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Monday, March 02, 2009

REVIEW: Volvo S60 2.3 T5 Sedan

In this Blog Entry, I'm covering Volvo S60, particularly the 2.3 T5. It's on sale in Malaysia from mid-2001 till TODAY. Back in 2001, it was priced at RM248,000 +/- OTR depending on NCB (for the T5). Today, the same car costs you RM259,000 +/- depending on NCB.

Today, a used Volvo S60T5 costs as at 1 March 2009:

Year: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006** 2007 2008
Price RM: 60k 69k 83k 98k 115k 136k 160k -NA-

Note: ** => Facelift. Source from: 1) Motortrader, 2) The Star Metro Classifieds, 3) Random visit to dealers.

As usual, I don't have a PHYSICAL CAR to test and brag about, hence I dished up with a "Super test" from GOAUTO Australia.


(Source 1, Begins)

SUPERTEST: Volvo S60 T5 Sedan


THE S60 embraces the qualities with which Volvo has earned its reputation - safety, comfort, safety, practicality, safety, eco and family friendliness. And safety. But at long last, the Swedish marque has delivered a reason for the driving enthusiast and younger buyer to sit up and take notice. Not only is the sports sedan stunning to behold, it promises to perform like no other car in the Volvo stable - and be as involving to drive as its German rivals. Sadly, the promise is a false one.

The Car

THE S60 might be built on the same platform as the S80 sedan and V70 wagon but it is lighter, shorter and arguably the best looking car Volvo has ever produced. It has chief designer Peter Horbury to thank for that, who clung onto only the bare essentials in terms of Volvo styling cues and created a sleek, desirable coupe-ish sports sedan pitched directly at the driving enthusiast and younger buyer.
Did you know?
Front seat occupants are protected by six airbags, pyrotechnic self-tensioning seatbelts with force limiters and Volvo's WHIPS whiplash protection system

The Car - Seat Plan

THE S60 might look like a bit like a coupe, but there is sedan-like room and comfort on the inside. All five occupants have a three-point seatbelt and head restraint and benefit from the usual array of passive safety features. Leather upholstery and a woodgrain insert on the doors and glovebox lid are standard across the range. Useful storage facilities are also dotted throughout the cabin, though in typical Volvo style, many are optional.

Did you know?
Volvo claimed a number of firsts for a car manufacturer with its launch of the S60 in January 2001, including being the first to advertise on Palms and Internet Broadband (a modern internet connection method), the first to fly a banner (21m x 21m) from a helicopter and the largest 24-sheet poster outdoor advertising spend on the Eastern seaboard

The Car - Seats

A RANGE of interior colour schemes is available for S60, ranging from dark sports-inspired leather to a lighter shade of tan. All seats have leather, with the T5 featuring extra sculpting and more side support for both front and rear occupants. Adjustable lumbar support is standard across the range, while the 2.4T adds heated seats and driver's seat electric adjustment with memory. T5 goes the whole hog with full electrics for both front seats.

The Car - Dash

THE S60 dash draws heavily on the design created with the S80 sedan and V70 wagons. It's angled slightly toward the driver, presenting all controls within easy reach and using a wide variety of controls. The instruments are contained in a large, sweeping binnacle and are easily read day or night. An LCD display is set within the instrument cluster, providing trip computer details (where fitted) and warnings. A cupholder is provided in the dash facia unless an integrated telephone is optioned.

The Car - Controls

THE steering wheel pad has controls for a number of functions such as stereo and telephone, while the wheel itself adjusts for both reach and height. Sat-nav controls are located on the right side of the steering wheel, behind the steering ring, for ease of driver use. The typically daunting, but easily mastered, array of buttons and/or dials for the temperature and stereo controls are used on the dash, while both front seats on T5 are electrically adjustable. Window (and external mirror, for the driver) switches are in the usual position on the doors.

The Car - Wheels/tyres

DIFFERENT wheel/tyre sizes and design combinations are used across the range, with the T5 featuring 7.5J x 17 alloys with 225/45 R17 90W tyres. The T5 multi-spoke wheel design is called "Tethys". The 2.4T uses 16 x 6.5-inch "Mimas" wheels on 205/55 tyres, while the 20V package consists of "Argon" rims with 195/65 rubber. A space-saver spare wheel is used on the T5 while other S60 models use a full-size steel spare.

