be a bit less engaging than it turned out to be. The single-mode suspension is pretty well balanced between a compliant ride and tight handling, unless you really push the car. At a good pace, there's more lean in the chassis than I'd like from a sporting tool, but not so much that I think it detracts from the mission of this laid-back yet quick sedan.
  • The steering isn't particularly meaty or full of feel, but it is quick. On bendy roads, the S60 changed direction in short order, and didn't feel to be overly heavy in the nose – thanks here again to that lighter engine. Go hard and the front-drive S60 will push wide, sure, but handling feels balanced in everyday, lukewarm corners.
  • Noted supercharger whine to the side, the confines of the S60 are mostly hushed at a cruise. The fast-moving Volvo sets a nice stage for conversation, listening to your favorite tunes – I found the Volvo Premium Sound System to be clear, if not rich – or generally making light time of long commutes.
  • The increased fuel efficiency of the Drive-E engine should also be friendly to posh commuter types. Volvo and the EPA quote 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway. Those numbers put it well ahead of the curve for most smaller engined versions of primary luxury competitors – BMW 320i, Lexus IS 250, Audi A4 2.0T, etc. – while offering a lot more power. Looked at conversely, it competes almost toe-to-toe on power with the more potent versions of all those sedans, while being priced lower (sometimes a lot lower).
  • I actually think that BMW's 328d would make a really interesting head-to-head comparison with this T6 E-Drive. Both start in the high $30k range; the Volvo has more power and (I believe) a slightly more refined driving experience; the BMW has better fuel economy, newer tech and the benefit of rear-wheel-drive dynamics.
  • You can decide for yourself about the aesthetics of the Volvo, but I still find this bodystyle to be completely lovely, a few years on from its introduction and having been grafted a slightly redesigned nose. Likewise, the cabin feels on par with the best in the segment in terms of design, materials and comfort, though the suite of technology powering its comparatively tiny-screened infotainment system lags the class. Personally I'd abide the slightly outdated tech for the tradeoff of the amazing front seats – and I work on the Internet, people.
  • Volvo has done a great service in keeping its mainstay S60 relevant with the new powertrain upgrades, overall. As ever with Volvo models, this is a car that should appeal to those drivers with a taste for luxury, indifferent attitude about at-limit handling (no rear-drive bias) and a vague notion that German cars are for "other people."


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  • 61 Comments
      johnnythemoney
      • 8 Months Ago
      "...for your next premium small sedan..." Small, lol. I know we Americans had it all messed up compared to the rest of the world when it comes to cars and our market specific products, but an S60 isn't small at all.
      Neil
      • 8 Months Ago
      lets put things in perspective... the turbo version with 240-hp and 258-lb ft gets 25city/37 highway. ford's 1.5 ecoboost gets the same mpg, but you get only 181-hp and 185-lb ft. the fusion 2.0 ecoboost fwd gets 22 city and 33 highway with 240-hp and 270-lb ft whereas the volvo gets 24 city and 35 highway with 302-hp and 295-lbft. you get more for your money with volvo than most.
      Kash
      • 8 Months Ago
      A FWD with that much torque....bring on the torque steer...it's unfortunate they don't offer this car as an AWD or RWD at the least...shocking the BMW 2.0T powerplant with much less power and torque is the faster car!
      JeepinBen
      • 8 Months Ago
      Nice write up, and it does seem like a very interesting balance of power and economy - I'd be interested to see what real-world economy does though. What did you get on the test? Also, it's worth noting that Volvo at least went to the German school of naming powertrains with no rhyme or reason. "T6" for a 4 cylinder? With Audi's Supercharged 3.0T and the 2 liter 328i it almost makes sense...
        • 8 Months Ago
        @JeepinBen
        Thanks for the comment. I saw right around 23 mpg in extensive urban driving, and very non-scientific "low-thirties" according to instant fuel econ meter on the highway. I anticipate doing a full review of this Drive-E engine with the V60 in the next few weeks, and will be certain to calculate real-world economy for that longer piece. And yes, sticking with the T5 and T6 is baffling, isn't it? I guess Volvo believes it has enough brand value in those trim names to stick with them. -Seyth
      Kash
      • 8 Months Ago
      FWD with that much...bring on the torque steer...it's ridiculous they don't offer this as an AWD or RWD at the least!
        George
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Kash
        It is not ridiculous at all. These engines are going to go in everything for the future and they are not about to totally re-engineer an outgoing platform. Did you even read the article? You can still get them in AWD, just not with the 4-cyl.
      paulwesterberg
      • 8 Months Ago
      MPG: 24 City / 35 HWY Live it up Volvo, Tesla is going to eat your sandwich.
        hboi18
        • 8 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        You are comparing a Tesla to a Volvo...just turn your computer off.
        ravenosa
        • 8 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Comparing a Chinese econolux box with an American electric luxury car? Cute...
      mary.keana
      • 8 Months Ago
      Volvo totally stole that grill and lower front air intake from the future Hyundai Sonata.
        mary.keana
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mary.keana
        http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/620x412/quality/85/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/253/999/3/S2539993/slug/l/003-2015-hyundai-sonata-1.jpg
          SlothLovesChunk
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mary.keana
          you went fron -3 to +2 in less than five minutes. really? come on man
        cpmanx
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mary.keana
        Folks--I'm pretty sure Mary is making a joke. At least, I laughed.
          mary.keana
          • 8 Months Ago
          @cpmanx
          Thank you. Too bad NightFlight can't pick up on the Joke.
