Sporty new Swede born in the USA

VOLVO has just introduced the latest version of their sporty S60 four-door saloon and it might just shock a few loyal big Swede fans.

For a start, the new S60 is the first Volvo to be built in the U.S., its makers saying it is economic sense to produce cars where demand is high.

But now the real shocker. The 2019 S60 will NOT have a ‘devil’ diesel powered model in its line-up!

This news will obviously come as a great loss to many Volvo owners as the brand’s reputation for producing powerful, economical diesel lumps is legendary.

Instead, the new S60 will have a 2.0-litre T5 petrol engine under the bonnet, pumping out 250bhp, and giving it a 0-62mph sprint time of just 6.5 seconds and onto a top speed capability of 145mph, though another shock awaits Volvo buyers globally when, come 2020, ALL models will have a electronically limited top speed of 112mph in a bid to cut fatalities and serious injuries. Ok, it won’t have any real sales impact in the UK, but what about the German market with their unlimited autobahn speed limits?

The plus side to just having a single petrol unit is that it is a very good one, the T5 being a very refined, very capable engine that gives good returns in the fuel consumption stakes at around 35-39mpg on the ‘combined’ cycle. But that will also come as quite a shock to those Volvo owners who have been getting upwards of 60mpg from their beloved oil burners.

But, Volvo have pledged to play their part in cleaning up the environment, as well as cutting the amount of single-use plastics in the products, saying the end of diesel car production by them is just around the corner.

To fill this void they are to introduce petrol hybrid versions later in the year with full electrification of their range to follow in due course.

The new S60 falls into the premium mid-size compact saloon segment of the car market though you could hardly call it ‘compact’ in cabin room and luggage space.

Very refined, quiet and comfortable, its engine responds beautifully thanks to a ultra-smooth eight-speed auto gearchange with manual paddleshift if desired, but I was a little disappointed with ride quality at times when trying the car at last week’s UK press launch held on the pothole-strewn roads of central Scotland.

Inside, its designers have given the S60 an uncluttered, more modern dashboard with a centrally sited 12-inch touch screen, controlling major functions like heating/ventilation, the premium sound system, sat nav, heated seats, phone connection, etc, though I did find myself spending far too much time looking at this screen when making adjustments instead out of the windscreen in front.

Even though it is unmistakeably a Volvo from the outside, with Swedish styling inside, and the added confidence that you are driving one of the safest cars on the road, the S60 will still challenge what many Volvo owners the world over have come to expect from the brand in their choice of engine options.

Prices for the new Volvo S6 R-Design start at £37,935 on-the-road with first deliveries due this month.