Swedespeed First Drive: 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design
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    1. #1

      Swedespeed First Drive: 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design



      A few months ago when we first got behind the wheel of a fairly basic, front-drive S60 T5, we realized something its a very good car. This was surprising, because cars are generally designed to make us want those attractive options and bigger engines, especially we journalists who sometimes drift from the reality of paying real money for the extras. But in driving the base car, a loaded up T6 seems totally unnecessary. Just give us xenon lights and heated seats and wed be quite content with whats likely Volvos best bargain. But then we drove the new 2012 S60 R-Design and, well, lets just say the R is finally getting as much attention as the Design.

      FULL STORY

    2. #2
      Junior Member seaton463's Avatar
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      Thanks for posting the great review. All of these reviews of the improved handling are making eager to get my hands on the new suspension components that I have ordered.
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    3. #3
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      Well done write-up.
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    4. #4
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      Great write up. Seems like Volvo's got another winner. Did they happen to have any of the 2012 XC60s out there? Or was this purely a s60 event?

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      There were silver 2011 XC60's if I recall correctly, but were parked in the valet lot.

    6. #6
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      Well done. I'm certainly enjoying mine. I'm not a track day guy so the brake issue is a non event. If I wanted to do that, I'd certainly upgrade. The lack of a manual or dual clutch is disappointing but not a deal breaker.
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    7. #7
      I don't get it...why not just make the thing an R....what's up with the "design" part?? I get it that certain performance upgrades arent there (e.g. brakes), so just upgrade the dang brakes, or whatever?! The "design" just seems half-a$$ to me...uncommitted.
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    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by 2005V70R View Post
      I don't get it...why not just make the thing an R....what's up with the "design" part?? I get it that certain performance upgrades arent there (e.g. brakes), so just upgrade the dang brakes, or whatever?! The "design" just seems half-a$$ to me...uncommitted.
      The R Design is the new brand identity........so corporate wants to stick with it. The problem is that it means different things to different models.
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    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by 2005V70R View Post
      I don't get it...why not just make the thing an R....what's up with the "design" part?? I get it that certain performance upgrades arent there (e.g. brakes), so just upgrade the dang brakes, or whatever?! The "design" just seems half-a$$ to me...uncommitted.
      I totally agree! My original 850R didn't have performance brakes either. But everyone seems to be happy to call that one a "true R" despite the fact all it has was a little bit more power, stiffer suspension and a trick body kit. I'm willing to bet money that its because they don't want a repeat of the s60r situation when the reviewers slam the car for not being up to BMW/Audi levels of performance despite claiming to be play at that level. But I get it, BMW/Audi have the deep pockets to produce a higher performance car and a large market exists for them. But it doesn't quite exist for Volvo...

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by MagoonR View Post
      The problem is that it means different things to different models.
      This is true as well...

    11. #11
      Member baxteR's Avatar
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      Very nice article for a very nice car. Passion Red looks right at home on this vehicle. Now how about Flash Green or Sonic Blue editions?
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    12. #12
      Quote Originally Posted by qwaszxxx View Post
      I totally agree! My original 850R didn't have performance brakes either. But everyone seems to be happy to call that one a "true R" despite the fact all it has was a little bit more power, stiffer suspension and a trick body kit. I'm willing to bet money that its because they don't want a repeat of the s60r situation when the reviewers slam the car for not being up to BMW/Audi levels of performance despite claiming to be play at that level. But I get it, BMW/Audi have the deep pockets to produce a higher performance car and a large market exists for them. But it doesn't quite exist for Volvo...
      That's a great point. Those early 850s were essentially the same formula as this new R-Design. I think history will be kinder to this new car than the present seems to be.

    13. #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Kirb View Post
      There were silver 2011 XC60's if I recall correctly, but were parked in the valet lot.
      Those were just support vehicles for getting people to and from airports and such. I drove one of them down to Monterey for a wedding the weekend prior to driving the S60, but the XCs were still 2011s without the power boost.

    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by stu@swedespeed View Post
      That's a great point. Those early 850s were essentially the same formula as this new R-Design. I think history will be kinder to this new car than the present seems to be.
      I definitely agree that the formula of this RD more closely resembles the formula of the original 850R. The problem is that, in between, the R formula changed to something completely different. To use an analogy for us old timers..........we're back to old Coke after experimenting with new Coke. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, the RD means different things to dofferent model lines.......further blurring the lines.

