The all-new Volvo S60 and V60 R-Design goes beyond styling aesthetics and creates a driving experience to take the most dynamic Volvo ever built to an even higher level of enjoyment. Not only are there interior and exterior enhancements, but both models benefit from a sports-derived chassis with modified suspension.
With R-Design models accounting for up to 60 per cent of some model lines, the UK is expected to be one of the largest markets for the S60 and V60 R-Design models. They are set to appeal to those British buyers who appreciate the sporting driving characteristics and enhanced styling offered, with projected figures equating to approximately 25 per cent of all S60 and V60 sales.
The front of the R-Design cars benefit from a specially re-designed front bumper, housing a modified front grille finished in gloss piano black. The rear of the cars also have a modified bumper to incorporate a new rear diffuser finished in Ironstone. The sporty stance is enhanced with the bumpers being body colour-matched and the lower grille detailed in a special matt finish that is repeated both at the front and rear of the vehicle.
The rear diffuser also houses dual 90mm exhaust tailpipes to complete the overall sports look, fitted as standard to all engine variants. The rear of the S60 is also fitted with a colour co-ordinated boot mounted spoiler to complement the overall sports look.
To enhance the sports styling and stance of the vehicle, unique Ixion five spoke 18-inch graphite/diamond cut wheels have been developed and are fitted to all engine variants.
Other exterior styling cues also include the R-Design logo, both on the front grille and boot lid. The frames of the windows and mirror caps also have a silk metal finish.
It is not only the exterior that benefits from the R-Design treatment. The special vehicles team at Volvo have worked on individualising the interiors. On the inside, the driver and front passenger sit in sports seats in which the backrest from the S60 and V60 is matched by an all-new seat cushion with more lateral side support than before.
"The seat cushion shapes itself to the occupant's body but is nonetheless firm, thanks to a combination of two layers of foam, each with a different degree of hardness. As a result, drivers of different sizes all enjoy the same excellent side support," explains Paul Welander, acting Senior Vice President Product Development at Volvo Cars. The special leather/textile upholstery is available in a version trimmed in off-black and ceramic light, or in an all-black variant, both with contrasting stitching and embossed with the R-Design logo.
The interior also features blue instrument dials, sports pedals finished in aluminium, sports gear knob and sports three-spoke steering wheel with R-Design emblem.
Along with the interior and exterior enhancements, the chassis and suspension have also been modified to increase the driving pleasure and dynamic driving characteristics whilst a lowering of the chassis helps with the sports profile of the vehicles.
"Refining a chassis is a bit like being an athlete looking to break new records. Once you've beaten one record, you're immediately focused on the next. In the R-Design chassis we've sharpened the steering, the agility and the solid overall impression still further compared with the dynamic chassis in the all-new S60 and V60," says Stefan Karlsson, manager of vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars. "The challenge was to boost the dynamics without making the chassis feel raw. If the chassis is too firm, even smooth tarmac can feel bumpy. We wanted a dynamic yet compliant feel."
The front and rear springs have been shortened by 15 mm and spring stiffness is 15 per cent higher compared to the standard-fit dynamic chassis in the S60 and V60.
"This makes the car easier to control and reduces any tendency to pitch. This is an area that requires true fingertip sensitivity in order to find the right blend of dynamics and comfort. If you go too far, the car feels bumpy even on smooth surfaces. We've invested a lot of time and effort in finding the ideal balance," confirmed Karlsson.
The suspension bushings with which the rear dampers are attached to the body are 20 per cent stiffer compared with the dynamic chassis in the S60 and V60. The front tie bar bushing, attaching the rear sub-frame to the car, is a massive 400 per cent stiffer than before to counteract wheel bouncing and shaking.
"The stiffer the bushing, the less oscillation and roll. Movements are more controlled. This is clearly noticeable inside the car," says Karlsson.
The chassis team has also fitted a strut brace under the bonnet to stiffen up the body structure and at the rear, the S60 and V60 R-Design feature monotube dampers. Unlike the twin-tube dampers previously used, the monotube system features compression and return damping via the same valve. This gives shorter, faster fluid flow, which in turn means the damper responds more quickly.
"This higher operating speed takes care of the initial roll tendency which can be felt just as you turn the steering-wheel. It's an effective way to improve the response and the connected feel," concluded Karlsson.
Just like in the 'standard' car, the chassis in the S60 and V60 R-Design is backed up by a range of electronic systems that sharpen the driving experience still further.
Corner Traction Control is a new feature that uses torque vectoring to deliver a smoother cornering experience. The technology is a further refinement of the DSTC traction control system. When cornering, the car's inner wheel is braked so more power is transferred to the outer wheel. This gives the driver a tighter line in the curve, with reduced understeering tendency.
The DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) system has several functions that improve driving and safety properties, such as:
To add to the already high specification, in R-Design trim, owners can also specify an R-Design Convenience Pack, priced at £1,025 including VAT, representing a saving of £335 on the single options. The pack includes auto-dimming rear view mirror, auto-folding power door mirrors with ground lights, rain sensor, rear park assist, High Performance Sound audio system and Bluetooth handfree system.
THE VOLVO S60/V60 HISTORY
The all-new S60 and V60 were launched in 2010 and have already become a firm favourite with drivers, culminating in the vehicles being one of the seven finalists for the Car of the Year 2011. The stylish four door saloon and the coupé-styled sportswagon feature Volvo's most dynamic chassis and advanced safety features.
With driving characteristics never seen before in a Volvo, the driver orientated dynamics allows the vehicle to be enjoyable to drive, command road presence and be totally predictable, no matter what road conditions it encounters. Both vehicles feature the pioneering Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake which uses a mixture of radar, laser and camera technology to recognise a human being above 80cm tall and will brake the vehicle automatically if it calculates an impending impact.
The all-new Volvo S60 was the most dynamic and safest Volvo ever when launched mid-2010. When the V60 joined the line-up, the future direction of design and driving dynamics could be clearly seen. The S60 benefits from a stylish coupé-like design and the V60 from dramatic styling with added versatility. Both are available with a large range of engines, from the upcoming 1.6D DRIVe, through the newly launched petrol variants and the well known diesels, up to the 304PS T6 AWD.
NB: Pricing, performance and economy data for each model can be found in the included price lists.
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