Volvo S60

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Born in 2000, the Volvo S60 front-drive “near-luxury” sedan marked a stylistic change for the automaker, acquiring the signature “shoulders” sheetmetal of its big brother the S80 as it moved Volvo towards a sportier shape. It replaced the popular Volvo S70 and quickly became one of Volvo’s top selling models. It fit between the S80 (above it) and the S40 (below it) in Volvo’s car line.

Like many Volvo models, it gained AWD, performance-oriented submodels and other goodies during its life.

Volvo S60 is an executive and compact vehicle marketed and manufactured by Volvo in 2000, now in its third generation. The first generation was launched Autumn 2000. It was designed based on the P2 platform and as a replacement for the S70. The V70 has a similar design to the S60 and the S60 R which is the sports version.  Styling ideas came from the S80 and ECC concept car. 

Standard equipment included antilock four-wheel disc brakes, front side airbags, side-window curtain airbags, and anti-whiplash front-seat backrests (Volvo’s WHIPS) and head restraints.

Volvo S60... Gen 1 P2 2001-2009 and Gen 2 2011-2018
Volvo S60… Gen 1 P2 2001-2009 and Gen 2 2011-2018

The second generation was released in 2010 as the 2011 model year. The second generation production ran from 2010 to 2018. There was an estate version for those who prefered a station wagon. The third generation was released in 2018 for the 2019 model year. It uses the shortened version of the SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform.

First Generation S60

The S60 was built on Volvo’s P2 platform, which was shared with other Volvo models like  the Gen. 2 V70, S80, XC70, and XC90.

A shift from the boxy style that most identified with the Volvo brand throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the S60 was touted as a revolutionary design — taking heavy cues from the executive S80 — while not sacrificing the safety that is Volvo’s legacy. The 2001 (North America, other markets 2000) S60  replaced the S70 design that was born in 1993 as the very popular 850 series. The initial year S60 was front-drive only, but by 2002 AWD was available.

The Volvo S60 was released in 2000 (2001 model year) being the company’s new generation sports sedan. The S60 is aimed to mainly compete with the BMW 3 Series (E46) and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W203). Unlike its rivals, the Volvo S60 continued production for 9 years with multiple facelifts.

Volvo S60
Volvo S60

Every first-generation S60 is powered by Volvo’s durable, ubiquitous inline five-cylinder engine. The base sedan had a 2.4-liter engine rated at 168 horsepower. A turbocharged 197-hp version of that engine went into the 2.4T. The T5 got a turbocharged 2.3-liter cranking out 247 horsepower. An S60 with AWD called the 2.4T AWD joined the ranks in 2002.

2005 Refresh

The S60 was refreshed in 2005: the exterior was updated with body-colored side moldings and bumpers with chrome linings, as well as new headlamps replacing the original with black housing. The interior received some updates as well, with new seats, trim, and an updated center console.

2008 Refresh

The S60 went through a final facelift in 2008 with full body-colored bumper and door inserts and larger emblem in the front and larger spaced out “V-O-L-V-O” letters in the rear. The interior featured a new pattern upholstery which differs from its original pattern. The S60 came standard with Volvo’s own radio unit, the HU-650 and an optional extra HU-850 unit. The HU-850 unit features a 225 or 335-watt power output (depending on optional external amplifier) with three presets: 2CH, 3CH and Dolby Digital Pro Logic II Surround Sound. The Four-C chassis from the S60 R became an option on some S60s. In 2004 the T5 engine was re-engineered from 2.3 to 2.4 litres and received an increase of 10 bhp (7 kW; 10 PS), and a modified turbo in the D5 model also increased the D5 bhp from 163 PS to 185 PS.

S60 R 

The S60R was first introduced in 2004 and it used Haldex AWD (all-wheel drive). This was mated to a 400 Nm/ 221 kW, 296 hp (300 PS) inline-5 engine. The 2004 to 2005 models had a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The former had a limit of 350 Nm torque in the first and second gears. 

2006 to 2007 models had a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, with the automatic transmission no longer being torque-restricted. Other features that set the R model apart included:

  • Four-C suspension system
  • HID headlights
  • Blue faced “R” gauges
  • 18-inch 5 spoke wheels
  • Large Brembo front and rear four-piston brakes

2003 S60 Changes

The all-wheel-drive S60 designated S60 2.5T AWD, with the common 208-hp version of Volvo’s 2.5 liter (2521 cc), aluminum inline 5.

