The Volvo S60 is a very nice car, a reasonable competitor to the BMW 3 Series, but the R-Design label adds little to the car, besides a little more power and a higher price tag.
Volvo launched its updated S60 sedan last year, showing off a modern, premium European car that competes well with the BMW 3 Series. The R-Design version, new for 2012, is intended to be a sportier version.
The S60 presents a design far from Volvo's older, boxy style. This car, although not setting itself significantly apart from the competition, has a modern look. White LED lightpipes inboard from the headlight casings are a recognizable touch when driving at night.
Volvo sport-tunes the suspension for the R-Design model, yet it did not feel particularly capable when cornering. Its standard torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive should provide more of an assist, especially under slippery conditions.
Cabin tech controls on the steering wheel spoke allow access to voice and volume control, along with the ability to skip songs. Voice command worked reasonably well, and recognized the street names we gave it.
The S60 R-Design comes standard with Volvo's City Safety feature, which uses a forward-looking camera to recognize other vehicles and pedestrians, automatically applying the brakes if it senses an impending collision.