2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design – Bottom Line Review

Evidence is mounting that the impact of polar thaw is being felt in Göteborg, Sweden.

Not far from the Arctic Circle, at the ancestral home of carmaker Volvo, the product was once chiseled in ice blocks congruity.

The latest shapes at the Swedish luxury carmaker bear the amorphy of H20 thawed at the edges. Modern Volvo cabins, previously all business, now, too, are blessed with a warmth previously unknown to near Arctic confines.

Their inspired FjällRäven parka active lifestyle XC40, XC60, XC90 and V CrossCountry series feed the trend and continue to fill the accounts. However, revealing more skin under a stunning Demadly swimsuit of a completely re-designed 2019 Volvo S60 luxury sports sedan is expected to exalt of driving enthusiasm and celebrate good taste.

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WHAT: 2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design, compact executive sport sedan, succeeding a Ford global P3 based 2nd generation S60 (2011-2018).

Standard Power: transverse intercooled turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 250 hp/ 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + (optional) Haldex IV all-wheel drive.

Optional Power: transverse intercooled supercharged, turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 316 hp/ 295 lb-ft @ 2200 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + Haldex IV all-wheel drive.

A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: The 4th Volvo model to sit atop the joint Geely Volvo Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular platform, and the second sedan after the flagship Volvo S90.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Judiciously sized & cinched grille and subtly darkened straked lower corners and center airdam make way for Thor’s Hammer alternating amber directionals / white DRLs.

Tidier Thor: Lacking the extra hood side crease, dark slatting replaces S90’s low rise concave vertical slats in a hexagonal grille which draws the four front corners together. The body color framed, dark straked front fascia corners, flare out from the lower lattice intake for more assertiveness.

The notably high beltline, Coke bottle fuselage runs a rising lower crease tandeming an Hofmeister C-pillar kink. Rear quarter panels, equally as muscular as the fenders, which gently flare, + taller backlight slope = Sporty Fastback.

Moving the “VOLVO” lettering up to an enhanced uplifted integral spoiler, fills in the S90’s notably barren center lower trunk deck lid with a license plate affixation, and pronounce the “C” taillamps. It also allows a more cohesive bumper cover with integrated reflectors and dark accents in the lower fascia which span the the dual trapezoid chrome exhaust outlets. The menacing R-Design treatment also drapes dark over door pillars.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Moving license plate mount area from S90’s bumper cover to mid-trunk looks tidier. LED taillamp tops bridge far.

IT COULDN’T BE A MODERN VOLVO without Thors Hammer alternating white DRLs/ amber flashers laterally bisecting the wrap-around LED headlamps.

WHY: A polished, sophisticated and distinctively warmed Nordic variation on the luxury European sports sedan.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Spring 2019

WHERE: Volvo new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Ridgeville, South Carolina, U.S.A. (with 50% of production allocated for export).

HOW ROAD TRAMPLING: Spewing 12 fewer horsepower the Drive-E dual stage supercharged, then turbocharging gas inline-4 powerplant’s low speed grunt does not instill all that much nostalgia for the Mk. 2 S60 T6 R-Design‘s blown 3.0 liter inline-6. As the needle swings past 12 O’Clock the hustle is more akin to the north to south competitive set turbo 4-pots. Magnesium helm mounted shift paddles certainly deserve admiration for their precision craftmanship. But such fine art never imbued the seamless Aisin 8-speed automatic transaxle with the zest of a ZF HP8s. Sport drive mode holds onto the shorter ratio lower gears for impressively snappy getaways from the bogged down crowds. Yet the 2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design manages to avoid the zestiest upper reaches of the tachometer as some taboo region.

– Haldex 4 viscous clutch all-wheel drive network slips up to 90% of torque aft and is capable of E-differential locking out one side entirely. Despite forward weight bias and lack of front wheel limited slip there is no torque steer or rear wheel tramp.

– Retaining the traditional rowing transmission selector lever is the wise move, unlike S90’s migration to a toggle joystick.

HOW ROAD TENACIOUS: SPA modular architecture torsional advances are more tolerant of tauter low roll, dive resistant reflexes. Electronically variable damping calmly brushes off most potential road harshness, rough rail crossings, which made the P3 S60 pitch, included.  Compliance is more akin to riding on 16″ rims than the equipped 19″ low profile tire bound alloys. Turn in has been sharpened but a persisting nose heaviness is not a preferred trait. Front limited slip isn’t part of the equation. Consequently hard corners threaten exit oversteer. Good thing then that the numb steering rack rate isn’t excessively fast. One deviation from the Volvo dynamics norm is a brake pedal whose initial travel gets pesky.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Driving w/ turn by turn navigation guidance in Heads Up Display HUD
  • Pilot Assist 2, persists as a leader among Level 2 driving autonomy. It’s adaptive cruise is an apt pupil to lane discipline miscreants without the abruptness of some systems. Driving in poorly laned summer construction zones really cut down the lane keep assistance experience.

HOW FAR: 22 combined miles per gallon fuel economy (well under the EPA estimated 25 mpg); 480 highway miles.

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: Nearly half a foot longer than it’s predecessor and with longer overhangs than before the 2019 Volvo S60 has become a proper 2+2 for bolstered bucketed adults + 1 kid. The numbers saying rear legroom has been shaved by half an inch don’t tell the entire story. Keep NBA types out of the front to realize a remarkable upsizing to rear seat knee allowances.

