Volvo S60 T5 R-Design 2012 Review

February 8th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

We spent a very pleasant week which included a jaunt to Ruapuke and back for a Waitangi weekend camping trip. This was a great test for the Volvo – plenty of motorway driving, followed by some twisty blacktop and then gravel, all while laden down with the accoutrements of spending a couple of nights under canvas without decent toilet facilities.

The S60 T5 R-Design sits in a kind of middle ground between family sedan and luxury sports sedan. You could look at it two ways: it’s a safe and practical option for a sporty sedan, or it’s a car that stuck between those two markets and might not be big enough to be a family sedan or sporty enough to make your hairs stand on end.

It’s a Volvo so that means it comes with the aura of safety that is almost uniquely Volvo’s to emanate. That means it’s probably not going to appeal to young, affluent execs. No, despite the R-Design pack which gives you a sports-tuned chassis, a new grille and mirrors, a set of sports seats, floor mats, some stunning 5-spoke alloys, sat-nav and flashier gear knob, instruments and steering wheel, this is going to be a car which is bought by people who appreciate the sleek design and punchy overtaking power, but want it tempered with an air of sensibility and impregnable safety. Perhaps there’s a child, but no longer a ‘significant other’; perhaps it’s the need for an attractive corporate ride that’s a bit of a sleeper; perhaps it’s a couple whose children have flown the coupe [sic] so back seats are a mere convenience and not a necessity; perhaps they really just like Volvos but want something more exciting with better handling than an XC. Continue reading “Volvo S60 T5 R-Design 2012 Review” »

Volvo Australia reveals S60 ‘Performance Project’

July 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo is continuing its sporty aspirations with a new S60 prototype developed in collaboration with Polestar Racing and tuning company Heico. The one-off S60 is named the “Performance Project” and is based on the T6 R-Design.

Volvo’s Australian unit is responsible has built the special prototype that sees performance and cosmetic upgrades. Power has been increased to 242KW with 480Nm of torque an increase of 18kW and 40Nm of the standard vehicle. This was achieved by a revised ECU and a new exhaust system. The suspension has been reworked and lowered by 15 millimeters with monotube damping and stiffer springs. To help dress it up the go-fast Volvo is fitted with 19-inch alloys wrapped in Pirelli rubber. Continue reading “Volvo Australia reveals S60 ‘Performance Project’” »

Volvo S60 T6 2011 Review

May 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Recently, to prove Volvo is no longer a maker of safety obsessed, vanilla vehicles, pro race driver Jonny Reid lapped Hampton Downs in the new S60 T6 sedan. Big deal you might say. Well he did do it blindfolded (click here to view video).  Some may see this stunt as little more than a cheap promotional trick, but it illustrates the redefining new direction the Swedish carmaker has taken. An awareness, pride and continuation of Volvo’s safety innovations remain but the new top-spec S60 T6 has been given eye-catching, flowing design, serious power output and sporting dynamics. Car and SUV wasn’t given a blindfold, or time on a racetrack but did get a drive in the very same S60 T6 that lapped Hampton Downs. Here are the results.

Volvo’s solid and boxy design language is now almost fully extinct and the S60 shows more curves than a hip-hop video. A dipping front end with two-piece headlights and a broad signature grille give the S60 a modern and distinctive face. A steeply raked windscreen and coupe-like roofline define its low-slung profile. At the back end, wrap around taillights and a subtle boot lid spoiler are features. Contrasting hard plastic cladding is used to good effect on the S60’s lower edges, this helps give it genuine sporty appeal. It also combines with the widened rear panels and high boot deck to create an athletic stance. Like a sprinter paused in their blocks the S60 looks alert, muscular and dynamic. Other signals of go-fast intent include 7-spoke 18-inch alloys and dual, integrated exhaust tips. Any aesthetic concessions aren’t required in owning a new S60. Particularly in T6 form, it’s a sexy machine and Volvo has achieved it without resorting to more generic styling, it’s distinctive but still clear in its origins.

