Could an R-car return save Volvo?

Could an R-car return save Volvo?

Volvo S60R concept

Volvo has recently wandered a broken and bumpy road, but now there’s some fresh speculation surrounding the troubled automaker. After a tough last couple of years that saw the Swedish brand suffer falling sales while parent company Ford desperately tried to sell the brand to the highest bidder, Volvo has gotten as far away from producing performance vehicles. All the while, its competition from Germany, Japan and the U.S. have boosted their luxury lines with mid-level or super high-performance cars like the BMW 335i/M3, Audi S4/RS4 and Cadillac CTS-V. Volvo, meanwhile, has only focused on more refined design and naturally, safety.

Unfortunately, every player in these segments has upped the ante with their designs and superior safety is no longer solely the domain of Volvo.

So it’s all getting back to the Volvo’s sports brand of R cars. Volvo had some success with the 850R in the mid-Nineties, which was a mildly sharper version than the standard box sedan on which it was based. After that, the P2-gen S60R and V70R got a solid following with their complex Haldex all-wheel-drive system, 300-hp motor, adjustable 4C suspension and Brembo stoppers. But then the R cars disappeared and were replaced only by “R Design” packages that offered the high performance look but nothing under the sheet metal to back it up.

In the home of Volvos, Sweeden, there is a big call for a return to proper R cars with the arrival of the all-new S60, and rather than be crazy quick, should offer mid-level performance like the original 850R did. Pictured is a rendered speculation of a reborn S60R from the Swedespeed website.

Volvo S60R concept

Volvo has recently wandered a broken and bumpy road, but now there’s some fresh speculation surrounding the troubled automaker. After a tough last couple of years that saw the Swedish brand suffer falling sales while parent company Ford desperately tried to sell the brand to the highest bidder, Volvo has gotten as far away from producing performance vehicles. All the while, its competition from Germany, Japan and the U.S. have boosted their luxury lines with mid-level or super high-performance cars like the BMW 335i/M3, Audi S4/RS4 and Cadillac CTS-V. Volvo, meanwhile, has only focused on more refined design and naturally, safety.

Unfortunately, every player in these segments has upped the ante with their designs and superior safety is no longer solely the domain of Volvo.

So it’s all getting back to the Volvo’s sports brand of R cars. Volvo had some success with the 850R in the mid-Nineties, which was a mildly sharper version than the standard box sedan on which it was based. After that, the P2-gen S60R and V70R got a solid following with their complex Haldex all-wheel-drive system, 300-hp motor, adjustable 4C suspension and Brembo stoppers. But then the R cars disappeared and were replaced only by “R Design” packages that offered the high performance look but nothing under the sheet metal to back it up.

In the home of Volvos, Sweeden, there is a big call for a return to proper R cars with the arrival of the all-new S60, and rather than be crazy quick, should offer mid-level performance like the original 850R did. Pictured is a rendered speculation of a reborn S60R from the Swedespeed website.

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