2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test


IL Track Tested: 2012 Volvo S60 T5 vs. 2010 BMW 328i

August 13, 2011

s60-328_blog.jpg

The 2012 Volvo S60 is supposed to be the Scandinavian answer to the generic German sport sedan. It's got the looks, for sure, but does it have the sauce?

Powered by a 2.5-liter I5, the S60 makes a solid 250 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. That would be 20 more than the last BMW 328i we tested (a 2010 MY) -- the car it's most desperately chasing. Unfortunately, it's also got some 200 pounds on the Bimmer and is saddled with an automatic transmission instead of the BMW's slick six-speed manual.

So as soon as we track tested our new Volvo, we had to see how the numbers stacked up against the base BMW. Follow the jump for the full specs of each to see if, on the track, our Volvo S60 T5 is a true competitor in the sport-sedan market.

2012 Volvo S60 T5 BMW 328i Sedan
0-30 (sec): 2.7 2.3
0-45 (sec): 4.7 4.2
0-60 (sec): 7.2 6.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.9 6.0
0-75 (sec): 10.5 9.5
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 92.5 14.7 @ 94.8

30-0 (ft): 32 30
60-0 (ft): 128 126
Skid pad lateral accel (g): 0.85 0.84
Slalom 63.6 65.0

Vehicle: 2012 Volvo S60 T5
Odometer: 1,540
Date: 6-28-2011
Driver: Chris Walton

Base Price: $31,150
Price as tested: $41,350


Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Longitudinal, turbocharged inline-5
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 250 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 266 @ 1,800-4,800
Brake Type (front): 11.8-inch vented discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.9-inch discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil spring, hydraulic shock absorber, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 235/40R18 (95V)
Tire Size (rear): 235/40R18 (95V)
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,584


Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.7 (3.0 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.7 (5.0 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.2 (7.5 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.9 (7.1 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.5 (10.8 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 92.5 (15.5 @ 92.1)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 128

Handling
Slalom (mph): 63.6 -- ESC Dynamic ( 62.5 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.85 --Dymanic ( 0.78 w/TC on )

Db @ Idle: 44.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.5


Acceleration: No matter whether Trac is on or off, because wheelspin is oddly elusive, There was a slight advantage to pedal overlap, but it won't allow it for more than a fraction of a second. Zero torque steer, smooth, droning acceleration with somewhat lazy upshifts -- even in Sport. Also, does auto upshift in Manual gate and does not rev-match manual downshifts.

Braking: Pretty dramatic dive, but no rear-end wander. Quick-cycling ABS provides shudder-free and quiet stops. Minimal fade after first (best) stop. Medium-firm pedal from first to fourth stop.

Handling:

Skid pad: With ESC in Sport, it remains on but with a threshold that won't intrude on the skid pad -- hence steady, easily managed understeer at a fairly high limit. With ESC on, it drops the throttle well below the limit of the tires' grip. Steering weight is adjustable. I used medium and thought it was the most friction-free, somewhat informative setting.

Slalom: First impression = wahoo, lots of body roll! Once I realized this I found it frustrating to want to lift for rotation, only to be checked with ESC -- even in Sport (dynamic) mode. Either way, smoothness is key.

Vehicle: 2010 BMW 328i
Odometer: 996
Date: 5/25/2010
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $35,575

Specifications:

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Inline-6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,996/183
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 230 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 200 @ 2,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc
Steering System: Speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink
Tire Size (front): 225/45R17
Tire Size (rear): 225/45R17
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact SSR RSC
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 17-by-7 inches front and rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,314

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.3
0 - 45 (sec): 4.2
0 - 60 (sec): 6.4
0 - 75 (sec): 9.5
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.7 @ 94.8
0 - 60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.0
30 - 0 (ft): 30
60 - 0 (ft): 126
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 65.0
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.84
Handling Rating: Good
Db @ Idle: 43.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 70.2
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.5

Acceleration Comments: About a half second was gained with a wheel-spinning launch. The shifter is happy to be slammed and there is some sort of spark/retard or electronic shift smoothing that utterly eliminates shift shock at redline (or even below). Seems to make most of its power up high in the rev range.

Braking Comments: Consistently average distances with virtually zero fade or loss of pedal feel. Very little dive under hard braking.

Handling Comments: Slalom: With ESP off, this is a perfect teaching instrument for rear-wheel-drive dynamics -- every driver input has an immediate, predictable and appropriate outcome. Not the fastest sedan ever through the cones, but one of the best in terms of feel and setup. Skid pad: Moderate understeer and good response to the throttle means the steering wheel doesn't move one bit all the way around the circle. While the ultimate figure is not world-class, everything about the way the steering felt during the test was exceptional.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Volvo S60 in VA is:

$125 per month*
* Explanation
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