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Volvo S60 R-Design headed for Paris, other variants under consideration

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Volvo S60 R-Design headed for Paris, other variants under consideration

by Chris Paukert (RSS feed) on Sep 17th 2010 at 9:57AM

Although the first examples of Volvo's new-for-2011 S60 sedan won't hit North American showrooms until later this month, Autoblog has learned that the Swedish automaker will unveil a sporty new R-Design derivative at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Volvo of North America's Vice President of Public Affairs, Geno Effler confirmed the debut Thursday during a media Q&A session at this week's U.S. launch of the S60 in Portland, Oregon.

The S60 R-Design will join Volvo's growing range of performance styled models that includes the XC60, XC90, S40/V50 and C30 hatchback. Effler did not give further details regarding the hotted-up S60, but other models in the series have included rejiggered suspensions, body kits, unique wheels and a host of minor interior upgrades. It is not known if the already sharp-looking S60 will receive more than cosmetic changes in its transformation into a R-Design model, however.

At launch, the $37,700 all-wheel drive S60 will be marketed with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine good for 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, which should certainly be enough to make the R-Design interesting. Future S60 variants are expected to include a front-drive, five-cylinder volume model that's due to hit the market early next year. Hybrid and diesel models also continue to be evaluated under Volvo's new ownership and leadership (China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and former Volkswagen bigwig Stefan Jacoby, respectively), but as of yet, nothing has been committed to for the North American market.

One model that will definitely not be available in the States is a wagon variant of the S60. With estate sales in the dumpster for the brand (Volvo once sold over 40,000 load luggers per year in the U.S. – it presently sells around 1,800 units), Effler confirmed that a V70 reprisal does not make sense for North America, though the model will continued to be offered in Europe. A replacement for the XC70 softroader based on the new S60 is widely expected to make up the shortfall, however.



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Paris Preshow: New Volvo S60 and V60 R-Design


Volvo is trying to further enhance the appeal of its new 2011 S60 sedan and V60 station wagon models with the presentation of a new R-Design styling and handling package that will be available in autumn 2010. The Swedish firm's take on the BMW M Sport and Audi S-Line kits combines sporty visual upgrades inside and out, and a tweaked chassis for a sharper drive.

"These cars have been specially developed for buyers who want to put their very own stamp on their car," says Magnus Jonsson, head of Product Development at Volvo Cars.

"And with R-Design, we are attracting a younger target group. We expect that 10 percent of all S60 and V60 customers will choose the R-Design option on markets where it is available. We aim to win over one-third of these customers from competing brands."

On the outside, the R-Design treatment adds a front grille painted in glossy piano black, a more aggressive front bumper detailed in a matt black finish, a discreet boot lid spoiler (sedan) or roof spoiler (Estate) and a distinctive rear diffuser that houses twin exhaust tailpipes.

A new set of unique 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels shod in sport tires completes the list of exterior changes.

Moving into the interior, the package includes a pair of body-hugging sport seats up front, special leather/textile upholstery available in off-black and ceramic light, or in an all-black, both with contrasting stitching, plus an R-Design steering wheel, gear selector, sports pedals and floor-mats.

Underneath the sheetmetal, Volvo's engineers have given the S60 and V60 models stiffer springs (+15%) and bushes (+20%), a lowered ride height (-15mm), new monotube dampers at the back, and a strut brace under the bonnet.

Stefan Sällqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars says: "The challenge was to boost the dynamics without making the chassis feel raw. If the chassis is too firm, even smooth tarmac can feel bumpy. We wanted a distinct yet plush feel. The car now has a more solid feel to it, which in turn helps make the steering feel even more responsive with a distinctive contact with the road."

The R-Design package can be combined with all available engines, ranging from the 115HP DRIVe 1.6-liter diesel unit to a 3.0-liter turbocharged-six petrol with 304 horsepower.



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