2004 S60 Changes

The blistering S60 R debuted this model year, getting fired out of the Volvo cannon with Volvo’s brand new Four-C adaptive suspension, Xenon headlights (as an option), and all-wheel-drive. The best part about the R is that you could choose a manual 6-speed transmission if you wanted to row your own gears, as many opting for this model did. The S60 R was sold in model years ’04 through ’07.

The conventional S60 2.4T was renamed 2.5T in 2004 because yes, it got the 2.5 liter 5-cylinder.

2005 S60 Changes

The S60 T5 went to 257hp (interestingly, where the all-new, redesigned 2012 S60 T5 is with its horsepower number). Plus some other goodies.

2006 S60 Changes

Base 2.4 gone from the lineup. Upgraded: 2.5T AWD model with a brand new AWD (Haldex system, Gen. 3).

2007 S60 Changes

Nose styling refresh.

Gen. 1 S60 Specs

  • Wheelbase: 2715 mm (107 in)
  • Overall Length: 4576 mm (180 in)
  • Width: 1813 mm (71 in)
  • Height: 1428 mm (56 in)
  • Weight: 1492 to 1542 kg (3289 to 3400 lb)

Second Generation S60

The 2nd gen. S60 debuted in Spring 2010 as a model year 2011 car, and was marketed as “naughty”, a term that had some from the press and Volvo enthusiasts scratching their heads. See second generation S60 photos.

But the marketing was a clue the company and the hardware was moving in a new direction, one that would take it from a very safe shopping mall conveyance to BMW 3-series eater. Another clue was that it came with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, modern looks, AWD, and — almost on cue — the debut industrywide of an advanced safety feature: pedestrian detection.

A Major Power Update in only its Second Year

The new top-end 2012 S60 — designated “R-Design” –was even more powerful (325 hp and 354 lb-ft, AWD) than the 2011 top-end S60 (300hp, 325lb-ft, AWD). It was a brutal-yet-refined BMW 335 predator.

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Police Specification S60

Volvo S60 police spec models were thanks to the manufacturer’s extensive work with police fleet management departments and users of the vehicles. This means the police specification cars will have a difference from the original model.  For starters, the suspension was up-rated to handle the demands of police work. 

See Volvo’s police spec page(!)

Gen 1 S60 Police spec
Gen 1 S60 Police spec
Gen 2 S60 Police spec
Gen 2 S60 Police spec

Nivomat self-leveling suspension was installed in the rear of the car. This was meant to correct the car’s geometry irrespective of the weight the car carried.  On early models, a stronger D5 unit was used to replace the clutch.  A 110A alternator, a larger specification battery, and a dedicated police fuse box were also fitted. These were meant to run the extra equipment police use.  Electrical noise suppression was also added to prevent any interference with the sensitive electronics used by police. 

S60 Introduction in 2000

Volvo S60 Web page in 2000
Original 2000 Volvo Web page — Volvo S60

This is where it all comes together: Optimum safety, high performance, sensual design, and Volvo quality, all infused in one attitude-laden sport sedan. Starting at $26,550.

For Design
The height of sports-minded design, the S60 is a brazen statement on wheels.
Power driver’s seat with three-position memory
Split 60/40 folding rear seats
6-speaker stereo

For Safety
All of Volvo’s best thinking in safety, conveniently assembled in one place.
Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS)
Inflatable Side Curtains (IC)
Side Impact Protection System (SIPS)

For Performance

The S60 offers turbo-propelled power with smooth, graceful handling.
168 hp, 197 hp or 247 hp turbo
5-speed Geartronic transmission
Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC)

For the Environment

As the first Volvo of the new century, the S60 continues a rich history of environmental concern.
PremAir ® treated radiator
Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV)

Original 2000 Volvo Web page text for the new Volvo S60

About Volvo

Volvo an auto manufacturing corporation based in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was created in 1915 as a supplement to a ball bearings producing company. It was declared officially as an auto manufacturer on April 14, 1927. Their first car in the market was the Volvo 4 series. 

The company was founded by two partners: Assar Gabrielsson as the sales manager and Gustav Larson as an engineer. They first made a verbal agreement and later created a written contract. Larson was to do engineering work by creating an investment plan for the auto manufacturing plant. Gabrielsson would provide capital from sales commissions from the ball bearings company and take all the economic risk.

Catch any factual errors on this page? Please contact me.

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