I ROCK AND ROLL
2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Jul 17, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
“Volvo” in Latin translates to “I roll”. An Eaton supercharger and BorgWarner turbocharger working in tandem to crank out 302 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four roughly translates to “I rock”—and not just in Latin. Meet the rock and roll member of the Volvo family—the 2015 S60 T6 Drive-E. Harvey Schwartz reports.
By Harvey Schwartz
Not so long ago, associating a venerable Volvo brand with a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine that wrings out 302 horsepower—over hundred and fifty ponies per liter of capacity—would be unthinkable. But the Volvo’s R&D department in Sweden developed this all-aluminum beast with Eaton Supercharger and BorgWarner Turbocharger not only for sheer power but 295 pound-feet of torque at just 1,800-5,500 rpm. Bolted to this powerplant is the all-new Aisen eight-speed automatic transmission operated by steering wheel paddle shifters. The result is a quiet and smooth machine that still allows me to reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.6 seconds.
And when I press the brake, the S60 turns itself off! The start/stop feature is part of the new Drive-E technology that automatically stops the engine at rest and restarts it when the driver takes the foot off of the whoa pedal. An additional feature of the new technology is ECO+ that is activated by pushing a button located on the center stack. It will optimize shift points, engine control and throttle response resulting in improved fuel economy by five percent depending on driving style, temperature and climate. ECO+ is a marvel of technology: it includes Start/Stop and ECO-coast, enabling the vehicle to coast and conserve kinetic energy. The engine ‘brake’ is disengaged and revs drop to idle when pressure on the accelerator is released; ECO-climate disconnects the AC compressor to reduce auxiliary loads. Pressing the AC button restarts cooling.
When saving the planet with a 302 horsepower engine becomes overly humdrum, I can deactivate ECO+, push the shifter in D for normal driving, or Sport that utilizes Quick Shift designed to increase the car’s performance potential (now we're talking.) Selecting Sport Mode or using the paddle shifters, software mapping improves gear change speed by 20-30 percent on third to sixth gears and up to 50 percent faster from first to second gear for quicker acceleration. To keep this unleashed power on the road, the S60's has new electrical power assist steering (EPAS) on Drive-E. With a front R-Design strut tower brace behind the engine to increase front rigidity, the EPAS, despite the steering ratio of 15.0:1, still provides me with fast response to steering wheel inputs with good on-center feel.
The new S60 T6 has a fully independent suspension system. The front sits on a MacPherson strut setup with asymmetrically-mounted coil springs, hydraulic monotube shocks and stabilizer bar. The rear end is calmed by multi-link setup with coil springs, monotube hydraulic shocks and stabilizer bar. On the highway, the S60 T6 behaves in a very stable manner; meeting the corners at speed it remains flat and firm with very good response, and in slow city traffic, the electrical power assist steering allows me to maneuver the car with ease.
Braking is spot-on with 12.4 inch power-assisted vented discs clamped with large dual-piston calipers in the front and 11.9 inch solid discs with single-piston calipers in the rear. The deceleration hardware is enhanced with ABS, Hydraulic Brake Assist, Optimized Hydraulic Brake Ready Alert, Fading Brake Support and Electronic Stability and Traction Control. Keeping the braking distance short is further entrusted to 19X8 inch ‘BOR’ alloy wheels, each wrapped in Bridgestone 235/40R19 Potenza low-profile, high-performance tires. All of this translates into the new 2015 Volvo S60 T6 that is more fun to drive and more engaging for the enthusiast.
The driver-focused interior also contains new features. The Scandinavian design has always been known for simple shapes and surfaces without any unnecessary clutter, and this tradition continues in the new S60. An adaptive digital display in the Instrument clusters is standard and comes with easy-to-read Thin Film Transistor (TFT) design from which I can select three different themes: Elegance, Eco and Performance. The leather-trimmed sport bucket seats are cut deep to keep me and my front seat passenger in place during spirited driving times. Each features eight-way power adjustments including lumbar support that can be stored in three-driver memory. The three-spoke tilt/telescopic steering wheel features silk metal inlay with buttons for the audio system, Bluetooth and trip computer.
The laundry list of features is long, and impressive, but almost expected on the car of this caliber: Sensus with integrated seven-inch color LCD monitor, 160-watt high performance audio system with eight-speakers, in-dash single CD with WMA/MP3 capability, HD radio, USB & auxiliary inputs, Sirius Satellite Radio and Bluetooth, power glass moonroof, keyless entry & drive with side approach lighting, push button start/stop, adaptive digital TFT display, electronic parking brake, dual zone climate control, remote releases for the trunk/fuel filler door, front chrome kick plates, auto dimming rearview mirror, heated power outside rearview mirror with memory, 60/40 folding rear seat with pull-down center armrest/storage box, remote folding pull-switch in the trunk, air-outlets on each B-pillar to channel air into the rear seats, center console with dual cupholders/storage box with armrest, rain-sensing wipers/washers/headlight washers, all-express up/down windows, power door locks, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, front/rear/trunk floor mats, grab handles above each door and rear seat reading lights.
The test vehicle came with the Platinum Package, which includes navigation, real-time traffic, a Homelink integrated garage door opener, power retractable sideview mirrors, rear park assist, and a grocery bag holder.
In the high-tech safety option department, my S60 T6 was loaded with adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian/cyclist detection with auto brake, active dual Xenon headlights with washers, distance alert/driver alert control, lane departure warning, Blind Side Monitor, active high beam, road sign information, cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, and heated front seats.
The old movie line about the Volvos ("they are boxy, but they are good") applies here only in part. The S60 is definitely not boxy. It was redesigned last year with new exterior panels from the steeply raked A-pillars forward including a scalloped hood, flared front fenders and fascia. The equine herd under the hood breathes more easily through a wider grille with four chrome slats and a larger, wider lower front intake including bright accents and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lamps. Underneath is a flat panel to better channel airflow. The greenhouse is surrounded by a full-perimeter chrome strip, body-color pull-out door handles, aero-styled sideview mirrors, scalloped lower door panels and deep lower side extensions. The sporty stance at the rear features new LED light guides on the taillights, a lip spoiler at the end of the trunk lid and wide, dual rectangular exhaust tips with a bottom diffuser. And this is where "they are good" comes in.
The design is a clever reflection of the performance potential of the new 2015 S60 DRIVE-E T6. American consumers are increasingly looking for a unique, European designed and built, high-performing luxury sedan with the latest high-tech safety features. This Volvo has it all.
© Story and photographs by Harvey Schwartz
For more information about Volvo products, go to volvocars.com/us
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum Price: $38,150.00 (base) $47,925 (T6 Drive-E, as tested, including $925 destination charge) EPA mileage estimates (miles per gallon): 24 city/35 highway Engine type: 2.0 liter 16-valve double-overhead cam four-in-line with variable valve timing Horsepower: 302 @ 5700 rpm Torque: 295 pound-feet @ 2100 rpm Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Transmission: Eight-speed Aisen automatic with sequential manual mode and paddle shifters Suspension Front: MacPherson strut front independent suspension, stabilizer bar Rear: Multi-link independent suspension, stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: 18 x 8 inch alloy wheels and 235/40RV all season tires Dimensions Overall length: 182.5 inches Overall width: 73.4 inches Overall height: 58.4 inches Curb weight: 3,474 pounds