The Car - Luggage

THE S60's boot offers 424 litres of space and can be expanded by folding part or all of the 60/40 split-fold rear bench seat. A net pocket in the side panel can hold small articles in place, while larger items can be secured with a luggage net on the floor. Luggage can also be secured with straps, and a reversible mat is available if grimy cargo is carried. A multi-functional load and shopping bag holder that springs up from the luggage compartment floor is also optional.

The Car - Stand out features

PROBABLY the sleekest sedan Volvo has ever built, the S60 has a sports coupe feel to its appearance while maintaining good accommodation for five people. Rear seat room is compromised only slightly by the styling imperatives, however, front seat space, comfort and ergonomic design are highlights of the package. The T5 engine shows plenty of spirit and the active safety features go hand in hand with a high commitment to handling. The S60's passive safety features, meanwhile, are as comprehensive and impressive as ever.

The Car - Climate control

ELECTRONIC climate control air-conditioning is standard across the S60 range. While a built-in compartment filter shuts out dust, pollen and exhaust particles on the base 20V, a more advanced air quality system, standard on 2.4T and T5, monitors the incoming air and eliminates exhaust fumes and odours. Separate ventilation and heat outlets mounted in the centre pillars for rear seat passengers improve comfort and help clear ice and mist from the side windows.

The Car - Sound system

A CD radio-cassette stereo is standard across the S60 range, however, the T5 uses a premium system with no less than 13 speakers throughout the cabin: up from the usual eight. The T5 uses an "Audi Max" sound system, comprising an in-dash four-disc CD and 4x75W amplifier with Dolby Surround. The 2.4T and 20V have a single CD slot and are fitted with a 4x50W amp. A CD changer is available as an option across the range. Audio controls are included on the steering wheel.

The Car - Sat Nav

THE S60 saw the introduction of satellite navigation for Volvo, with the T5 gaining it as standard equipment. A display screen is packaged with the sound system's centre-stage speaker, hiding from view when not in use. The touch-coded keypad controls are neatly packaged on the right side of the steering wheel, behind the steering ring. Mapping covers the major metropolitan cities, most of the eastern seaboard of Australia and all national highways.

The Car - Security

ALL S60 models feature central locking. Exterior door locks have revolving cylinders that turn freely should someone try to force the locks open. An engine immobiliser is standard, while an alarm and laminated side windows are available as an option. The standard approach and "home safe" lighting systems illuminate either the interior as you approach or the headlights as you leave (for 30 seconds). Lockable wheel bolts for the alloy wheels are also available.
Did you know?
The S60's front airbags inflate to full capacity within a few thousands of a second during a severe frontal impact. During a less severe frontal impact, the airbags initially inflate at a slower rate (250 thousandths of a second) to ensure a prolonged period of inflation. In minor front impacts, only the seatbelt pretensioners are activated

Styling, value, features, safety

Handling, stereo display

Our Opinion

By TERRY MARTIN 28/02/2001

DON'T get the wrong impression about the S60. It observes all the proprieties expected of a car from Volvo. It is comfortable, functional, practical, eco and family friendly. And safe.

But at long last, the Swedish marque has delivered a reason for the driving enthusiast and younger buyer to take notice.

At street corners and parking lots, we have seen people fitting this description become confused. A sports sedan, a stunning appearance, a promise to perform - not a Volvo, surely?

The numbers catch the eye. Power of 184kW from the 2.3-litre turbo. A power-to-weight ratio of 113kW per tonne. A need of only 6.8 seconds to reach 100km/h from standstill.

Some of T5's obvious prestige rivals will have the full gamut of electric conveniences, airbags in all directions (front, side, head), leather seats, trip computer, cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, four-wheel disc and anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear foglamps, remote locking and a premium CD stereo.

But will they provide a telephone, sunroof and satellite navigation?

The cockpit is a wonderful place to warm to the S60. The anti-whiplash pre-tensioning front seats offer superb reassurance, comfort, support, heat treatment, a driver memory function and an infinite amount of electric adjustment to enable a perfect position behind the three-spoke steering wheel, which itself is blessed with reach and height movement and controls for the (powerful) stereo, telephone and sat-nav.

Not only is the inaugural sat-nav system - like all S60 switchgear - within easy reach and quickly mastered, its monitor hides within the dash when idle and, when called for, rises to a position that requires little diversion away from the road.

