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by Tim Beissmann

Volvo Car Australia has given its 2011 Volvo S60 range a sporting kick with the introduction of the R-Design option for the T5 and T6 petrol models.

Unlike some other R-Design models that add only visual enhancements, the S60 R-Design models are tweaked for improved performance.

The chassis is lowered by 15mm front and rear, the springs have been stiffened by 15 percent and the anti-roll bars are also stiffer.

Mono-tube dampers have replaced the standard twin-tube set-up at the rear for quicker response, and the bushings that attach the rear dampers to the body have been stiffened by 20 percent.

A new strut brace has also been added under the bonnet for improved rigidity and more responsive steering and feedback.

From the outside, the S60 gets a glossy black grille, body-colour components, larger air intakes, rear diffuser with twin exhaust pipes and five-spoke diamond-cut 18-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the R-Design treatment extends to the leather sports seats, three-spoke steering wheel and gearstick; sports pedals; and floor mats, trim inserts and instruments with R-Design badging.

Standard features across the 2011 Volvo S60 range include electronic climate control, cruise control, retractable exterior mirrors, rear park assist, rain-sensing wipers and Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming.

The front-wheel drive S60 T5 R-Design is powered by a 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged engine, which produces 177kW of power and 320Nm of torque. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 8.3 litres/100km and accelerating from 0-100km/h takes 7.5 seconds.

The all-wheel drive S60 T6 R-Design packs an extra punch, with its 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine capable of producing 224kW of power and 440Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes just 6.1 seconds and combined cycle fuel consumption averages 10.2 litres/100km.

Most people don’t associate Volvo with bang-for-your-buck, but compared with the Germans the S60 is a tremendous value proposition from a power perspective

The 177kW/320Nm S60 T5 R-Design costs $56,150 – $34,700 less than the 170kW/300Nm Mercedes-Benz C 300.

Similarly, the 224kW/440Nm S60 T6 R-Design costs $69,150. The 225kW/400Nm BMW 335i M Sport will set you back an extra $41,650, while the 245kW/440Nm Audi S4 costs an additional $50,750.

Australian prices for the 2011 Volvo S60 range:

  • T5 – $51,950
  • T5 R-Design – $56,150
  • D5 – $57,950
  • T6 – $64,950
  • T6 R-Design – $69,150