Motor Trend, November 2002
First seen at the Paris Motor Show in September, the new Volvo S60 R rolled into Miami for a first look by North American audiences this past weekend. The high-performance sedan is a limited-production model, inspired by the technology and performance of Volvo's Performance Concept Car.
Atop the S60 R list of technological breakthroughs is the most advanced active performance chassis employing Four-C Technology (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept). Four-C differs from other chassis concepts in its ability to process enormous amounts of information from sensors throughout the chassis. The sensors send signals to the Four-C's microprocessor, which computes the motions of the car, adjusting the stiffness of the shock absorbers so that the car is always parallel to the road surface. The shock absorbers are updated with new information 500 times per second. This is made possible by a totally new technology developed jointly with Ohlins Racing AB and Monroe.
The driver has three chassis-setting options available through three control buttons in the middle of the instrument panel -- Comfort, Sport and Advanced Sport. In the Sport setting, which is also the default setting, the chassis is optimized for ordinary driving on winding roads and at high speeds. Pressing the Comfort button increases the softness of the chassis and insulates the body from irregularities in the road.
When the driver presses the Advanced Sport button, the Volvo S60 R is transformed into a pure sports sedan. The chassis is optimized for maximum road holding in all situations, including the racetrack.
The S60 R's electronically controlled all-wheel-drive (AWD) system works in concert with the Four-C suspension to optimize road holding and stability. With its extremely short engagement and disengagement time, the AWD system reacts immediately to throttle position and torque.
Under the hood lurks the most powerful engine in the Volvo range. The five-cylinder 2.5-liter inline turbocharged engine puts out 300 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 295 ft-lbs of torque at 1950 rpm. Top speed for the S60 is electronically limited to 155 mph and it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph 5.7 seconds with a manual gearbox.
The new six-speed manual gearbox was developed to handle the high torque delivered by the engine. Gearshift travel is short, making for fast, positive changes. Also available is a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, which offers the best of both worlds: the gearbox takes care of all gear changes automatically; or the driver can change gears manually, but without a clutch. It also has a "Sport" mode selector in which the automatic transmission changes gears at a higher engine speed and downshifts faster.
The styling of the new cars represents a subtle change in Volvo's tradition when it comes to performance-car design. The S60 R features an aggressively styled front end. The grille has a frame in satin silver, the chin spoiler has been extended and the lower air intake is larger to provide increased airflow and more efficient cooling. At the back, the Volvo S60 R has a thin trunk-mounted spoiler.
Inside, the sport seats have increased side support. They are available in three colors: Dark Blue, Gold Beige and Aniline leather, all with unique stitching. According to Volvo, "The leather carries a strong visual link with Scandinavian furniture design." No mention has been made of a special Ikea edition.
Scheduled to start production in early 2003, the 2004 Volvo S60 R will be built in Ghent, Belgium. Volumes will be limited to 7000 total units. A wagon version -- the V70 R -- will be built at the Torslanda plant in Sweden. Prices have not been announced.
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