Volvo has long been recognized as a brand associated with a high degree of safety but much less flair in other departments. However, things have changed of late and the Volvo name represents much more than just safe driving.
Take, for example, the 2020 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered midsize luxury sedan we recently tested. It has all the requisite Volvo safety features, yes, but combines that with good looks, great performance and even plug-in hybrid technology.
All that tech and style does come at a price though, with the all-wheel drive tester selling for $84,865.
Being Polestar Engineered means that this S60 is a performance-orientated sedan and the numbers do not lie.
The traditional engine of the S60 T8 is a 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged inline 4-cylinder, which is boosted by an 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 65 kW electric motor that delivers an additional 87 horsepower and 177 ft-lb of torque. Combined, the system produces 415 horsepower and an impressive 494 ft-lb of torque. That helps explain the 0 to 100 km/h time of 4.3 seconds – not bad at all.
When fully charged, the battery pack can deliver around 30 kilometres of electric-only driving, which is ok but not great.
And unfortunately, it did little to help fuel consumption. The average during our test was 11.8 litres per 100 kilometres versus an estimated 7.8 L/100 km based on NRCAN estimates.
While it didn’t hit the mark in that respect, it is definitely on target in terms of style, with the S60 T8 Polestar Edition receiving some exceptional design features – inside and out.
From the exterior, it’s hard to miss the golden brake calipers that stand out in bright contrast against the elegant wheel design.
The sedan has a long, sculpted hood that leads the eye to the traditional Volvo grille, which is flanked by attractively designed LED daytime running lights that are reminiscent of Thor’s Hammer.
At the back, the LED theme continues with large taillight assemblies that give the S60 as much presence when it is driving away as it does when coming at you.
Inside, those unique design cues continue, this time in the form of golden seatbelts that contrast elegantly against the black leather seating.
Like some other Volvo’s tested recently, the ignition switch is a little dial in the centre stack, behind the electronic gear selector. It takes a little getting used to that, but it’s a cool feature.
It’s an exceptionally clean cabin design, with very few buttons and the focus being the 9-inch vertical screen in the centre stack.
Said screen is the brains of the operations in the S60, controlling most – if not all – of the car’s functions. While great for decluttering the design, this also takes quite a bit of getting used to before mastering its operation – and even then, it’s not the easiest.
The seats in the S60 are very comfortable and the whole cabin is welcoming, delivering a quiet experience while out around town.
Unless, of course, you are making the most of the Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system like the one fitted to our tester. It delivers sublime audio quality as the S60 chews up the kilometres on your drive.
And of course, the S60 infotainment package also includes navigation, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
From behind the wheel, the S60 is a joy to drive thanks to the power underfoot, but also because it delivers an exceptional ride.
The suspension setup is such that even over some rather bumpy roads, it stays smooth.
It’s not a perfect sedan – as witnessed by missing the mark on fuel consumption and a limited EV range – but there’s a lot to like about this luxury sedan from a company that is looking to make its mark.
2020 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered
Price as tested: $84,865.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged inline 4-cylinder/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 415 horsepower/ 494 ft-lb of torque (combined)
Fuel (capacity): Premium (60 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 7.8 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.8 L/100 km
Competitors: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS. Mercedes-Benz C Class
- Responsive acceleration
- Comfortable interior, looks great
- Excellent driver aids
- Very tech-heavy in terms of controls
- Only 2 USB connections
- On the pricey side