      I also thought that this statement is telling considering that most car mags compare the 335 to the S4:

      "During presentations before our first drive, Volvo’s North American team gave us the typical talking points and comparisons we expect at product launches and would readily compare the R-Design to the BMW 335i, the Infiniti G37, and just about any other top model in the segment. But despite the obvious similarities in power and price, they wouldn’t compare the car to the Audi S4, only the 211-hp A4."
      Last edited by MagoonR; 08-17-2011 at 11:05 AM.
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    15. #15
      Quote Originally Posted by MagoonR View Post
      I also thought that this statement is telling considering that most car mags compare the 335 to the S4:

      "During presentations before our first drive, Volvo’s North American team gave us the typical talking points and comparisons we expect at product launches and would readily compare the R-Design to the BMW 335i, the Infiniti G37, and just about any other top model in the segment. But despite the obvious similarities in power and price, they wouldn’t compare the car to the Audi S4, only the 211-hp A4."
      Yeah I had a long talk at the bar with the S60's product planner about that very issue and the blurry lines they'd created in those comparisons. Especially since when I did a comparison story for our Kilometer Magazine sister site, we decided we liked the 335i xDrive a little more than the S4. Looking forward to some upcoming 335i/S4/R-Design comparos where the conclusion is that the Volvo is a strong transmission and some brakes away from leading the pack.

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      Quote Originally Posted by stu@swedespeed View Post
      Looking forward to some upcoming 335i/S4/R-Design comparos where the conclusion is that the Volvo is a strong transmission and some brakes away from leading the pack.
      Hmmm......already decided the outcome before the test?
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    17. #17
      Quote Originally Posted by MagoonR View Post
      Hmmm......already decided the outcome before the test?
      well I'm sure they have already driven all vehicles so they kinda already know whats coming, that just have to add legitimacy to what they write.

    18. #18
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      Lightbulb

      Ford is excited again the automaker also announced that a new 8-speed automatic transmission is in the works, with the extra gears meant to improve fuel economy.

      Paddle shifters Anyone ?

      The T6 I drove went very well , and the Trans wasn't Bad - It's just not Super Sporty.
      It does Greatly use the Motors Torque .

      In this Modern day and Age - Light Weight Brakes - should be Hands Down a Check Box on the Options List !

      Anyone got the Weight Difference on the T6 with C4 and the R with out C4 ?
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      Quote Originally Posted by stu@swedespeed View Post
      Yeah I had a long talk at the bar with the S60's product planner about that very issue and the blurry lines they'd created in those comparisons. Especially since when I did a comparison story for our Kilometer Magazine sister site, we decided we liked the 335i xDrive a little more than the S4. Looking forward to some upcoming 335i/S4/R-Design comparos where the conclusion is that the Volvo is a strong transmission and some brakes away from leading the pack.
      The one thing that the Volvo S60RD has over the 335iX and S4 is value. About $5-6K comparably equipped.

    20. #20
      but how does it turn? does it turn better than the older R?
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    21. #21
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      Quote Originally Posted by JN2k108 View Post
      but how does it turn? does it turn better than the older R?
      In a word: YES!
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    22. #22
      Global Moderator GrecianVolvo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by JN2k108 View Post
      but how does it turn? does it turn better than the older R?
      Big difference.
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      I think it's awesome to be reading reviews like these. About time Volvo was back in the game. But are they getting back into the wrong game?

      What percentage of sales were T6's expected to be? <15% ???

      What percentage of sales are T6 RD expected to be?