The instruments are a basic, uncluttered affair, the stereo fully integrated (though impossible to read if sunlight hits the electronic display panel), the requisite woodgrain tastefully used and trim materials soft wherever the hand, arm or leg is likely to touch.

There are also clever storage facilities throughout the cabin - not all of them standard - and eco-friendly touches such as a 12-volt power outlet on the dash instead of a cigarette lighter.

Perhaps most surprising given the heavily curved roof is the rear passenger accommodation. The styling imperatives hinder driver rear visibility (even with the electric headrest flip-flop employed), however outboard rear occupants will appreciate the sculpted seats and acceptable headroom and space underneath the front pews.

That said, the marginal rear legroom only just avoids being diabolical thanks to 40mm whittled out behind the front seats.

All seating positions have a headrest and three-point seatbelt, while the centre-rear position doubles as an armrest, child booster seat and thoroughfare via the skiport. Comfortable? Nope.

The luggage compartment features non-obtrusive bootlid struts, luggage-tie downs, a usable width of 1160mm once through the restrictive boot aperture, good depth of 1080mm from tailgate to seatback and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat that can then cope with items up to 1750mm in length. Alas, a temporary spare wheel also makes it in.

Taking all of that in, and claims of first-rate handling through vastly increased body stiffness, the keen driver might find he'll simply swallow the stigma and take the T5.

But the driving experience does not live up to expectations.

Despite the squeal, the big tyres offer good grip up to a point although front wheel adhesion when pushed disappears too easily and the front-drive T5 will descend into rather crass understeer.

When the road becomes tight, the car relies heavily on its electronic aids - which can debilitate the engine - to prevent it ploughing on straight ahead in a corner.

The steering is light, devoid of feel and can send some vibration up through the column, but otherwise the rack and pinion system is direct and proficient at stamping out unwanted kickback.

In the ride department, the MacPherson strut/multilink suspension does an acceptable job ironing most road roughness but allows some suspension noise up into cabin. The car can also lose its poise if it hits a bump mid-corner.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment comes with the 2.3-litre five-cylinder turbo T5.

The engine is frugal on (premium unleaded) fuel and meets strict low-emission vehicle standards, though when mated with the five-speed automatic gearbox it does not feel anywhere near as quick as the figures suggest.

The T5 reveals its potential in the upper reaches of the rev range, but will torque-steer under hard acceleration on its way there and require frequent use of sequential manual gear selection to keep things humming along.

Left in drive, the auto generally shifts smoothly upon demand but on two occasions it got stuck in a gear and upshifted only when it hit the rev limiter.

Sadly, the drive exposes the beautiful S60 as another Volvo coodabeen champion. But there is still hope - an ultra-quick four-wheel drive version due some time in 2002 might be icing this otherwise outstanding car, and its new-found devotees, deserves.

Mechanical - Plan views

S60 employs a transversely mounted turbocharged inline five-cylinder driving the front wheels with all-independent suspension

Mechanical - Engine

THREE five-cylinder engines are available on S60 - the 125kW 2.4-litre naturally aspirated 20V, the 147 low-pressure turbo version known as the 2.4T and the 2.3-litre high-output turbo T5 which develops 184kW at 5200rpm and 330Nm between 2400 and 5200rpm. All meet the strict Californian low emission vehicle (LEV) levels. Claimed 0-100km/h acceleration is 6.8 seconds for the T5 manual, while official fuel consumption figures for the same variant are 10.1L/100km (city) and 6.5L/100km (highway).

Mechanical - Suspension

THE S60 uses a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link system at the rear. The coil-over front strut attaches to a lower forged aluminium wishbone and an anti-roll bar. The wishbone pins to the body structure through hydro bushings, designed to quell suspension noise and vibration. The independent rear multi-link coil spring design is carried completely within an aluminium frame. A firmer, more sporting suspension setup is available on T5.

Mechanical - Electronic system

THE S60 has a digital network-based Multiplex electrical system which, among other things, allows the owner to specify such items as an integrated telephone. Stability and traction control systems are also available - STC (2.4T) or DSTC (standard on T5 only). STC automatically can reduce engine torque (shutting down either one cylinder or two) to the driving wheels to maintain as much grip as possible at any given moment, while DSTC uses a gyro sensor and steering movement sensors to determine whether the vehicle is losing any grip, applying either brakes or engine torque to maintain control.

