Volvo Car UK has announced the launch of the all-new S60 and V60 R-Design models – created to deliver a dynamic driving experience in a coupé-style saloon or versatile Sportswagon. Featuring a specially developed chassis, the new R-Design models ensure that the driving experience matches the car’s sporting appearance.
With R-Design models accounting for up to 60 per cent of some model lines, and 25 per cent overall, the UK is expected to be one of the largest markets for Volvo’s new S60 and V60 R-Design models and they are set to appeal to those British buyers who appreciate the sporting driving characteristics and enhanced styling offered.
R-Design is available across the S60 and V60 range – not just the higher-spec variants. Customers can opt for an economical, efficient 2.0-litre D3 all the way through to the high-performance D5, with all cars benefiting from the sportier looks of the R-Design variant. Customers can choose from a total of two diesel units, with all engines designed to meet high expectations of driving pleasure combined with competitive fuel consumption.
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 even closer side support than before.
The all-new Volvo S60 and V60 R-Design come with a range of specially-developed design details both outside and in. On the outside, the cars have an imposing redesigned front valance while a distinctive diffuser houses twin exhaust tailpipes. To finish, unique five-spoke 18-inch Diamond cut wheels emphasise the sporty overall appeal. The special leather/textile upholstery is available trimmed in off-black and ceramic light, or in an all-black variant, both with contrasting stitching. The interior also features an R-Design steering wheel, gear selector, sports pedals and floor-mats.
The chassis team has 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,” says Stefan Sällqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars.
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 lurch. 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 Sällqvist.
The 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-blade 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,” concluded Sällqvist.
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 make for smoother cornering. 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:
- Advanced Stability Control. With a new gyroscopic roll-angle sensor it is possible to identify any skidding tendency at a very early stage. This means that the anti-spin system can deploy faster and with greater precision. Advanced Stability Control provides a huge improvement in driving properties and in emergency avoidance manoeuvres during dynamic driving involving considerable lateral forces.
- Engine Drag Control. Prevents the wheels from losing their grip during engine braking on a slippery surface.
- The DSTC system also has a sports setting that makes it possible for the driver to drive more actively. By disabling the anti-spin function, the car allows more pronounced oversteer.