2015 Volvo S60: Performance Tested
March 26, 2015
The most significant feature on our 2015 Volvo S60 is its new powertrain. Its eight-speed transmission is new as is its 2.0-liter inline-4. The new engine is both supercharged and turbocharged which, on paper, promises a wide torque band to maximize the S60's 302-horsepower. Our track day put the forced-induction duo to the test.
The owners' manual didn't specify an engine break-in period so we followed our internal guidelines, driving carefully for the first 1,000 miles. Once we broke through our self-imposed barrier, it was time to go to the test track.
Vehicle: 2015 Volvo S60
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Super- and turbocharged inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1969 / 120
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 302 @ 5,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 295 @ 2,100
Brake Type (front): One piece ventilated disc with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): One piece solid disc with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut, antiroll bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, antiroll bar
Tire Size (front): 235/40R18 95H M+S
Tire Size (rear): 235/40R18 95H M+S
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All-Season
As-Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,664
0-30 (sec): 2.6 (w/ TC on 2.6)
0-45 (sec): 4.0 (w/ TC on 4.0)
0-60 (sec): 6.0 (w/TC on 5.9)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.7 (w/TC on 5.6)
0-75 (sec): 8.6 (w/TC on 8.4)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.3 @ 99.1 (w/TC on 14.2 @ 99.5)
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 120
Slalom (mph): 64.4 w/ESC on
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.84 (0.80 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 1800
Acceleration comments: The S60's traction control system is quite good, allowing just enough wheelspin but maintaining traction with an aggressive start. And because there's plenty of power going through only the front tires, that's a good thing. I couldn't match the run with traction control enabled with my own run with the system disabled. The wheelspin is rather robust and a little unpredictable. The transmission makes exceptionally smooth upshifts in Drive and slightly less smooth in Sport Drive, but we saw no improvement in acceleration times in this test. Power delivery isn't exactly what we'd call linear with a noticeable surge as the revs reach redline. Still, it's nothing like a turbo from previous Volvos where there was a huge lag until the turbo came into play. The supercharger does what it has been engineered to do and that is to fill in the dead spot below the turbo's effectiveness. Finally, the terminal speed at the end of the quarter-mile remained strong demonstrating ample engine/turbo cooling despite the excessive demand of seven passes.
Braking comments: The brakes, however, were less up to task and heated up and produced a very noticeable odor. Initially, the brake pedal was firm and confident, but after just one simulated panic stop from 60 mph, the feel and effectiveness began to wane. From the first (and shortest) stop to the last (and longest) of four stops, the distance required grew by 11 feet and the pedal grew soft and less effective. Despite this, the car tracked straight and exhibited little nose dive. Not a great showing, but not completely awful either.
Handling comments: There is no dynamic electronic stability control (ESC) mode, so we performed the slalom test with it fully engaged. What we found was a pleasantly sporty sedan with responsive steering that, in the intermediate setting, provides just enough weight to maintain a steady line and just enough feel to detect what the front tires were experiencing. The chassis is extremely neutral, meaning neither the front nor the rear of the car lose grip first. This conveys confidence, poise and control to the driver. Eventually, the ESC would respond to the front tires' minimal slip and correct the course with minor brake applications. Very nice to see a non-R Volvo with this amount of athleticism. In the skid pad, we ran it both with ESC off and on and observed a pretty large difference. With it disabled, the car is agile and even a bit playful, allowing the driver to manipulate the heading with the throttle which is exceptionally responsive. However, with ESC fully engaged, the throttle grew less responsive as the tires began to howl, limiting the ultimate speed and thus lateral g-load. Again, nice to see a Volvo with some swagger here. Good showing.
Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 1,384 miles