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Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Volvo S60 T6 RYes it's a Volvo, and yes it's safe, but it's also quite sporty.
When Volvo set out to try and steal the best customers away from the A4 and the 3 Series, they didn't screw around. This decidedly handsome beast is perhaps the most mind-changing Volvo yet. Let's drive the 2012 S60 T6 R in Check the Tech. The S60 shares a platform with the XC60 Crossover, but you'd never know it by looking at them. This sedan has none of Volvo's traditional chunky shoe appeal, nor the goofy trying-too-hard thing of the more modern C30 Coupe. Gotta hand it to Volvo. They've got a distinct and really very elegant and handsome cabin language. Now, they've really pulled it together, very subtly fared in things like their vents and their bezels. This control panel is very Volvo. It ties into that what 7-inch high-res LCD, and what you've got here is a series of knobs, not a central control like a lot of companies used. The key thing is this is a rotating selector with an OK or Select button on top and an Exit or Back button on the lower half of this guy. It also doubles as a tuner when you're in radio. Now, let's get to what you can see on the screen. Here's our navigation, optional navigation, by the way. And like everything on this screen, really fine dot pitch. I've got all the POI showing right now. You have real-time traffic on this guy. Let's go to the media system. Here's your optical slot CD or DVD because we have the top end media system, which has Dolby Pro Logic and handles DVDs. Down here, your control system brings you to the media tab. Disc is this slot of course. Rotate this to USB. There's my USB and iPod connector. Bluetooth is streaming Bluetooth A2DP. Of course, you also have Bluetooth hands-free as well, and a good old fashion AUX jack right in here, right next to the USB guy. And since every car makers teaming up with some Robb Report style home audio brand, these guys have teamed up with Audyssey. They've got a system in here with, I believe, 12 speakers, 5 Amps and 130 Watts each, as I mentioned, Dolby Pro Logic decoding, and what they call MultEQ, which is an advanced DSP system that tunes out all the distortions and weirdnesses of this car's particular cabin; although I don't find any mention of their being active noise cancellation. Cameras, this car is optioned up with a camera in the rear, which is pretty standard stuff. You have 2 views. Useful and useless, which is just a little bit of a crap and push on the existing view. A lot of car makers are doing that now. That's basically a gimmick. But you do, in the main view, have trajectory and this kind of silly dotted lines. I don't know if those dotted lines me. I prefer the red, green, yellow or something like that. I guess when I look in the manual, it's gonna tell me every dotted line is 6 inches or something, but I don't need to memorize that map. Give me regions that say don't go here. Now, as this is a Volvo, there is a slew of tech to keep you from running into or over anyone. Standard is City Safety, which keeps you from rear-ending someone in stop and go traffic. We've tried it; it works. Optional is the blind spot information system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and the related Distance Alert to prevent rear-enders in other situations. Then there's Collision Warning technology with pedestrian detection, which can actually detect the pedestrian when you're texting or whatever and apply up to 100% of the brakes to keep you from running them over, an industry first from Volvo. One choice in the gearbox here, which is this Geartronic 6-Speed automatic, a true automatic, not a CVT. As you can see, it's got a pre-traditional gate and then you've got your shiftable gate over here. No paddles though. Now, let's go see what feeds into that. Now, the other spec on this car is the same engine layout, 3-liter inline-6 turbocharge sitting like this, but they've revised it with different timing on spark and advance and combustion, and they've also gone through and they've kind of hoarded and free flowed the engine, so you get a much better breathing mill which takes you to 325 horsepower, 354 foot-pounds of torque, and it gets this guy up to 60, about a half a second faster, around 5 and a half while still delivering 1826 mpg. And again, both models are all-wheel drive that we're talking about here and both go out with that same 6-Speed Automatic, which we will now go find out how well it works. First of all, in everyday city driving, how is the power delivery of this turbo? It's actually quite good around town, retractable in that sense. I don't get the determination or the feeling that it's having to think to apply boost and that's good because when you feel a turbo in town, you've got a disaster on your hands. We'll see how it is more on the open road. Now, let's try adjusting the steering force. There is this menu here. The steering wheel force have 3 settings, low, medium, high. Let me see. Alright. So high should give me a higher waiting dramatically more than low. That's a nice, smooth sounding engine, not quite in the Audi realm of smoothness, but that's the benchmark anyway; so, it's not bad to be even close to that. It's quite comfortable in town. Firm seats but good overall ergonomics and a lot of good room in this car, by the way, a plenty headroom for me. Okay. Now, I've got to an open road. Let's set this car up for its more athletic handling, and that's really just 2 things. Pop it over here n the gate. I don't wanna manually shift it. I mean, it's automatic for crying out loud. You do your job, but I'll put it in the manual gate and you see that puts me in sport mode right there. So it's gonna shift in whole rpm a little more aggressively. And then I'm gonna dial in this steering as I did already while I was stopped into high force, which is the least assist. It should give me a little better feedback and a little less oversteer on my part. Now, leaving this car in the sport side of the automatic gate, you start to feel that it's an automatic more so than we did when we were around town. It's less suited to what I'm trying to do here, which is to drive a little more spiritedly. And here is where it still seeks a top gear too much. It's having to yank itself out of what I think is like fourth or fifth, and the speed where I'd rather have it in second or third. So, that's an argument to get to this shift gate, which of course you can. But the power on this car is really quite linear once it comes on. It has that sort of turbo times overly high- gear thing we get in a lot of cars these days, but once it comes on, it's a nice broad torquer out of that turbo, which not all of a [unk], and that's a benefit of having a big engine. Suspension, I'm not impressed with. I'm getting plenty a little, you know, yo-hop as I go around this choppy sort of road. It's got a lot of twists and turns in it. This is where that adaptive 4C suspension that is optional might be nice. Okay. Let's price this S60 T6. In this case, it's an R, but a T6 without the R package starts off at $3088. Then they get to an R model, which is a different model, you're gonna pay about $4600 more. And that's gonna roll in the hotter motor, the 4C active suspension, bigger wheels, the R body kit, moonroof, and those dual-xenon headlights. The multimedia package is the high-end audio, the navigations included as is a rear camera, 2700 bucks, I might go for that. The tech package gets you all that Adaptive Cruise, Lane Departure, Distance Alert, and the thing that will stop you before you whack a pedestrian for 2100 bucks. And the one that I blew off without even thinking about is the rear seat entertainment option for $1800. It's a hoaky old dual screen, dual DVD that you could have bought at K-Mart and velcroed to your seats. Ba-bye.