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2007 Volvo S60 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Volvo S60 was new.

The Volvo S60 is a good performer but not as sporty as others in its class, agree most critics. According to Edmunds, S60s provide a ride "biased more toward comfort than speed." The S60R, however, is a better performer, and Forbes claims that it can "outperform some sports cars."

The basic S60 2.5 and 2.5t trims, with their 2.4-liter, 204 hp engine, is not the most powerful car in its class, and not a world-class handler, according to most reviewers. Still, the Chicago Tribune says the 2.5 version, with its 2.4-liter, 204 horsepower engine "likes to flex its muscle and sprint off the line."

The S60R has an entirely different suspension than its model-mates, and Motor Week's reviewer sums up consensus when it says it has "exceptional handling," thanks to a suspension that can be adjusted to three-different modes, depending on driving conditions.

Acceleration and Power

The 2007 Volvo S60, in its 2.5 trim, is a front-wheel drive car, with manual or automatic transmissions available, delivering 208hp through a five-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine. The 2.5T adds all-wheel drive, while the S60 T5 uses a 257hp turbo-charged 2.4-liter engine. The five-cylinder engine used on these models is something of a compromise between fuel efficiency and power. MSN says the choice of using five-cylinders means this engine is "a step up from a four cylinder but isn't as smooth as a six cylinder."

However, the S60R trim, which has a turbocharged five-cylinder making 300 horsepower seems to be no slouch, given what reviewers find to be a fairly speedy time of 5.6 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 MPH. USA TODAY says "what makes S60 R and V70 R better than a collection of impressive-sounding components is that the engine spins out its power in usable, tractable fashion." A few reviewers found this powerful engine to be a bit on the noisy side though. The Wall Street Journal says "the bright-red S60R we tested had speed and sharp handling that practically startled us. So did the noise."  Car and Driver had a similar complaint, but in the end thinks all the noise is worth it: "it revs willingly to its 6500-rpm redline. It feels coarse doing so, as if the engines were grating a big wedge of Parmesan, and the sound is strained and raucous, causing involuntary teeth clenching when shifting at redline. But the results are all smiles."

Fuel consumption is average for the class, with the 208hp trims getting an EPA estimated 21/30 (city/highway) miles per gallon. The 2.5t gets 19/28 mpg, while the S60R gets sports-car like 18/25 mpg. Shoppers should note also that Volvo recommends only premium fuel for all versions of the 2007 Volvo S60.

Handling and Braking

Relatively few reviewers had much, good or bad, to say about the handling abilities of the 2.5T, or its turbo version, the S60 T5. Edmunds says "handling is adequate but the limits are modest on 2.5T and T5 models." Most reviewers judge the all-wheel drive version, the 2.5T AWD, to be a good alternative, if you live in an area with bad winter weather, to bulkier SUVs, but that it doesn't provide a best-in-class driving experience. MSN says "Volvo calls the S60 AWD a sports sedan, but the speed and precision of such a car just aren't there." A few reviewers noted there were some problems with torque steer in the two-wheel drive versions. Consumer Guide says "in fast takeoffs, front-drive S60s show mild torque-steer wander." Kelley Blue Book agrees, saying that "the high-powered T5's noticeable torque steer can, at times, become annoying."

The all-wheel drive versions are reported to provide much better handling. New Car Test Drive says "We drove over gravel roads in the S60 AWD, and found directional stability on loose surfaces excellent." The all-wheel drive system is notable for being electronically controlled -- on dry pavement the car is effectively in two-wheel drive, but if a loss of traction is detected, will automatically shift power to the rear wheels. Road and Track says "from both a mechanical as well as ‘peace-of-mind' standpoint, the S60 AWD feels more firmly connected to the road than its front-drive sibling."

Reviewers tended to focus more attention and praise on the sporty and more expensive R60 model and its high-tech four-wheel independent suspension system, which helps provide for excellent handling and comfort, depending on which mode the suspension is in, Sport, Comfort, or Advanced. This system, called Four-C by Volvo, links together the active suspension system, Volvo's Dynamic Stability and Traction Control system, which is both an Electronic Stability Control system as well as a traction control system which can apply different amounts of power to the wheels individually, depending on road conditions. Motor Week says "the cumulative effect of all these systems is handling that's incredibly tight, precise, and well balanced, though not as flat as expected."

Newsday agrees, saying the R60 "was almost a dream to drive" and New Car Test Drive says "we tested the S60R on the road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and it was a perfect day in a perfect car."  Many reviewers found the Advanced setting, which improves handling by stiffening the suspension, to be of little use outside of a race track. Newsday summed up the opinions of several reviewers, saying the Advanced setting is "just too brutal" for everyday use because of the lack of comfort. Only one reviewer disagreed with the consensus about the Four-C suspension system, Consumer Guide, which thinks the "Four-C adjustable suspension can't duplicate the supple control of its best European rivals."

The R60 also gets a boost in the braking department. While all variants of the S60 have anti-lock disc brakes, the R60 has larger Brembo disc brakes. Car and Driver says these brakes "offer good feedback and perform flawlessly."

Performance Options

Volvo S60 2.5T

The base S60 model has a 2.5 liter in-line five-cylinder engine making 208 horsepower and 236 pound feet of torque.  This model has front wheel drive and is available with a five-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed geartronic automatic transmission.

Volvo S60 2.5T AWD

This model adds all wheel drive to the base 2.5T model

Volvo S60 T5

The T5 model has a 2.4 liter turbocharged engine that makes 257 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque.  This model is front wheel drive and is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed geartronic automatic transmission.

Volvo S60R

The S60R features a five-cylinder turbocharged engine making 300 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque. It has an upgrades suspension and is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed geartronic automatic transmission.

Review Last Updated: 5/5/08

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