Mechanical - Transmission

TWO transmissions are available on S60, an electronically controlled five-speed automatic with Volvo's Geartronic sequential manual shift control (2.4T and T5) or a five-speed manual by special order. The base 20V model does without Geartronic, a system that allows the driver to select gears but will downshift to first gear automatically when the vehicle comes to a halt. A "Spaceball" gearshifter is available on the fully synchronised five-speed manual transmission.

Mechanical - Brakes

VENTILATED discs at the front and solid discs at the rear can be found on all S60s, though front disc size (diameter) varies according to the model specified - 2.4 20V uses 286mm, while 2.4T and T5 use 305mm. Rear discs on all models are 288mm. A four-channel anti-lock braking system is fitted standard across the range and is assisted by electronic brake distribution (EBD), which is designed to provide maximum braking force in all on-road situations.

Mechanical - Steering

THE S60 uses a power-assisted rack and pinion steering system. The steering wheel adjusts steplessly, both vertically and horizontally. The turning circle diameter ranges from 10.8m to 11.8m, depending on tyres. Likewise, turns lock-to-lock range from 2.8 to 3.0 depending on the standard wheel and tyre combination. Volvo claims the power steering rack was tuned to provide good steering feel while reducing unwanted kickback while driving over rough road surfaces common to Australia.


THE S60 is crammed full with safety features, from excellent all-disc brakes (plus ABS) to good handling characteristics to the full complement of Volvo passive safety items. Front seat occupants are protected by six airbags, pyrotechnic self-tensioning seatbelts with force limiters and Volvo's WHIPS whiplash protection system. An inflatable curtain extends the length of the cockpit to protect both front and rear seat occupants in the event of a side impact. Interior surfaces are made with "sympathetic" materials, while some areas have additional energy absorption padding for extra protection.



* 2.319-litre DOHC 20-valve front-mounted transverse turbocharged inline five-cylinder
* Power: 184kW at 5200rpm
* Torque: 330Nm at 2400-5200rpm
* Compression ratio: 8.5:1
* Bore/stroke: 81mm/90mm


* Five-speed semi-automatic


* Front: independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
* Rear: independent by multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar


* Power-assisted rack and pinion
* Turning circle: 11.8 metres
* Turns lock to lock: 2.8


* Length: 4576mm
* Width: 1804mm
* Height: 1428mm
* Wheelbase: 2715mm
* Track front: 1560mm
* Track rear: 1563mm
* Kerb weight: 1622kg

Top speed: 245km/h
0-100km/h: 7.2 seconds (6.8 secs Manual => -NA- in Malaysia)


* Cruise control
* Sports leather steering wheel
* Trip computer
* Satellite navigation
* Electric windows and mirrors
* Electric front seats
* Leather upholstery
* Remote central locking
* Front and rear foglamps
* Anti-lock brakes with EBD
* Driver and front passenger airbags (front, side)
* Traction and stability control
* Inflatable curtain airbag
* 17-inch alloy wheels
* 13-speaker CD stereo

SOURCE 2 (A well written review from UK):


:Volvo’s Traditionally Older Clientele Aren’t The Only Ones Likely To Be Tempted By The S60 T5, Thinks Jonathan Crouch…

Volvo S60 T5 Car Review On paper at least, the argument for Volvo’s S60 T5 is a pretty compelling one. For what seems a pretty reasonable £26,745, it offers a huge 260bhp output – much more power than any of its German rivals can muster for similar money. Yet in a market as image and badge-conscious as the compact executive saloon sector, sheer power and value are never quite enough.

Volvo has discovered this to its cost in the past, with turbocharged versions of its mainstream models that all failed to quite make the grade. This applied as much to the twisty stuff as it did to the golf club carpark. But things are changing. The latest S60 is winning the marque a whole new kind of customer. The kind who would never have previously considered buying one of the company’s cars.

As the S60 line-up’s mainstream flagship, this T5 clearly has an important role to play in this process. Yes, it has slightly more power than BMW’s rival 258bhp 330i. Yes, it costs thousands less and offers a higher specification. More important however, is the way it handles, the first Volvo to get anywhere near the Bavarian car in this respect. A revised chassis has moved it closer still to Germany’s finest while a power boost also helped performance.