Wheelbase: 113.5″ =  2.9″ > BMW 3-series; 2.5″ > Audi A4; 1.9″ > Jaguar XE;  1.3″ > Infiniti Q50

Row 2 legroom: 35.2″ = 0.1″ > BMW 3-series; 0.1″ > Infiniti Q50; 0.2″ > Jaguar XE;  0.5″ < Audi A4

HOW USEFUL: Trunk center pass-through; 60/40 power release split folding 2nd Row seat backs; Wide trunk load aperture; Cargo tie-down net; Load-floor spare-tire cover latching hook cord;  Trunk 12V outlet; Proximity power trunk lid open; Mouse-fur lined, damped action glove box; +1 Low cowl and and power folding rear outboard headrests aid outward view; +/- 13.8 cubic foot trunk; 1 No overhead console retracting sunglass bin; 1 Petite forward center console key fob storage.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: expansion of 13.8 cubic foot trunk via power 60/40% split flat fold rear seat backs.

HOW SAFE: 9 airbags; IIHS Top Safety Pick +; Surround view rear camera; sonar front & rear Park Distance Control, Blind spot, rear cross traffic & lane departure warning; Auto parking brake hold; Auto high beam headlamps; Heads-Up display

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Park Pilot Pro autonomous perpendicular and parallel parking; BLIS blind spot warning, braking, perimeter surround camera warning.

Partial Autonomous Driving: Pilot Assist 2; Full-adaptive cruise control; Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision, Pedestrian and adjacent traffic avoidance braking. +1 Permits 23 seconds of hands/ foot free driving.

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY:  Verging on an obsessive attention to finish details such as panel flow, wrap and trim bezels, esoteric shaped precision action switchgear all in the the comfortable confines of a Nordic spa.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: 10-way power, heated, cooled front leather + ballistic nylon trimmed sport seating
2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Large screen, minimal switchgear dominated cockpit spares little attention to detail and comfort

Heated, cooled, 12-way power front seats, including torso bolsters & knee extenders, 2-setting driver’s memory; 4 power windows w/ full up/ down express;  4-Zone auto climate control w/ auto front seat heating/ cooling, steering wheel heating; Power retracting rear headrests; Door puddle lamps x 4; Panoramic power moon-roof; Heads Up Display w/ road sign recognition; -1 Manual tilt/ telescoping steering wheel.

Cool Gizmo(s): 12.3″-inch Sensus LCD virtual dual gauge flanking data and navigation map driver’s instruments; Aft front center console dual-zone 2nd Row climate & seat heating LCD haptics touch controls.

Details Done Right: Aluminum inlays & switch-gear; Hammered stainless steel console twist keyless ignition & barrel drive mode wheel; Linear open-pore walnut wood veneers & center console bin shades;  Tandem contrast stitched Nappa leather + ballistic nylon bolster seating & upper door panels & dash-top; Full dashboard & door panel ambient LEDs;   B&W Nautilus dash top aluminum bullet tweeter speaker – Yellow Kevlar door speakers glare through aluminum covers.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Rear seat door and passenger 2-zone automatic climate control, outboard seat heating & 120V AC power outlet

It Wouldn’t Be Svensk Without: Swedish flag seat back tags.

Nearly Non-Descript-1 Dark mesh ballistic cloth rear deck, pillar & headliner; Bent rear parcel shelf left speaker grille.

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: 9″ Sensus vertical tablet-style, pane-swipe, touch LCD infotainment screen; Touch script text entry;  Rotary audio volume dial, selection, defroster & home screen switches; Voice recognition command hands-free communications, SMS, MMS, Email; 3-D HDD GPS navigation w/ voice guidance, real-time traffic; Sparkling sibilant, taut 19 speaker, 1400 Watt Bower & Wilkins HD radio audio; Android Auto + Apple CarPlay; USB x 4, 12V x 3, 120V AC x 1.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Cockpit running on Android Auto
2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design: Front center console hammered metal ignition switch, rotating drive mode barrel, petite sub armrest storage and connectivity.

+1: Sensus Connected Apps wireless device Apps (incl.) = Pandora, Google Destination, Weather, Park & Pay, Spotify, TuneIn, Glympse, Yelp, Voice record;

+/-: Vertical infotainment tablets will make perfect sense for generations that exclusively E-Read.

-1: Compromised wireless device sub center armrest storage.

Subscription based: Sirius XM radio (90 days trial); Volvo On Call telematics : 4 years trial concierge, remote start, Amazon in-car delivery XM Travel Link; AT&T hot spot (6 mo. / 3 GB trial).

HOW MUCH: $55,390 = 2018 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design as tested retail price.* *Also available w/ $760 per month, 24 month Care By Volvo subscription fee.

WHAT’S MISSING: Steering road feel, limited slip front differential

ANY COMPETITION: Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE300 Sport, Lexus IS300 F-Sport: +1 rear biased AWD; BMW 330ix: +1 the Bogey; Genesis G70: +1  warranty; Mercedes-Benz C300; +1  lavish interior options.

FINAL WORD: Thawed Swede now warmly zags in milder contrast to Teutonic zigs.

An automotive enthusiast since an orange toy VW Beetle ended up in his playpen and following him everywhere, George Straton has been chief editor at ChicagoNow.com/Drive-He-Said automotive lifestyle blog since 2010. In 2017 George established Roadblazing.com, dedicated to accurate automotive reviews, news and road trip stories. George is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. George also happens to be an attorney and Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers fan. Present ride: 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback.

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