      Iceman
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why would one pay over $40 K for a front wheel drive Volvo? This thing will be worth almost nothing in 3-4 years!
        jdedelman
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Iceman
        Iceman - I think you may have missed that this is a Volvo. We Volvo drivers, ever appreciative to the Gothenburg mothership for keeping durable designs fresh and current long after other Eurotrash mobiles have become severely dated, tend to drive our cars for a very, very long time. So what it's worth in 3-4 years couldn't matter less to us. It's not a CD for heaven's sake. What I'm concerned about it how well it protects my family in a crash ten years from purchase, while Bummer and MB are scrambling to update their safety "designs" to pass the newest IIHS test.
      psarquis
      • 8 Months Ago
      Does anyone really think Volvo cars will survive in the long run? This design is outdated and yawn-inspiring compared to things like the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It's also a FWD car, which is a ridiculous proposition at this price point. They had better offer the AWD version soon, or risk being DOA. One more question: does Volvo really believe that an engine update and some weak styling upgrades will ignite interest in this car? It only sells a paltry 1500-1700 units a month in the USA and that's during a period of booming car sales. Volvo needs to update this chassis ASAP and include these newer engines in an AWD package. Are there really people out there paying $40k+ for a FWD car that's not an Acura? Even Acura doesn't get a pass on a FWD cars at this price point, which is why Acura has become more of a premium SUV company and their sedans have been struggling so much.
        herrstreet
        • 8 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        You can take my answer with a grain of salt - I had an s60 r design and just got a V60 R Design, but I am at least familiar with the car. I like the styling a lot. It's sleek, not overdone and it will age well. The wagon even more so. I did prefer the 2012 front end because it was a little more unique but I like how the car looks. I don't care for the new C. The front is fine - actually a bit like the Volvo. But the back end looks lopped off to me. The interiors of both cars are very very nice. Volvo could stand to make the navi screen a bit larger but it works well and the digital gauges are great. You can still get awd - mine is, but the new engines won't work without a redesign and so the rollout of the drive-e motors will be gradual. I do admit I'm a little jealous of the extra 5 mpg the drive-e gets but with awd it would probably be 4 so whatever. I looked at the Acura. Some of my family members have Honda products and it's not even close. I prefer the Volvo. As far as fwd goes... most luxury sedan sales are awd and Audi is doing quite well with a fwd/awd lineup. Volvo's problem is they have 3 ancient designs in the s80, xc70 and xc90. Almost all of their cars are in the same price bracket too. But they have a lot of money for engineering currently and their show cars look really good. I think they are just in a holding pattern while some really great product comes to market. Time will tell but my S60 let me walk away from a head on collision with a Ford Explorer. For that reason alone, Volvos are worth considering.
        ravenosa
        • 8 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        I don't. These Chinese Volvos are no better than what they offered before. Quality-wise, Volvo can't even compete with Honda/Nissan, and just about anything from Japan is not only going to actually have a modern interior, but it will handled a ton better than your average squishy and uninspired Volvo. I've known one person who bought a Volvo, and the only reason was their old safety reputation.
          George
          • 7 Months Ago
          @ravenosa
          The chinese are just providing cash infusion (at this point) - so your comment about Chinese Volvos is pretty off the mark. In fact, your comments suggest you have never sat in an S60, let alone drive one. The S60 was the last car designed under Ford PAG, which kept Volvo on a tight leash. It does not take a rocket scientist to see what they have done with the S60 and the new engine lineup to see that things are going in the right-direction for them - sales increases reflect that. Only time will tell.
        jonathan garcia
        • 8 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        In case you didnt know volvo sells more then 1500-1700 units a month!
          psarquis
          • 8 Months Ago
          @jonathan garcia
          1500-1700 isn't some random number I pulled out of thin air. Their monthly sales figures are available online and the S60 has sold in that range, a little lower and a little higher some odd month, but not by much. Here's one place you can look it up -- http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/p/sales-stats.html
        Gerardo Mata
        • 8 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        you are comparing a car that was launched 5 years ago to a car that has not even been launched yet. and yes, i believe we will have the Volvo brand for a long time
      carguy1701
      • 8 Months Ago
      Interesting concept, boring wrapper.
      tenspeeder
      • 8 Months Ago
      Like the S80, one exterior that looks great and will continue to look great years from now
        jdedelman
        • 8 Months Ago
        @tenspeeder
        Amen brother. I love knowing that my seven year-old S80 is virtually indistinguishable from the few hundred brand new S80s that Volvo will sell this year. Sigh......
      • 8 Months Ago
      [blocked]
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