Volvo is now equipping its mid-range 2015 S60 sedans, V60 wagons and XC60 CUVs with a choice of two all-new 2.0L "Drive-E" 4-cylinder engines powering front-wheel-drive T5 and T6 models for 2015, while the old 5- and 6-cylinder mills stick around to motivate AWD and higher-performance R-Design models. Really? Why?
First, because the standard T5's new "Drive-E" turbocharged four is nearly as strong as the non-turbo five at 240 hp, and MUCH more fuel efficient at 25 EPA mpg city, 37 highway and 29 combined compared to 20/29/23 for the 5-cylinder AWD T5. Second, because the new top-of-the-line four in 2015 Volvo S60 T6 models is both supercharged AND turbocharged for 302 hp, a couple of ponies stronger than the old turbo six, and delivers 24/35/28 mpg. By contrast, the turbocharged six in T6 AWD and R-Design models is EPA rated at a fairly dismal 19/28/22.
The T6 2.0L's mechanically-driven supercharger delivers instantaneous low-end torque that peaks at a healthy 295 lb.-ft., while its exhaust-driven turbocharger kicks in at higher engine revs. The single-turbo T5 offers 258 lb.-ft. of torque with just a bit of turbo lag.All Drive-E engines have stop/start -- which shuts down the engine to save fuel when the car stops, then restarts it when the brake is released -- and other efficiency-enhancing features.
The Volvo S60 was refreshed for 2014 with an all-new instrument cluster incorporating (on all but base models) an adaptive Thin Film Transistor (TFT) digital display offering a choice of three different themes: traditional Elegance with a large, circular speedometer bordered by secondary displays; green-background Eco with an Eco meter on the left; or red-background Performance with a tachometer replacing the speedometer and vehicle speed shown digitally.
New-design sport seats with added side support are standard on T6 models and available on T5s with an optional Sport Package. A new Volvo Sensus system displays and manages audio, navigation (if equipped) and other information on a seven-inch high-definition color screen in the upper center console. Available Sensus Connected Touch connects the car to the Internet to enable use of embedded applications through a touchscreen that can be used wearing gloves. It offers access to full Internet browsing (except when driving), music streaming and radio, Google maps, navigation and an app store for new function upgrades.
At speeds up to 19 mph, if a vehicle in front suddenly brakes and the system determines that a collision is likely, standard Volvo City Safety low-speed collision-avoidance technology pre-charges the brakes and, if the driver fails to respond, automatically applies them to avoid a crash. Available Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake automatically brakes for people or cyclists in your path to help avoid a hit up to 22 mph, or lessen the severity of impact at higher speeds. Also available are an enhanced, radar-based Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which alerts you to vehicles in your blind spots.
Cross Traffic Alert uses radar sensors to warn of traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of a parking space, and Road Sign Information even shows signs in the instrument display. And two new technologies arrive with 2015 Volvo Drive-E engines as part of an available Technology Package: Lane Keeping Aid, which gentle steering to nudge your car back into its lane, and Park Assist Pilot, a semi-automatic parallel parking option.
In a week-long test, a quick, agile T6 sedan delivered 26.6 mpg in a mix of freeway and suburban driving. Its double-charged four delivered strong, instantaneous acceleration from any speed through its smooth eight-speed automatic, and its handling, steering and braking were as good as just about anything in its segment, including more expensive Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes. Three drive modes are offered: Drive, Sport and Eco+, which disengages air conditioning and engine braking (lets the car coast free) to save fuel.
Any folks thinking mid-size luxosport sedan (or wagon) should put these handsome, delightful-to-drive Volvo S60s (and V60s) on their short list and give them a serious look.