Performance » 8
PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
predictable, stable and unflappable
Kelley Blue Book
it never felt like it was making the same 300 hp as classmates such as the Lexus IS350 and BMW 335i
Car and Driver
Volvo's Speed Sensitive Steering is quick to respond and well weighted
scoots away from a stoplight or passes slower traffic with ease
Road & Track
The S60 moves with a grace and sense of purpose that has eluded Volvos for years.
Backing up its aggressive looks, the 2012 Volvo S60 delivers on the performance front despite not offering a large V-8 engine.
Instead, the S60 takes its power from a choice of turbocharged in-line five- and six-cylinder engines. The S60 T5's engine is a 2.5-liter turbo in-line five-cylinder, good for 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It's not quite as strong as the T6 model, but delivers its torque from a very low 1,800 rpm. The T5 is only available in front-wheel drive.
The S60 T6 gets a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder, rated at 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. It's the only engine available in the S60, but it's a very good one, feeling even more powerful than its numbers would suggest. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive for easy driving and fast acceleration, plus great all-weather capability. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 5.8 seconds, picking up speed very quickly once boost builds.
The S60 R Design also uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder, but in this application it's tuned for more power: 325 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. This just adds to the T6's already very good acceleration. The R Design also gets a unique tuned suspension system standard, offering crisper handling and sportier ride.
Steering and handling are also very good, with excellent feel from the steering wheel in standard configuration, and a MyCar menu system that offers three different levels of driver-tunable assist for further enhancement. Despite the S60's weight and size, it's very maneuverable, feeling confident in high-speed turns and nimble in slow turns.
All of that said, the S60, while very fast and capable, isn't a track-bred sport sedan like some BMWs or S-line Audis. It's more than up to the dask on the street, but small delays in shift requests, throttle response, and other ride-smoothing characteristics become noticeable at pace on a track.
The S60 also doesn't offer paddle shifters on the steering wheel, instead forcing those who want to shift manually to use the console-mounted lever; the manual mode also doesn't hold gears like you'd expect, unexpectedly downshifting on heavy throttle when you might want to use a lower gear.
The 2012 Volvo S60 T6 and R Design models offer impressive sport sedan performance, though they lack the track-rated edge of some competitors.