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Original MSRP: $30,975 - $33,985
MPG: 19 City / 27 Hwy
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2008 Volvo S60 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Volvo S60 was new.

Although the S60 is a competent performer, it doesn't have the stamina of others in its class. According to Edmunds, S60s provide a ride "biased more toward comfort than speed."

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."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 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 257 hp 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."

Fuel consumption is average for the class, with the FWD trims getting an estimated 19/27 (city/highway) miles per gallon, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The AWD trims get a maximum of 18/26 mpg. Shoppers should note also that Volvo recommends only premium fuel for all versions of the 2008 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 version is 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."

Every 2008 S60 comes equipped with anti-lock disc brakes.

Review Last Updated: 7/31/08

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