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2011 Volvo S60 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Volvo S60 was new.


Performance: 8.4

Volvo set out to make the sportiest Volvo in recent memory with the redesigned S60, and while Volvo faithful may argue sportier Volvos have come out of Gothenburg, they will have to concede that the new S60 is far sportier than the car it replaces. Reviewer responses are positive, noting that the chassis is extremely capable with suspension tuning that emphasizes sport, but doesn’t ignore comfort. The major criticism is the standard six-speed automatic, which is called out for not matching the vehicles newfound sporting nature.

  • "Not only is the 2011 S60 a vast improvement over its predecessor, it’s also now a true rival for cars like the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-class, and Acura TL, even if it lacks the keen edge of the BMW 3-series (what car doesn’t?). The S60 moves with a grace and sense of purpose that has eluded Volvos for years." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "No matter which setting you use, the car responds with crisp turn-in, and the steering feedback lets you know where the car is at all times." -- AutoWeek
  • "The engine delivers its power in a smooth, aurally pleasing manner, and the six-speed automatic shifts smoothly, too." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power:

With a standard 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine and 325 pound-feet of torque this newest Volvo should have no trouble getting up to speed. All of this power gets to the ground via the S60’s standard six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system. If you want more power be sure to check out the Infiniti G37. It offers 28 more horsepower and costs nearly $4,000 less than the S60.

  • “Step on the gas pedal and the 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD moves out briskly. Overtaking other cars on the freeway is effortless, and Volvo's claimed 6.2-second 0-60-mph time should be right on target." -- Edmunds
  • "There's a charismatic whirr under hard acceleration, but otherwise the engine is refined and quiet." -- Motor Trend
  • "Full torque comes on at a low 2100 rpm and the inline-six pulls smoothly and sonorously to 5000 revs. It’s a useful power band, but it never felt like it was making the same 300 hp as classmates such as the Lexus IS350 and the BMW 335i. Blame for this lies with the transmission" -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking:

Owners of the sportier rear-drive BMW 3-series or Infiniti G37 may not come out of the new S60 ready to turn over their cars keys; however anyone seeking a competent, comfortable and sporty mid-size premium sedan will find that the S60 manages to accomplish all three. Reviewers compliment the S60’s ability to balance a comfortable driving experience with good handling manners. They also enjoy the S60’s relatively communicative steering. The S60 won’t rewrite the rulebook for how a premium mid-size sedan should handle, but it is a capable handler and should satisfy most buyers.

  • "The suspension is stiff, not brutally so, but you notice very little body roll and hardly any brake drive." -- AutoWeek
  • "We drove a Dynamic-chassis car, and its transient behavior wasn’t best-in-class -- the S60 didn’t rebound out of turns with the same finely calibrated sense of speed and control of the BMW 3-series or Audi A4. But it sure beats that of the old S60." -- Car and Driver
  • "The float of old has been replaced by greater control, but it's by no means uncomfortably stiff, even on the cobbled streets of our test route." -- Edmunds

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