In the cabin, the coupe theme continues with a cosseting sports-inspired atmosphere. A high centre armrest dissects driver and shotgun passenger with all switchgear placed close to hand. The build quality has a bulletproof feel and the materials are mainly high-grade with the exception of some harder plastics. There is a luxury feel in the S60 cabin and while it can’t quite match pricier European brands it’s a step up from more direct Japanese competitors. The waterfall control stack is a highlight being finished in brushed metal and housing the majority of buttons and dials. A recessed 7-inch screen displays all main information in full colour and is positioned high for easy checking on the fly. The control system interface isn’t immediately intuitive but with regular use drivers will learn its ways. The instrumentation is Spartan but effectively designed with two large dials surrounding digital displays that offer vehicle information. Phone, cruise and audio buttons are housed in a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel. Continue reading “Volvo S60 T6 2011 Review” »

Chicks dig BMW 5-Series and Citroen DS3 – it’s official

April 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Many men spend time wondering what exactly is the best car to own if you want to impress the ladies. A Kermit green Series 2 Mazda RX-7 may have done the trick twenty five years ago, but in 2011 women are more impressed by style, economy and practicality. So if you want to win some points pick up your date in a BMW 5-Series or a Citroen DS3.

Because us men were never going to uncover these important results ourselves a crack team of woman motoring writers from around the globe recently held the annual Women’s World Car of the Year for 2011. The voting finished so close that the supreme award produced a dead heat between the BMW 5 Series and the Citroen DS3. So gents, if you’re on a budget go for French style in the DS3, if your cashed-up, then spring for the current 5-Series BMW and don’t cheapen out of the leather trim.

Category winners and runners up in the competition included:

Family Car Winner  – Volvo S60
Runner up – Kia Sportage

Sports Car Winner – Aston Martin Rapide
Runner up – Audi TT

Luxury Car Winner - BMW 5 Series
Runner up – Jaguar XJ

Economical Car Winner - Citroen DS3
Runner up – Mini One Diesel Continue reading “Chicks dig BMW 5-Series and Citroen DS3 – it’s official” »

Volvo gives S60 street cred with cool art session (+video)

April 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo has given its new S60 sports sedan some street cred by lending one, as a canvas, to a whole bunch of Swiss street artists. Ten street artist groups painted and sprayed the snow-white Volvo S60 over a five day period at Zurich’s main railway station.

The all-white Volvo S60 was positioned in front of a white canvas for the artists to go to work on it. During that time, over 35,000 commuters rushed by while the ten crews of Swiss street artists painted and repainted the S60 and canvas.

During this live art happening, a high-end camera shot pictures every 10 seconds. The results are impressive with one artist cleverly using the time-lapse photography to create  a stop-motion styled animation. After the final painting, all the photographs were compiled into a three-minute long video which can be viewed below.

“Our intentions with this art project, was to express and emphasize in a creative and innovative way the design of the Volvo S60″, says Anouk Poelmann, President of Volvo Cars Switzerland.

Watching the final 3-minute video below reveals the steady flow of artistic repainting and also shows the ten very different cars that is actually only one. Continue reading “Volvo gives S60 street cred with cool art session (+video)” »

Being safe just got sexy – Volvo S60 sedan launched in NZ

December 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Volvo S60 has been officially launched into the New Zealand market at a special press event held in Auckland yesterday. Volvo’s sleek sedan was put through its paces during some road testing and a series of safety drills, but it’s already clear the S60 has much more to offer than ground-breaking safety features.

The new S60 is looking to raise the stakes in New Zealand’s mid-size premium car market with its coupe-style looks, sharp on-road dynamics and of course, world-first safety innovations.

The first cars are being delivered to customers before the summer holiday period, with the S60 D5 AWD (Turbo diesel All Wheel Drive) priced at $71,990 and the S60 T6 AWD (Turbo petrol All Wheel Drive) at $79,990. A front wheel drive S60 T5 will be added to the range early next year at $63,990.

For those who like to get some speed up the top-spec S60 T6 is a true sports sedan using a turbocharged six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol engine that pumps out 224kW of power, 440Nm of torque and will do the sprint to 100kph in just 6.1 seconds. Mated up to a six-speed auto transmission it’s a potent performer. The S60 D5 uses a five-cylinder diesel mill with twin-turbocharging that produces a solid 151kW of power and 420Nm of twist, the D5 takes 8.1 seconds to 100kph and returns 6.8l/100km combined fuel economy.

