With the standard version of its all-new 2011 Volvo S60 barely out of the blocks, the Swedish automaker has just released details about its S60 R-Design variant. Aimed at more enthusiast-oriented buyers, the car will be on display in Paris and arrive here in the U.S. next spring. While its T6-spec powertrain remains unchanged -- a 3.0-liter/300-horse turbocharged inline-six and six-speed automatic transmission driving either the front or all four wheels -- the R-Design kit does bring a host of cosmetic and functional upgrades that give this mid-size Volvo a definite attitude adjustment.
On the looking cooler front, the S60 R-Design (as well as its Euro-only V60 R-Design sport wagon runningmate) gets a more aggressively contoured front valance panel and an equally bold rear diffuser that houses twin chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. Unique 18-inch/five-spoke Diamond-cut ally wheels add a final touch of flash. The cabin tweaks include new and more supportive sport seats trimmed in special leather/cloth upholstery with unique R-Design contrast stitching, plus an R-Design steering wheel, gear selector, sport pedals and floormats.
Functional enhancements for the 2011 Volvo S60 R-Design focus on bumping up its chassis responsiveness index. Changes there include the addition of a front tower strut brace to improve steering feel and the fitment of more efficient monotube shock absorbers on the rear axle that mount to the body using 20-percent harder bushings. The R-Design's springs also are 15mm shorter and 15 percent stiffer all around that their standard S60 counterparts. Stefan Sallqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars, says that collectively, these changes give the S60 R-Design a more controlled and connected feel without destroying ride compliance.