It is totally a coincidence when buying this 2011 Volvo S60 T5 that I used to own an entry-level 2009 Volvo S40 diesel, which came with a leather but uncomfortable seat and Bluetooth only for phone calls. So, when I was looking for a larger car, Volvo wasn’t really on my option list. But the test drives of the Ford Mondeo and Honda Accord Euro pretty much failed me because the performance doesn't quite match the price.
The other afternoon, I was browsing auto-trading websites, and this S60 suddenly caught my eye. It has much better seats, just like the 'normal' Volvos, and the stock powertrain produces 320Nm torque in an amazing RPM range, from 1800 to 5000rpm.
A 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is right beneath the bonnet, not the old Volvo five-cylinder type, but a powerful four-cylinder turbo-petrol sourced from the Ford Ecoboost. With the help of a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it can burst out 177kW at 5500rpm, 28kW more compared to the Mondeo Ecoboost that has the same engine.
The chassis is nothing but agile, and the steering is heavy but precise. The sport leather seat gives great support on the side of body, but is soft and comfortable at the same time. No matter whether you are on a long-time cruise or a passion release after work, you won’t hate it. Trust me, your spine will thank you.
The safety technology inside and outside the cabin is advanced considering its year. The xenon lights are equipped with active bending function (ABL) and bumpers are full of sensors (four in the front and four on back). The reverse camera with track prediction makes parking much easier and City Safety prevents you from a low speed rear-end in city traffic.
It is really enjoyable driving it every day. It is elegant, smooth and full of a Scandinavian minimalism when you want to be a delicate gentleman, but it will give you all the confidence when you want to unleash the beast inside your heart. It can be a silent cruise machine, or a sports guy with tyres squeaking. The trunk can’t be considered as large, but it explains adequacy perfectly. It can carry two 28-inch and one 20-inch suitcases easily, which makes it a perfect car for self-driving road trips.
Though it is a good car, it still has its shortcomings. Since it is defined as a sports sedan and equipped with a manual function, the missing pedal shift makes it an embarrassment when you want to beat someone at a red-light start, pushing the gear handle is not that comfortable. In addition, holding the wheel with only one hand in such a situation is a bit dangerous.
The headlight design is kind of distinctive; though a thousand people have a thousand hamlets, I still put on a pair of Heico front corner cover to sharpen the front face look, at least in my mind. Front-wheel drive is another drawback – not as fun as rear-wheel drive, nor as stable as all-wheel drive. In Volvo’s own ideology, only FWD and AWD could combine both safety and pleasure on freezing roads in Northern Europe, but only the flagship T6 equipped with AWD is impenetrable.
Having said all of the above, the 2011 Volvo S60 T5 is indeed a great cruise machine and passion lighter, which can surely be a heavy punch on the stable luxury sports sedan market.