Hey all…maybe I got too much time on my hands, but I got this itching feeling that something needs to be said…so I'm going to say it ;-)
This is a Public Service Announcement for you, a potential future Volvo S60 or V60 owner in the US. You might be searching here, to understand about what options and equipment are available on the S60/V60 models and what other folks like. If you are interested in the CC model, or you are looking at the Momentum or Inscription Models, you can see yourself out, nothing to see here. If you are thinking about the R-Design trim, read on, because you need to know what I am going to tell you. My point is that if you are going to buy the R-Design model, you should seriously consider the "sport chassis" option before you buy. I'll do this as a Q&A that can help you figure out if this option is for you.
What is "Sport Chassis?" - It is an option on the V60 and S60 T5 and T6 R-Design. It's a mere $200 and consists of different springs, shocks, and front anti-roll bar. As the name implies it's a more handling based setup. It also sits about 1/2" lower than the standard suspension.
Why isn't it standard on the "sporty" model? - Who knows, it is standard equipment in the rest of the world on the R-Design, and optional in many markets on the other models even. In the US the "dynamic chassis" is standard on the R-Design. It was actually standard on the early 2019 models, but Volvo made it optional in the US shortly after launch.
Why only $200? - Well it's "free" in the rest of the world on the R-Design! But option games are how the product planners drive extra profits, so it makes sense they wouldn't just give it away.
At $200 it can't be spectacular right? - As much as sporty stuff can be about expensive technology, springs and shocks and such are much about tuning. The cost to Volvo for this option likely approaches $0. It's like buying a mattress, do you want soft or firm? They cost the same, it's just a preference.
The "sporty model" has no "sport"? - Pretty much. You have the seats and the trim. It's not nothing, but the other models all share the "dynamic chassis" with the R-Design so there is nothing much in the driving experience to differentiate the models.
How much difference are we talking here? - Specifics aren't known, but I've done some research and driven both and like what I see with the sport suspension. It's a bit stiff for sure but also "takes the edge off" of crappy roads like good premium European cars seem to do. Plus if you like the subtle look of a slightly "lower" car, the 1/2" makes that difference. The internal equipment code name is actually "SPORT CHASSIE LOW"
I'm not trying to race here, do I need that? - Handling is as subjective as it is objective. How a car feels to you is important, how it makes you feel. I'm not talking about objective performance, the sport chassis option doesn't change out the all-season tires. The lack of body roll contributes to driving confidence, the wheel control of the sport shocks keeps you planted on most any road. It's just a great feeling. If you want the R-Design trim, it is highly likely that you might want the sport chassis
Yeah but seriously, Volvo is not a race car… - No street car is a race car. "Track packages" and such names are marketing terms. We are talking about a slight tuning of a Volvo here, it's not extreme in any sense. It just delivers on what the R-Design look promises.
If I wanted handling I'd buy a BMW/Alfa/etc. - Sure but you like the Volvo right, that's why you are here? And you want the sporty trim? You should get the suspension tune that was supposed to go with it! Remember we are talking about subjective stuff. Competitors are offering "track" packages with sticky summer tires that bolster their reputations. That's a different game (winning "track battles"). This is about your satisfaction with your Volvo.
Meh Volvo is still not a handling car - You sure about that? Being the smallest and lightest SPA platform car, the S/V60 has a very wide track, double arm suspension, aluminum components throughout, and sizable brakes. The sport chassis is very suited to this chassis.
I can't find a car with the option? - It does seem that Volvo dealers are not stocking many S60 models with the sport chassis. If you aren't ordering that can be a problem. Since the major appeal of the S60 it seems is the well stocked dealers and the discounts that go with that, it may make it hard to find what you are looking for with the sport chassis. Not impossible though.
But I have such a great deal lined up on this one car without it! - Well that's up to you. I suggest at least driving both w/sport and w/out and see how you feel about it. I can say that new cars are a commodity to the dealers and this particular option is of little consequence to them as far as any dealer hording one. I used a broker to line up a fantastic lease deal at the same time I figured out I needed the sport chassis. I told the dealer the 3 options I needed (including sport), and let me know when you find one close to that. They called back the next day and had a transfer inbound, same deal as the "in stock" unit.
I'll just get this one without it, I can change it later, besides mods are fun! - Yes…except for cost and parts availability. Not so great on a Volvo, and the chassis design makes that part a bit difficult.
Aftermarket will take care of it? - This car has a transverse composite leaf spring in the rear suspension. These are much more difficult to manufacture on small scale. There will likely never be an aftermarket rear spring for this car. Current spring kits on the market replace the front springs only, and swap a spacer in the rear spring mount to lower the rear of the car. Never mind the propensity of mainstream aftermarket to design for looks first…they have to design a spring to work with the dynamic chassis as well as the existing rear leaf spring and existing shocks. There will not likely ever be a matched set of sport springs and dampers made for this car.
I'll swap the sport chassis parts later? - What costs you $200 now will cost you is about $2k in OEM Volvo parts. By all accounts swapping the rear leaf spring is an involved project, perhaps only for the dealer to tackle. It would be a time consuming and expensive road to go down.
I'll get the Polestar Ohlins! - Good luck the shocks alone are $4k or more at discount OEM pricing, you would also need the springs and some other parts.
Volvo will offer a Polestar kit! - They seem to be getting out of this business. Reference above for the likely costs anyways.
I just can't find one - That may be what it is, it's 2020 now and perhaps the sport chassis will get more rare as dealers see buyers don't insist on it. As of this writing there are still a good amount of the "launch" loaded red 2019 S60 T6 R-D models left kicking around or off loaner duty, at some fantastic deals. Most of those show a no cost "sport chassis" listed on the sticker. If you're buying used, hey it is what it is, they are out there, but it is more difficult to find exactly what you are looking for, for options.
I want a 2019 V60 T6 R-D with sport chassis! - Yeah don't we all ;-)