S60 sport chassis math fun
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    1. #1
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      May 2019

      S60 sport chassis math fun

      I installed the mudguards recently, and it was an opportunity to see under the chassis for the first time. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to check some stuff out, I took some measurements to get an idea what we are dealing with here. There is just not much info on these cars so you have to take things into your own hands.

      As we hear all the time here Volvos aren't sporty blah blah blah I am actually pretty happy with how mine drives and I like me some sporty cars. The SPA platform is relatively new, has a totally new suspension with double wishbones up front. The S60 is at least the smallest and sportiest model based on the platform. I had been sort of curious if the hardware matches how it feels to me. I took all the raw measurements with tape measure and digital calipers and calculated a close approximation of the spring rates. These are all estimates, so take with a grain of salt, but hey it's better than nothing.

      2019 S60 T6 R-D with sport chassis

      Front wheel rate: 225 lbs-inch (takes spring rate and motion ratio into account)
      Front sway bar is: 25.85 mm (measured with digital calipers, no idea if that would be a 25 or 26 mm sway bar officially)
      Front sway bar wheel rate: 360 lbs/inch

      Rear wheel rate: 241 lbs-inch (this is a very rough calculation due to transverse composite leaf spring is complicated)
      Rear sway bar is: 21.65 mm (21 or 22?)
      Rear sway bar wheel rate: 153 lbs-inch

      Analysis: These numbers are eerily similar to my experience with Subaru suspension tuning philosophy. Moderately stiff springs with a good amount of anti-roll bar. Different than typical BMW tuning with very soft springs. The rest of the tuning is in the shocks which are unknown but feel to be valved pretty aggressively, probably mostly rebound damping as is popular with OEMs. The spring rate is also affected by bump stops but due to the dust covers I cannot measure those on the car. Despite the name "bump stops" most modern suspensions are actually relying on the engagement of bump stops early in the stroke to supplement main spring rate. I'd want stiffer springs, in my fantasy world, with the S60 approaching 4000#. Something like a 275-300#.

      Coincidentally...I was watching the savagegeese YouTube series on the development of the Miata (really excellent BTW). In the video on the NC generation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bslB_4JIKs0&t) Dave Coleman of Mazda talks about how they dealt with being forced to use the RX-8 as the basis for the Miata. Much of the chassis was too "heavy duty" for the little sports car, they did a lot of work to lighten the subframes, suspension arms, uprights, wheel bearings etc. What I realized watching this...was that is why the S60 is so heavy! The SPA chassis was developed for the XC90, S90 etc. From what I can see cross referencing a few parts, the suspension hard parts are generally the same. And the stuff is beefy looking under the car. The rear suspension for example has a huuuuge lower arm with provisions to support an air spring where our S60s have a transverse leaf spring. Volvo clearly doesn't have the budget to create specific parts for the -60 series, and it's hardly a labor of love. So we are stuck with a "heavy duty" car and the weight that comes with it.

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    3. #2
      Junior Member Kamil's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2019
      Thanks for taking the time and capturing the measurements.

      Keep in mind that the size and weight of the frame is contributing factor of the safety rating. You want a safe car with a great crash rating that will take on all the abuse and keep going or you want light car, you can’t have your cake and...

      The R-D cars are mainly body panels with options with some changes to suspension feel. This are not like M or S cars from BMW or Audi. With different power train, tuning, suspension, and overall design. This are only like VW R-Line or Audi SLine cars
      Last edited by Kamil; 01-13-2020 at 08:06 AM.
      2020 V60 CC
      IG _kademan_v60cc_

    4. #3
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      May 2019
      The point about the weight is that there is probably unnecessary heft in building an S60 with suspension parts designed to handle S90 and XC90 loads. There is no doubt waste in there, but we can't expect Volvo to put that kind of effort into the S60 with the sales volume and its market position. Though that could be hurting them if they want to take a bite out of A4 and 3-series sales.

      I'm not under any illusions that the R-D is an M-car, I don't think anyone is? The S60 is like a 3 series. They have sport suspensions too, well like 3 of them but it's the same idea.

      As you can see by you being the only one chatting with me here, this is about the level of interest in performance for Volvo. There are literally hundreds of threads on BMW forums about spring rates ha.

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    6. #4
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Dec 2018
      Nice thanks for the info

    7. #5
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Jun 2018
      Concord NH
      I enjoyed the technical read too. Thanks...Wondered why the V-60 R was so heavy. Clearly, the cost savings in materials would not make up for the production and certifying costs based on sales worldwide on the SPA platform. I'll take the heavy and sturdy over the handling boost for my personal choice. The cars won't cost less regardless.

    8. #6
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Feb 2017
      Thanks for taking the time to do this. Interesting read. My first car was a '91 VW Golf GTI 16v and then a 2002 VW Golf GTI 1.8T which had much more tuning opportunities. Much different with the V60 though the demographic is very different. We may see down the line if they start getting more sales from a wider demographic. Here in Calgary, Canada the majority of owners seems to be people over 50.
      (Hers) 2017 XC90 T6 R-Design | Passion Red | Convenience | Vision | Climate with Heated Windshield | Carbon Fiber | Nappa Leather | Black Headliner |
      (His) 2020 V60 T6 R-Design | Bursting Blue | Premium | Premium Plus (HUD) |

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