S60 sedan and V60 wagon models come in several trims and all are powered by some version of a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. In its T5 guise, the engine makes 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The T6 variant employs both a turbocharger and a supercharger, which brings output up to 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. Polestar is Volvo's performance tuning partner, and in the performance-oriented S60 and V60 Polestar trim, the engine puts out 362 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. These engines get good mileage, too--up to an EPA-rated 25 mpg city and 37 highway for the T5. A Haldex all-wheel drive system is available in both the sedan and wagon. The system sends power mostly to the front wheels during ordinary driving but can quickly send more to the rear wheels whenever the system senses a loss in traction. A more rugged-appearing Cross Country version, with taller ground clearance, is also available. An 8-speed automatic transmission and engine stop/start technology is standard on all S60 and V60 models.
T5-powered trims in the S60 line include Dynamic, Inscription and Inscription Platinum, while different versions of the T6 power the R-Design and Polestar. T5-powered V60s come in base T5, Premier, Dynamic, and Platinum, with R-Design and Polestar rounding out the T6 offerings.
Throughout the S60 and V60 line, you'll find cabin appointments that are refreshingly different compared to most luxury cars, with contrasting trims, soft leather upholstery and woodgrain in places. The front seats are some of the most supportive in the cars' respective classes, while rear seats are contoured so that even taller adults can sit back there comfortably. V60s offer flip-forward rear seats and a continuous cargo floor, which offers up far more versatility to active types and families.
S60 Dynamic models ride on 18-inch alloy wheels and feature active dual xenon headlights, dual tailpipes and milled aluminum inlays in the cabin. Inscription models offer a longer wheelbase, with three inches more rear legroom, while rear park assist and navigation are also standard. The Inscription Platinum offers more in the way of technology, with adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full automatic braking and a Harman Kardon sound system.
The base V60 T5, meanwhile, sports 17-inch alloy wheels, a power glass moonroof, and Volvo's collision avoidance system. The Premier trim adds exterior flourishes like silver roof rails and brightwork to frame the windows, along with navigation. The V60 Dynamic is outfitted similarly to the S60 variant.
In addition to the more powerful engine, R-Design trims on both cars come with 19-inch alloy wheels, unique front grilles, a sportier chassis and paddle shifters. Polestar models in sedan and wagon form ride on exclusive 20-inch alloys with performance summer tires. Braking is courtesy of large Brembo 6-caliper vented discs, with handling helped along by Polestar performance shock absorbers. A front air dam and rear diffuser also assist in keeping the car grounded.
Major option groups include the Climate Package (heated front and rear outboard seats, heated windshield, heated steering wheel, heated washer nozzles), a Technology Package (Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake, Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control, Lane Departure Warning, Road Sign Information, Active High Beam and Lane Keeping Aid).
Standalone options include heated front seats, active dual xenon headlamps with washers, Park Assist Pilot, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, Urbane Wood inlays and a Nubuck textile/leather upholstery--as well as several styles and sizes of wheels.
All S60 and V60 models come with the Sensus interface, which allows a screen interface for audio, navigation, apps, and Internet music streaming. Even the base audio system includes HD Radio tuning, satellite radio compatibility, Bluetooth audio streaming and USB inputs.
In the two years since I first drove the Volvo's really only changed one thing: the brakes. But this seemingly small tweak actually makes a huge difference. With this important piece of the performance puzzle sorted, the S60 Polestar Engineered is finally the fully realized sport sedan it always intended to be.,
The hardware was never the issue; the big, six-piston Brembo front brakes provided lots of stopping power. But the electronic brake-by-wire software -- where the brake pedal sends a signal to a computer, which then tells the brakes what to do -- was poorly tuned. Volvo tweaked the software and made a few minor hardware changes, resulting in a braking experience that not only provides better feedback to the driver, but vastly smooths out the transition between the S60's regenerative and mechanical braking.
The old brakes were so hard to gauge that you'd unknowingly apply too much pressure, the nose of the car would dive and the S60's rear end would unsettle -- right before a turn, no less. Even worse, those grabby attributes made the S60 Polestar Engineered kind of a hassle to drive in the city or in stop-and-go traffic. I'm happy to report that at all speeds, the new setup is way, way better.
The Good ~ Potent hybrid performance ~ The brakes aren't awful anymore ~ Gorgeous design, inside and out
The Bad ~ More expensive base price than rivals ~ T8 powertrain sounds wheezy ~ Sensus infotainment is still a little buggy
The Bottom Line Thanks to some mechanical upgrades, the Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered is finally the sport sedan it wanted to be all along.
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