THE 2020 Volvo S60 T8 R-Design is going to make you grin from ear to ear. From its handsome new design, to its tech, safety and luxurious interior, this is a smart and stylish executive sedan, with loads of street appeal.
It brings a suave approach to the mid-sized premium sedan market, targeting those who enjoy a finer driving experience, while not necessarily leaning towards its more athletic rivals.
We’re not saying it lacks in the performance stakes though, in fact the T8 R-Design is a plug-in hybrid that just happens to be most powerful vehicle in its class, producing 311kW and 670Nm.
The T8 R-Design is propelled by a creamy-smooth, 2.0-litre four cylinder engine. On its own, this petrol combustion unit is super quiet, while at the same time doing a magnificent impression of a worked six-cylinder engine, and a good one at that.
In fact, most drivers would never know that there are only four cylinders propelling this sophisticated vehicle. The engine has extras that help it pull with vigor in all driving situations too, due to an elaborate induction system.
A supercharger is fitted for low-speed performance, delivering a healthy hit of torque off the line, and as exhaust gases start building in the cylinders in volumes. Then the turbocharger kicks in to provide even more boost.
Coupled with direct injection into the mix and this engine is good for 246kW and 430Nm on its own. The plug in hybrid drive train has an electric motor providing an additional 65kW to the rear wheels.
So when you add everything up, you get those astounding performance figures we mentioned earlier, all of which is managed through the silky smooth 8-speed automatic geartronic gearbox.
Volvo Australia claim the S60 T8 R-Design will do the sprint to 100km/h in as little as 4.3 seconds, and given that it weighs in at 2006kg, these numbers are impressive. Top speed is limited to 250km/h, however higher speeds will drain the battery.
So, if you’re on a mission to get somewhere quickly, make sure there is fuel in the tank. The best fuel consumption we achieved was 4.5-litres/100km, using combination of electric and petrol.
This could be improved to 2.2-litres/100km as officially claimed, and we found we could get about 40km from a charge. Our worst consumption numbers were 8.0-litres/100km, the result of heavy acceleration, in the city and on the open road.
The Volvo S60 offer a very fuel efficient package and if you were to minimise fuel consumption by charging overnight, and when you arrive at work every day, we see no reason you couldn’t achieve the super low numbers Volvo claims.
The transition from petrol to electric power or vice versa is silky and seamless too. Together, the battery and motor provide acceleration assistance and then help recover energy when it’s time to slow things down again.
Handling and steering feel are to be commended, and although the ride is a little on the firm side, it’s not uncomfortable, and there is a real sense that you are driving something special.
The 19-inch 5-blade triple spoke matte black diamond cut alloy wheels (try saying that ten times quickly), look great and compliment the sleek appeal of the vehicle, as well as hiding the large brake calipers at the front.
The brakes are fantastic and have a really solid feel to them. They will bring you to a brisk stop anytime you need, but be warned, if you squeeze it just a little more than required, it will come to an abrupt stop.
You may get a closer look at your windscreen than anticipated – which is not necessarily a bad thing. And while we’re checking out the windscreen, we can also tell you that inside, the S60 T8 R-Design is luxurious, has loads of room, and offers a sense of spaciousness.
As you would expect, the Swedes use a minimalist finish and layout, and it suits the car perfectly. The cabin is beautifully laid out, with superbly comfortable seats and a big focus on technology.
The 9-inch infotainment system is central to that tech offering, and is very easy to navigate, with side-to-side menus and the ability to swipe down from the top giving you access to car setup and other important information.
It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while ahead of the driver is a 12.3-inch screen in place of analogue gauges. Another great feature is the head-up display for speed and navigation, allowing you to keep focused on the road ahead.
Voice-control functionality works well, and is backed up by the ability to forward commands to your smartphone’s voice-recognition system. Our test vehicle was fitted with the awesome 19-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system as well.
It has sumptuous amounts of bass and hits high frequencies with the ear-piercing accuracy of 1000 watts. Definitely one of the better sound systems we’ve come across, and it is a very impressive addition.
While the S60 range starts off from $54,990 (plus on-road costs), the S60 T8 R-Design comes in at $91,490 (again plus on-road costs). It’s available in a multitude of colours, including Black Stone, Ice White, Savile Grey and Crystal White.
You can also choose Bright Silver, Osmium Grey, Onyx Black, Bursting Blue, Maple Brown, Denim Blue, Pine Grey, Fusion Red (our test car), Birch Light and Pebble Grey. Two 18-inch wheel packages are available as options.
There are four interior choices, but the default is R-Design Nappa Leather and Charcoal Mesh inserts. Volvo is in the process of introducing a 5-year warranty (set to be backdated to 1 April 2020), to replace its existing 3-year offering.
Our test vehicle was provided by Volvo Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Volvo S60 T8 R-Design, contact your local Volvo dealer. Pictures courtesy of Mushroom Owl Photography.