      Give the suspension and engine power changes, doesn't a T6RD need to be federalized again?
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    24. #24
      Junior Member seaton463's Avatar
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      Simple answer is yes this is exactly what Volvo needs to be doing. The 2012 S60 RD creates excitement in the brand and will lead to additional brand awareness. It is no different from Apple, BMW, or Audi. The higher output products drive awareness and interest in the brand and lead to sales of the lower output models.
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    25. #25
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      Exactly! Excitement over the looks and intital reviews of the new gen 2011 S60 T6 performance got me back into Volvo's showroom. Money constraints and positive test drive experiences led me to purchase the 2012 T5. Would I have preferred the T6 or RD were it within my budget availability? Sure, but at the end of the day I purchased a Volvo S60. A win-win for Volvo! Were the reviews a dud, were the new S60 trims deemed not to be an improvement (from a speed/power/handeling experience) over the prior gen S60, I may have widened my new car search considerably. To this day I think the 1st gen S60's are great looking cars, and still look good out on the road. But they required upgraded driving dynamics for me to re-invest in this generation S60. Volvo needs to keep its toe in the high-performance water, doing so has good residual effect over time across all model trims.
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    26. #26
      Quote Originally Posted by seaton463 View Post
      Simple answer is yes this is exactly what Volvo needs to be doing. The 2012 S60 RD creates excitement in the brand and will lead to additional brand awareness. It is no different from Apple, BMW, or Audi. The higher output products drive awareness and interest in the brand and lead to sales of the lower output models.
      couldn't agree more! I never really gave Volvo a second look until I fell in love with the 95 T5-R...that led me to driving a '97 855R, then a GLT, then a 05 V70R, and I even bought my wife an XC90 because I loved the brand. So I totally agree that even if only a small percentage of sales go to the top of the line trim, it needs to be there to make the brand interesting.
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      I also agree they need at least ONE exciting model. I remember the yellow 850 R wagons and what drew us to volvo in the first place.

      What I should have said is does Volvo really need BOTH a T6 AND a T6RD ???

      Excluding things like AWD and transmission choices, Audi has the A4 and S4. BMW has the 328 and 335.

      Why does Volvo need THREE S60 models when it looks like two of them will be really low volume? I'd think they should just split the price difference between the two T6s and ONLY offer the T6RD.
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    28. #28
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      Audi and BMW all offer more than just two models in their model lines. The BMW 3 series offers two engine choices, plus rear wheel or AWD. Audi also offers two engine choices plus the S4.

      I think a base car with FWD, an upgraded engine with AWD, and the R-D performance version make a lot of sense from a marketing point of view. This selection also covers a very broad range of pricing.

      Quote Originally Posted by pattyweb View Post
      I also agree they need at least ONE exciting model. I remember the yellow 850 R wagons and what drew us to volvo in the first place.

      What I should have said is does Volvo really need BOTH a T6 AND a T6RD ???

      Excluding things like AWD and transmission choices, Audi has the A4 and S4. BMW has the 328 and 335.

      Why does Volvo need THREE S60 models when it looks like two of them will be really low volume? I'd think they should just split the price difference between the two T6s and ONLY offer the T6RD.
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    29. #29
      Junior Member seaton463's Avatar
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      BMW is also doing an ECM reflash offering for the 335is model for at least this year.
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    30. #30
      Global Moderator GrecianVolvo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by pattyweb View Post
      What I should have said is does Volvo really need BOTH a T6 AND a T6RD ???
      Because, some people want more power, AWD but not the pizzaz of the RD nor the stiffer suspension.

      Excluding things like AWD and transmission choices, Audi has the A4 and S4. BMW has the 328 and 335.
      It's not as black and white as you indicate above. A4 has FWD, Quattro, S-line and S4. BMW has 328i, 328xi, 335i, 335xi, M3 (and I am sure there is some sort of "sport" model between the 335i/xi and the M3.

      Why does Volvo need THREE S60 models when it looks like two of them will be really low volume? I'd think they should just split the price difference between the two T6s and ONLY offer the T6RD.
      I am sure you would love that!

