While the R-Design packages for the Volvo S60 and XC60 add a measure of visual flair to the Swedish family-haulers – as well as some suspension tweaks – the one thing they're lacking is a commensurate boost in power. The Volvo R-Design models are closer to an AMG, M-Sport or S-Line appearance package than an actual Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW M or Audi S or RS performance model. But Volvo is out to fix that with a pair of revised offerings for 2012.
Bearing the same R-Design nomenclature, the sporty versions of the S60 sedan and XC60 crossover will now benefit from an extra 25 horsepower and 29 lb-ft of torque coming out of their turbocharged six-cylinder T6 engine, bringing it up from 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque to 325 hp and 354 lb-ft respectively.
The rest of the parameters carry over from the existing R-Design models, but the increased output ought to make Volvo's warmed-over range that much more enticing. Unfortunately, the upgraded engine does not appear, however, to be available on the V60 R-Design sport wagon that bridges the gap between the S60 and XC60 models.
Follow the jump for more details in Volvo's official press release, and click the thumbnails below to scope out the fresh batch of images released with the announcement.
Volvo Announces More Horsepower, Torque for 2012 S60 R-Design and XC60 R-Design
NEW YORK (April 20, 2011) - The 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design sport sedan and XC60 R-Design crossover will get significant horsepower and torque increases when they go on sale late this summer, the company announced today at the New York International Auto Show.
Both models will be powered by Volvo's T6 engine, a turbocharged, inline six-cylinder that will now produce 325 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard T6 engine in both models produces 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque.
The S60 R-Design will have a starting price of $42,275* and the XC60 R-Design will start at $43,150*.
"The jump in performance will re-define these two R-Design models," said Doug Speck, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. "Along with styling and suspension features that set them apart from other versions, our two newest R-Design models will have a higher 'fun-to-drive' quotient. I see that as a positive thing, and so will car buyers."
After developing the all-new S60, which is Volvo's most dynamic model ever, the chassis team focused on further refining a number of details. "The challenge was to boost the dynamics without making the chassis feel raw," says Stefan Sallqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics. Taking the S60 R-Design to the next level required a critical dissection of the already capable chassis and the addition of a number of performance enhancing sub-systems.
The chassis team fitted a strut brace under the hood that ties together the suspension strut towers. This is a classic method of stiffening up the body structure and to improve steering response. At the rear, the S60 R-Design features monotube dampers. Unlike the twin-tube dampers used in the S60 T6, the monotube system features compression and return damping via the same valve. This gives shorter, faster fluid flow, which in turn means the damper responds more quickly.
The front and rear springs have been shortened by 15 mm to give the car more visual attitude. What is more, spring stiffness is 15 percent higher compared to the dynamic chassis in the S60 T6. The bushings with which the rear dampers are attached to the body are 20 percent stiffer compared with the Dynamic chassis found in the standard S60 T6. The front tie-blade bushing, that is to say the attachment in the rear of the car, is a massive 400 percent stiffer than before to counteract wheel bouncing and shaking.
Ride control and confidence inspiring handling are nothing without the appropriate muscle and the S60 R-Design won't disappoint. The turbocharged T6, displacing 3.0 liters, is the most powerful six-cylinder engine currently offered by Volvo. Maximum torque now is achieved from just 3,000 rpm and remains available throughout the rev range. Power is transmitted to the wheels via Volvo's second-generation six-speed automatic Geartronic transmission with sport mode. New valves and lower friction mean faster gear changes than before. Similar to the S60 T6, the S60 R-Design will be offered standard with Volvo's electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system with Instant Traction® and Corner Traction Control with torque vectoring.
Corner Traction Control uses torque vectoring for smoother cornering. This technology is a further refinement of the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC). When cornering, the car's inner driven wheel is braked while, at the same time, more power is transmitted to the outer driven wheel. This allows the driver to take the corner more tightly while reducing any tendency to understeer.
Helping to set the S60 R-Design apart from the S60 are a number of visual design cues. On the outside the cars have an imposing redesigned lower front fascia with a grille painted in glossy piano black. The sporty stance is further enhanced with color-matched body components, details in matte finish and a hexagonal pattern that is repeated both front and rear. Incorporated within a sporty rear exhaust baffle are distinctive, 90mm twin exhaust tailpipes and unique R-Design exclusive five-spoke 18-inch diamond cut wheels emphasize the sporty overall appeal. The introductory, R-Design exclusive color is Passion Red but the Volvo S60 R-Design also will be available in four other colors. Additionally, the S60 R-Design features a rear trunk spoiler and standard Dual Xenons with Active Bending Lights.
Inside, a number of new features help to further differentiate the S60 R-Design. The driver and front passenger sit in sports seats in which the highly supportive backrest from the S60 is matched by an all-new seat cushion with deeper side bolsters. The upholstery will be offered in off-black leather with contrasting stitching and a sport-oriented textured leather accent with an embossed R-Design logo across the front-seat backrests. The interior also features a sport steering wheel with R-Design logo, gear selector, sports pedals, floor mats and a blue watch-dial instrument cluster.
On the safety front, the S60 R-Design is available with Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake. This driver assistance system consists of a newly developed radar unit integrated into the S60's grille, a camera fitted in front of the inside rearview mirror and a central control unit. The radar's task is to detect any object in front of the car and to determine the distance to it while the camera determines what type of object it is. Up to 22 mph, the system helps the car avoid hitting a pedestrian. At higher speeds, the system helps mitigate the severity of an impact.
The function is also programmed to respond to vehicles in front that are at a standstill or are moving in the same direction as the car fitted with the system. Thanks to the newly developed dual-mode radar's much wider field of vision, pedestrians about to step into the roadway can also be detected early on. The camera has higher resolution than the previous-generation unit. This makes it possible to detect the pedestrian's pattern of movement.