From the "You knew it was coming" file is word that Volvo is readying an R-Design variant of their new XC60 crossover. With the company's sporty trim designation finding its way into nearly every product in the fold (C30, S40, V50, S80, V70, and XC90), the move may be an expected one, but it is pleasant nonetheless.
Given that it features stiffer damping (Volvo doesn't specify how much firmer), a more robust chassis (Volvo doesn't specify how it's reinforced) and improved steering (thanks to a new, "direct steering gear") than its more prosaic counterparts, the R-Design isn't purely an appearance package, but with no underhood work, it isn't far off. That's in keeping with the brand, though, as Volvos aren't traditionally the most sporting offerings in their segment.
In the case of the XC60, the R-Design is distinguished by its color-keyed lower body (standard XC60s are matte black), "matte silk metal finish" flourishes (grille, mirror caps, trim moldings), unique 18-inch "Cratus" pattern alloys (20-inch pieces are optional) as well as skid plates and a pair of chromed exhaust outlets.
The interior also gets some new trimmings, including aluminum steering wheel inserts, door moldings, and a darker finish floating center stack that features "a circular pattern that expands outwards in a dynamic way" – a pattern that is replicated in the striping of the two-toned seating surfaces. The pedals gain aluminum surfaces with grippy rubber inserts, and there's the requisite complement of R-Design badges as well.
As shown in the images, Passion Red is an R-Design-specific available color, but there are six other colors to choose from.
No word yet on model cost or availability, but we expect to see the the XC60 R-Design hitting dealers soon. For now, however, check out the gallery of high-res exterior photos below and the press release after the jump.
Volvo XC60 boosts sportiness with R-Design
The Volvo XC60 R-Design makes a clear statement about true driving pleasure, a young, energetic attitude and confident success. A sporty chassis and even more direct steering ensure the driving experience matches the sporty appearance.
The Volvo XC60 is a car that has already carved out a solid market share in the premium sport cross-over segment. With its muscular curves and sharply contoured tail lamps, it attracts attention wherever it goes. The new R-Design option pack that will be presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2009 gives the car an even more purposeful and bold appearance.
"The R-Design model boosts the XC60's already sporty aura and gives the car an even more refined character in terms of both driving experience and design. These are properties that we know appeal to the discerning buyers of this type of cars," says Lennart Stegland, president of Volvo Special Vehicles.
On the outside it is easy to recognise those typical R-Design attributes: door mirror housings, trim mouldings and décor trim in matte silk metal finish, skid-plates and twin chrome tailpipes. The five-spoke Cratus aluminium wheels are also unique for the R-Design models. In standard form they measure 18 inches but there is also the option of a stunning 20-inch. This dimension is new to the Volvo XC60 and is only available with the R-Design pack.
Another new feature is that the lower section of the car is now colour-matched to the rest of the body on the XC60 R-Design, instead of the matte black execution of the standard model. This creates the impression that the car sits closer to the ground and gives it a more dynamic look - even though ground clearance remains unchanged.
Thrilling driving experience with excellent comfort
The R-Design chassis is stiffer, features stronger damping and has more distinct driving properties - without impacting too much on ride comfort. All passengers can still enjoy a long and pleasant ride on any type of road surface. Further, the fact that the chassis has not been lowered ensures that the XC60 R-Design maintains its ground clearance for off-road capability.
The new, more direct steering gear also significantly contributes to the driving experience. Owing to faster steering response, the driver benefits from a more alert car behaviour and more precise communication with the road surface. This in turn gives the driver the confidence to push the car to its limits and fully enjoy the sporty capabilities of the XC60 R-Design.
Modern and exclusive interior
Inside the car, exclusive metal finish is the dominant theme, with aluminium inserts in the steering wheel, door mouldings and the iconic centre stack. The sports pedals are made of brushed aluminium, with rubber inserts for precise grip, feel and control.
The elegant dark centre stack features a décor with a circular pattern that expands outwards in a dynamic way. This pattern also reoccurs in the oblique striping of the sculpted, duo-tone seats. Further, the seats are available with the choice of two colour combinations, with light beige or dark black as the main theme.
The front seats feature an advanced seat design with two firmness levels in both the backrest and seat cushions, thus providing a body hugging yet comfortable seating position during inspired driving. The sports steering wheel trimmed with perforated leather and featuring the engraved R-Design emblem is a constant reminder to the driver of the car's special character and excellent driving properties.
Volvo XC60 R-Design - An overview
* Grille in silk metal finish with R-Design badge
* Front fog lamp décor in silk metal finish
* Door mirror housings in silk metal finish
* Five-spoke 18-inch aluminium wheels - Cratus (20 inch optional)
* Sill mouldings in aluminium look
* Twin chromed tailpipes
* Colour-matched lower body mouldings.
* Chrome-plated rear skid-plate with black mesh
* Sport chassis
* 7 body colours to choose between including the R-Design unique colour Passion red
* Sport seats for great cornering support and comfort
* Unique upholstery in smooth leather with a choice of two colour combinations: off-black with soft beige inserts or vice versa
* Embossed R-Design emblem in the front backrests.
* Watch Dial instrument with blue gauges, unique to the R-Design model
* R-Design sports steering wheel trimmed in perforated leather
* Sports pedals in aluminium
* R-Design centre stack trim with a unique décor pattern
* Gear selector trimmed with perforated leather
* Off-black sports mats
R-Design a success for Volvo Cars
R-Design was launched in 2007 to satisfy the immense interest among younger car buyers, in particular, who want to equip their cars with sporty, personalised options. With R-Design, they got access to tastefully composed options packages featuring exclusive design details and thrilling sport chassis.
Today R-Design is found across almost the entire Volvo product range in the C30, S40, V50, S80, V70, XC60 and XC90 models.
"R-Design has been a great success for Volvo Cars. This sporty, exclusive sales version has helped us attract new customer groups who would perhaps not otherwise have chosen Volvo. The introduction of the XC60 R-Design shows clearly how strongly we believe in this concept and we have noted considerable pre-launch interest in this product from our markets," says Lennart Stegland, president of Volvo Special Vehicles.