Thanks to the change from the old 2.3-litre engine up to 2.4-litres, an extra 10bhp was made available. This uped the peak power to a not inconsequential 260bhp and peak torque also rose to 350Nm (up from 330).

Naturally, this had an effect on the performance figures, the S60 T5 managing the sprint to 60mph 0.3 seconds quicker than before at 6.3 seconds and Volvo being Volvo, the brakes were also beefed up to cope with the additional urge. This is a specialist tool and most will feel that the more pliant suspension and 260bhp punch of the T5 represents a more usable everyday alternative.

Not that Volvo has ever quite mastered the sporting saloon genre. On the road, the S60 T5’s handling response certainly isn’t quite as pin-sharp as the all-conquering 3-Series, despite the recent upgrades to springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Nevertheless, it’s quite good enough to match other direct rivals like Mercedes’ C-class and Audi’s A4. It could be even better too: the chassis is certainly more capable than the slightly vague steering gives it credit for.

Performance 6
Comfort 8
Handling 6
Economy 6
Image 7
Styling 6
Equipment 7
Build 8
Depreciation 6
Insurance 7
"There’s a sense of style and spirit we’ve not seen from Gothenburg in the past…."

So how has Volvo done it? Well handling has much to do with body stiffness – as anyone who tried to make an S70 change direction at speed will testify. Without it, you can make the springs as stiff as you like: it won’t make much difference. Hence the need in the S60 for a completely new approach, aided by the use of a platform developed for the larger S80 saloon and the V70 estate.

In the case of the S60, this has allowed for a 70% improvement in torsional rigidity over the previous generation car. The provision of such a strong foundation has enabled much else to be achieved. Take the suspension, now tuned to deliver progressive movement, rather than lurching forward or back during heavy acceleration or braking. Over and above this, the two ride set-ups allow buyers to choose a car that’s tuned for either comfort or handling response. Alternatively, they can go for the adaptive Four-C system which can be set into either comfort or sport modes.

The ‘wheel-at-each-corner’ design also helps with reduced overhangs that lower the polar movement of inertia, enabling sharper steering responses and a crisper turn-in. Plus there are the usual electronic aids. Like all S60 models, this 2.0T gets Volvo’s STC Stability and Traction Control system, Plus there’s the (sadly optional) DSTC active anti-skid programme: enter a corner too fast and it automatically cuts in, reducing the throttle and selectively applying the brakes.

The main focus of the changes brought to this S60 was to increase the car’s sportiness, both actual and perceived. The Dynamic chassis was introduced across the Range with revised components while Sport models get a Sport chassis and the SE Sport derivatives benefit from the active Four-C set-up. Outside, indicators are integrated into the larger mirrors, there’s a low front spoiler and the grille has a wide chrome surround. Inside, there’s more chrome and aluminium detailing with cruise control standard on all models.

Volvo has an unparalleled reputation for safety and the S60 harbours yet another Volvo safety innovation that will doubtless find its way into many other rival cars. Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) acts much like an extra set of eyes and utilizes digital camera technology mounted in the door mirrors to monitor the areas 3m to each side and up to 9.5m behind the driver. If a vehicle enters this area, a symbol appears on the windscreen pillar near the rear view mirror to indicate that something’s there when you take a quick look towards the mirror. Active at speeds above 10km/h, this system isn’t the only safety benefit buyers of the latest S60 enjoy. Special water repellent glass is fitted to the mirrors and side windows. Water beads up on the glass and the airstream quickly clears it, leaving unimpeded visibility.

It’s obvious that safety remained formost in the designers’ minds throughout the S60’s development: Volvo may have ditched many of its marque values in recent years but it can’t afford to lose this one. Hence the inclusion on every model of dual-stage airbags for front driver and passenger, SIPS (the company’s patented Side Impact Protections System) with side airbags, WHIPS (the Whiplash Protection System), an inflatable curtain to save your head from smashing against the side glass and five three-point seatbelts.

Without any doubt, the S60 T5 is one of the most convincing driver’s cars the marque has yet made. Certainly, this is a car that serious drivers can’t ignore.



1) (GoAuto Australia)
2) (A Review by Jonathan Crouch)
3) (for 1 photo => Black 3 quarter view.

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