      The T6 serves a purpose, as I mentioned above.
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    31. #31
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      As mentioned the T6RD serves a purpose. It's not for everyone. However it tells me that Volvo is not just about safety and a boring family sedan. This is about attitude and how they are striving to be both competitive and a serious player in the mid size luxury car market. It's a statement.
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    32. #32
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      Yannis is dead on accurate... The pricing differences are insignificant to each respective demographic buyer, but the configuration differences are deal breakers.
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    33. #33
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      Quote Originally Posted by GrecianVolvo View Post
      Because, some people want more power, AWD but not the pizzaz of the RD nor the stiffer suspension.
      It's not as black and white as you indicate above. A4 has FWD, Quattro, S-line and S4. BMW has 328i, 328xi, 335i, 335xi, M3 (and I am sure there is some sort of "sport" model between the 335i/xi and the M3.
      I think it is a lot more black and white. Volvo doesn't even want to acknowledge the S4 compared against a T6RD. So in Audi's case, there's ONLY a 4cyl A4 FWD and AWD. That's it. The M3 doesn't belong on that list. Otherwise, BMW is offering two gas engines, in both RWD and AWD. And yes, one or both brands does offer "sporting" options packages. S-Line is a $1000 cosmetic package. Acura? The FWD TL and the AWD TL-S. Infiniti? Lexus? And these are companies with a lot more resources available to them. Which brands are offering models that cater to MUCH MORE buyers? Mercedes is the only one that's really offering 3 gas engines (3 hp ranges?) choices for their C-class.

      Why don't we have an S60 T5 AWD? I've argued for this in the past and you've argued back that it's not necessary, that Volvo's history is just fine selling fwd S60s. Should volvo for some reason screw up and start offering an S60 T5 AWD, will you then question why after defending the lack of one for so many years? Look at the V60 thread in the other forum with the chart. what happened when Volvo starting offering the V70 and the V70 XC? The fwd sales tanked and the awd sales took over.

      Volvo is a company of limited resources and I'd like to see sales improve even more than they are. I don't like seeing Volvo TMV prices always so low and closer to invoice, if not basically at invoice.

      IMO, for 2013, Volvo really should offer S60 T5 FWD, S60 T5 AWD, S60R. I think they'd sell a lot more cars with this lineup.

      And again, for the record, I really like the T6 and the T6 R-Design, I'm not saying Volvo shouldn't offer them. I think they without a doubt need at least one of them and it needs to stay and ALWAYS be there. I'm just confused at seeing Volvo cancelling other models that I think sell more than the combined (T6 and T6RD). Last month, Volvo sold 328 S40s, are they really selling more T6 and T6RDs than that a month ???? I remember some estimates of t6s being less than 15% of sales.

      And I really think volvo needs to better handle old-R vs new R-Design marketting much better.

      Now if Volvo sales had never tanked, if sales were still way way up, and if dealers were stocking TONS more inventory like they use to a long time ago, I'd never had posted or questioned the purpose of having two T6s.


      Quote Originally Posted by GrecianVolvo View Post
      I am sure you would love that!
      Actually, that doesn't matter to me at all. I wouldn't be getting either model. But I think dealers would stand a much better chance of snagging that much more rare buyer if they only had one type of T6 on their lot. You want a gray T6? Sorry, we only have that white T6RD. Two months later, finally another buyer walks in, oh you want a red T6RD? Sorry, we only have that base gray T6 over there.

      And right now, I think improving sales A LOT should be priority #1.



      For all practical purposes,in my mind, the R IS BACK. I agree with those above that question why still the "design". These cars are much more superior to the older Rs in so many ways, maybe not every single way, but overall, they are just much better. IMO, Volvo and Volvo marketting are fools, flip flop a lot, and can't decide on what message they want to send. I hope that several years from now, if Volvo is truly committed, that they are still offering "exciting" models. To me, keeping the "design" and still offering the base T6, kind of lessens the true full impact of the RD. But a T5 and an R ??? That sounds MUCH more exciting. I'd rather say I have an R, than an R-Design.

      BTW, there are many other things I'd like to see done to the base s60 that would make me a lot happier.



      Quote Originally Posted by GrecianVolvo View Post
      The T6 serves a purpose, as I mentioned above.
      On that note, the S40, C30, V60, V70, they all serve a purpose too...
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    34. #34
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      Quote Originally Posted by pattyweb View Post
      For all practical purposes,in my mind, the R IS BACK. I agree with those above that question why still the "design".
      Because there are other "Design" models across the line up.......and they want the XC90 3.2RD owner to feel associated with the others (even though the buyer bought a trim package).
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    35. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by pattyweb View Post
      I think it is a lot more black and white. Volvo doesn't even want to acknowledge the S4 compared against a T6RD. So in Audi's case, there's ONLY a 4cyl A4 FWD and AWD. That's it. T
      Not really. Audi offers the A4 Quattro in both the turbocharged 4 and the non-turbo six...two engine choices.
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