For safety enthusiasts there is plenty to like about the S60 with new primary and secondary safety innovations, the all-new S60 sedan is the most high-tech Volvo yet seen. World-leading dynamic safety technology, including extended functionality to its Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system to include Advanced Stability Control (ASC) – a first for this segment – is complemented by two pioneering safety innovations: Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, and Volvo’s City Safety, which was first seen on the Volvo XC60.

In terms of exterior design the S60 has been styled to attract. Its coupe-like profile incorporates a steeply raked windscreen and a roofline that flows in one smooth sweep into the taillights. Volvo design director Peter Horbury says ‘You are almost surprised to see that it has rear doors.’

On the road, the S60 is the sportiest Volvo sedan yet made. ‘The ride is firmer and yet it is much better controlled. I would say comfort has actually been increased,’ says Egbert Bakker, technical expert responsible for vehicle dynamics at Volvo.

The all-new Volvo S60 has one of the most advanced stability control systems – part of Volvo’s high-tech Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) – reducing the likelihood of wheel spin or skidding. Corner Traction Control increases on-road agility by automatically braking the inner driven wheel as extra power is applied to the outer wheel. This ‘torque vectoring’ improves turn-in, thus reducing understeer.

Continue reading “Being safe just got sexy – Volvo S60 sedan launched in NZ” »

Jonny Reid hot laps Hampton Downs in Volvo S60 – blindfolded! (+video)

December 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

So you thought it was pretty hardcore that time you drove at night without your lights turned on just to freak-out you’re mates – well that’s nothing compared to this.

Former NZ A1GP driver Jonny Reid has recently put a brand spankers 2011 Volvo S60 through its paces at full speed around Hampton Downs Raceway. While this usually wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary for the 27-year-old pro driver, he did it at full pace and totally blindfolded. That’s right, he couldn’t see a thing. Hey, we were suspicious at first too, but after seeing the videos below it all appears fully legit.

According to the promotional event’s organisers, it took Reid a few attempts, but in the end, he not only didn’t smash up Volvo’s latest machine, but also achieved a lap time of 1:28 with a top speed of 193km/h.

A Volvo spokesman said, “He was guided only by the feel of the car, his knowledge of the track, and co-driver Earl Bamber’s voice.” Full credit to Jonny Reid, while it’s a fairly gimmicky promotion it must take some bottle to drive full speed blindfolded. Earl Bamber’s co-driver role takes some serious kahunas as well.

The new 2011 Volvo S60 looks sharp in the clips to find out more about the car click here to visit the Volvo NZ website and check back for more news when it’s officially launched later this month.

Check out the videos below, they’re well worth it. Continue reading “Jonny Reid hot laps Hampton Downs in Volvo S60 – blindfolded! (+video)” »

Volvo NZ announces pricing and specs for S60 sedan range

November 24th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo Car New Zealand has announced pricing for its all-new S60 sedan range, which is the latest entry into the medium luxury segment for the Swedish automaker. Kiwi buyers will start to take deliveries of the all-new S60 from mid-December.

Volvo is claiming that the S60 is its most dynamic model yet with higher levels of handling and road holding combined with the marque’s unique Scandinavian design and quality.

It will be available in three models: the 224kW 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-charged petrol T6, Volvo’s recently updated 151kW 2.4-litre five-cylinder twin-turbo diesel D5 and the new two litre, four cylinder GTDi (direct injection turbocharged petrol) with 177 kWs.

The S60 AWD D5 will be priced at $71,990 and the S60 AWD T6 will be $79,990. The base model S60 GTDi will be $63,990.

Power for both the T6 and D5 models will be distributed to all four wheels by Volvo’s All Wheel Drive system and mated to Volvo’s six-speed Adaptive Geartronic transmission, offering the choice of manual gear selection or ‘Sport’ mode. This transmission also features a neutral control function, which lowers fuel consumption and reduces emissions by automatically switching from Drive to Neutral when the car comes to a complete stop.

The front wheel drive S60 GTDi will be added to the range at the end of the first quarter of next year and have a dual clutch automatic transmission.

In addition to benefiting from Volvo’s long list of standard safety features including City Safety, Advanced Stability Control (including roll over sensor and torque vectoring), Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) and Pyrotechnical seatbelt pretensions for all passengers – the all-new Volvo S60 introduces New Zealand buyers to a world first innovation.

Continue reading “Volvo NZ announces pricing and specs for S60 sedan range” »

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