August 12, 2020

ptemplates

Born to play

2020 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered review: Little tweaks yield big improvements

Polestar or not, the S60 is one particular sharp-dressed sedan. Steven Ewing/Roadshow In the two...

Polestar or not, the S60 is one particular sharp-dressed sedan.


Steven Ewing/Roadshow

In the two a long time due to the fact I to start with drove the Polestar Engineered S60, Volvo’s seriously only transformed one particular factor: the brakes. But this seemingly small tweak actually makes a huge distinction. With this significant piece of the effectiveness puzzle sorted, the S60 Polestar Engineered is ultimately the completely recognized activity sedan it generally meant to be.

Like

  • Powerful hybrid effectiveness
  • The brakes aren’t terrible any longer
  • Attractive style, inside of and out

Don’t Like

  • A lot more high-priced base cost than rivals
  • T8 powertrain appears wheezy
  • Sensus infotainment is nonetheless a minimal buggy

The components was never ever the situation the significant, six-piston Brembo front brakes offered loads of stopping power. But the electronic brake-by-wire software package — where the brake pedal sends a signal to a computer, which then tells the brakes what to do — was inadequately tuned. Volvo tweaked the software package and produced a couple of minimal components changes, ensuing in a braking expertise that not only gives better opinions to the driver, but vastly smooths out the transition involving the S60’s regenerative and mechanical braking. 

The outdated brakes were being so hard to gauge that you’d unknowingly use much too substantially strain, the nose of the vehicle would dive and the S60’s rear end would unsettle — correct ahead of a convert, no significantly less. Even even worse, these grabby characteristics produced the S60 Polestar Engineered kind of a hassle to push in the town or in end-and-go website traffic. I’m happy to report that at all speeds, the new setup is way, way better.

I am one hundred% below for gold calipers.


Steven Ewing/Roadshow

That’s a great factor, because the relaxation of the Polestar Engineered cure makes the S60 a serious hoot. The two.-liter I4 engine is the exact one particular you can obtain in Volvo’s other T8-badged automobiles. It is really turbocharged, supercharged and operates in conjunction with an electric powered motor mounted at the rear axle for a healthful complete of 415 horsepower and 494 pound-ft of torque. The eight-pace automated transmission mainly fades into the background, so substantially so that I do not even hassle with the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. And with the electric powered motor a-hummin’, the S60 Polestar Engineered has by means of-the-highway all-wheel push to enhance grip, especially if you reside in a place with lousy climate.

The Polestar-specific updates get the job done a treat. The adjustable Öhlins dampers can rework the trip from attractive and plush to organization and taut, nevertheless it is really not anything you can do at the drive of a button. As an alternative, there are manual knobs on possibly facet of the engine bay — painted in a rad shade of gold — where you can organization up or loosen the dampers to your heart’s written content. I will admit, there is anything oddly fulfilling about altering the dampers manually and it is really neat to attempt one particular setting, push a couple of miles, make adjustments, do yet another operate, rinse and repeat. But I have to speculate how several entrepreneurs will actually get the time to get under the hood and tinker with these knobs on the common. (Professional tip: Carry some gloves or a rag if you are likely to convert the knobs soon after working the engine for a though. They get really, really very hot. Inquire me how I know.)

With the dampers tuned someplace involving medium and medium-very well, the S60 Polestar Engineered provides a compliant trip. The steering has awesome excess weight to its action but feels a minimal numb on centre, but at the very least the wheel itself is a joy to keep, wrapped in leather-based and just the correct volume of girthy. The 235/40-series Continental High quality Get in touch with 6 tires provide loads of grip, but have just enough sidewall to maintain the 19-inch wheels from remaining much too punishing. And hey, due to the fact the brakes are no longer a washy-then-grabby affair, you can carry much more pace into corners, realizing the strain you set on the end pedal will be properly and effortlessly translated to these significant, bold Brembos.

Most men and women will probably go away the S60 in its default Hybrid mode, where the engine and battery get the job done jointly to supply correct power devoid of killing all round performance. A Hold setting can maintain the battery’s point out of demand as-is and if you want to add much more juice on the go, drive a button for Demand mode, which sends supplemental engine power into the ten.4-kilowatt-hour pack. A model-specific effectiveness mode — unimaginatively called Polestar Engineered — places all the things on complete boil. And you can even push the S60 under completely electric powered power if you desire, nevertheless only for shorter distances (22 miles, in accordance to the EPA).

Entertaining as the S60 is when you are seriously on it, what is great is that it is really also correctly happy to get a chill capsule and simmer down when you just aren’t in the mood. I actually consider the added breadth of the hybrid bundle — the potential to go from silent and docile to complete-blast rocket — increases the Polestar’s charm. Some activity sedans get the job done much too hard to celebration all the time, irrespective of whether it is really with a super-rigid trip (Mercedes-AMG C43) or go-go-go throttle tuning (BMW M340i). Combining that with the S60’s cabin — which is so peaceful it borders on serene — and what are absolutely some of the most effective front seats in any vehicle at any cost, makes this Volvo a vehicle I might love to have as a day by day driver. It is really as substantially at property working to CVS for some rest room paper as it is blasting down my most loved canyon highway.

Matte paint is a $7,000 selection. Woof.


Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The other professionals and drawbacks are similar to other S60 models. The exterior is handsome as heck and I love all the gold accents inside of and out. The inside is equally stately, with great supplies everywhere you go. There’s a boatload of driver-assistance tech conventional, which include all the modern amenities like adaptive cruise management, lane-trying to keep aid, blind-place monitoring and much more. The Sensus infotainment procedure is attractive and function-abundant, nevertheless the 9-inch touchscreen’s responsiveness is nonetheless a hit-or-overlook affair. Actually, if there is one particular important complaint to sign up, it is really that the hybrid powertrain appears kind of wheezy and coarse, which is particularly disgraceful specified the much more aggressive mission of the Polestar Engineered trim.

I’ve generally considered the S60 was kind of underappreciated among compact luxurious sedans and which is correct of this Polestar trim, much too. There’s a whole lot to like about an Audi S4, BMW M340i or Mercedes-AMG C43, but none of them seriously stand out as definitely better choices. Some have better cabin tech. Some are a minimal much more luxurious. But I have no question the S60 Polestar Engineered could stand toe-to-toe with these large-hitters as significantly as dynamics are concerned, nevertheless it is really worthy of noting the Volvo is a bit much more highly effective than these main competitors.

At $65,795 to start (which include $995 for destination), the S60 Polestar is much more high-priced than its aforementioned rivals, but only if you examine the base MSRPs. Load up an Audi S4 or Mercedes-AMG C43 with all the excellent things — like what is conventional on this S60 — and you are seeking at about $65,000. In the end, it evens out. And now that the Polestar’s significant effectiveness caveat is luckily a factor of the past, there is even much more rationale to take into consideration the S60 as an option to one particular of the German go-tos.