2015 Volvo S60: Interior Elegance Makes Up For Performance Gap
April 29, 2015
Our 2015 Volvo S60 really wants to you to think of it as the Scandanavian alternative to the 3 Series or A4. It's trying very hard. In testing, we've found it has pretty neutral handling and balanced grip for a sporty front-wheel-drive sedan. It even sends enough power to the front tires to induce a little playful wheelspin if you jump on the gas from a standstill.
But power delivery isn't all that linear or smooth, and that's maybe no surprise given the four-cylinder engine's complicated twin-charged (turbocharged and supercharged) design (but still leaps better than old Volvo turbos, we say). That playful wheelspin all too easily turns into torque-steer, with the front end pulling hard to one side and forcing a firm steering correction. Nor are the brakes quite up to benchmark standards for sport sedans.
Ultimately the S60 has its work cut out to convince us that it's able to hang with the established rivals, at least in its performance.
One area that won't require much persuasion is the cabin. The verdict on the seats is trickling in (Cam says yes, Magrath says no), but the overall fit and finish of the interior is impressive. My particular favorite element: the Shimmer Graphite Aluminum center stack inlay.
I'm not convinced this inlay is actually aluminum, as the feel and texture seems pretty petro-chemical to me. But it looks the part, with hairline vertical striations that catch and amplify the ambient light. For some reason, it reminds me of a kind of metallic stranded bamboo. This inlay comes standard with the S60. You can also order Piano Black or "Urbane Wood" for an additional $400, but I prefer the Shimmer Graphite to both.
This natural warmth and ergonomic flow, with the classic center stack canted toward the driver, is one thing the Scandanavians have all over the smart, minimalist art school movements reflected in the German cars.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor