Car Culture

2012 Volvo S60 R-Design review: Tuned-up tech ride

CNET reviews the 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design, a safe sedan with impressive tech, along with a tuner package boosting power and adding cool wheels.

BMW has its M, Mercedes-Benz its AMG, and Audi its RS, and now Volvo fits the new S60 sedan with a performance badge, R-Design.

The S60 R-Design features a solid set of tuner upgrades, from a chipped engine to custom 18-inch alloy wheels. But it hardly competes with the likes of other European automaker performance divisions. Boasting 25 more horsepower out of the same engine as a stock S60, albeit with a reprogrammed engine control module, the S60 R-Design turns in thrilling acceleration.

Cornering is less professional, as the special sport-tuned suspension does not feel all that capable. And the six-speed automatic proves too slow to shift for power gear selection.

Putting aside any promised sporting performance, the S60 is a very nice ride. Volvo's navigation system is aggressive about avoiding traffic, and the stereo offers all the audio sources we could want.

Volvo's forte remains its safety equipment, which has gone high tech this decade. The S60 R-Design comes standard with City Safety, a feature that slams on the brakes if it detects an imminent low-speed collision. Other safety tech available on the S60 R-Design includes distance warning and a drowsy-driving detector.

Read CNET's full review of the 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design.