By on April 11, 2007

2139_2_1.jpgA Volvo sports car is like a porno star wearing a condom: it makes perfect sense, and none at all. And yet, for reasons lost in the notes of a Ford strategy session gone bad, the brand best known for passenger fortification has developed an ongoing need to engage in protected sex appeal. Currently, the 300 horse S60R and V70R are the lead characters in this oxymoronic endeavor. Snicker if you must, but Volvo has publicly proclaimed that their R’s are suitable competition to BMW’s unassailable M3. Them’s fighting words!

On the face of it, the V70R wants to make love, not war. Despite distinct visual clues to its adrenal agenda– a lowered stance, aggressive grill, rear spoiler, twin exhaust tips and “R” badges– the basic design embodies the same mellow two box gestalt that won the hearts and minds of generations of New England grad students. In that sense, the V70R is as good an example of respectful evolution as Porsche’s 911 S; it’s slightly aggressive, thoroughly modern and instantly recognizable.

interior.jpgA non-sporting V70’s cabin rivals Audi and Lexus’ caverns for materials’ quality, subdued interior design and ergonomic excellence. That said, there are a few notable exceptions: the V70’s plastic disaster door handles, its Rubbermaid instrument cluster top, the “pleather” infecting the doors and a ho-hum shifter and steering wheel. And now the good news: the R model banishes ALL of these beancounted banes of pistonhead pride and joy.

While full leather interiors in $50k cars are as rare as raven-haired, sauna-aversive Swedes, the V70R goes hog wild for cow hide. Everything that looks like leather is, including the dash, airbag cover, door trim and parking brake boot. The R’s sports steering wheel blends a thick rim with excellent two position grips and well placed controls. Equally reassuring, the V70R’s seats envelop you in supple yet supportive leather, caressing your frame with side bolstering worthy of the mighty M3.

2135_2_1.jpgThe V70R is powered a 2.5-liter five cylinder transverse-mounted mill stumping-up the aforementioned 300hp. The KKK turbo blows good fortune upon the V70R driver; maximum torque arrives early (295 ft. lbs. @ 1950 rpm) and stays for a late night slice of Västerbotten (5250 rpm). In less technical terms, the V70R offers more mid-range overtaking power than you’ll ever need, exactly when you need it. And you can pin the Labradors to the rear window, blasting from zero to sixty in 5.6 seconds.

This little feat arrives courtesy of the V70R’s combination of Haldex all wheel-drive, a DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) handling Nanny and Volvo’s all new semi-active suspension. The V70R's trick Four-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) computes the wagon's longitudinal and lateral acceleration, body yaw, chassis and wheels’ vertical motion, engine torque and throttle position, degree of braking, steering wheel position and turn rate, and insurance coverage.

1032_2_1.jpgDamping forces are adjusted 500 times a second according to your choice of settings: Comfort, Sport or, intimidating enough, Advanced. Unlike the vast majority of these doo-hickeys, the V70R’s Four-C system offers discernible differences in ride and handling. Comfort mode is suitably squidgy, Sport stifles body roll and Advanced removes both your fillings and the high speed pucker factor.

Unfortunately, someone forgot to connect the Four-C system to the V70R’s steering rack. The wagon’s power assisted rack and pinion steering remains resolutely untweaked; the tiller is as numb [albeit accurate] as the regular family hauler’s helm. Thankfully, the same cannot be said of the V70R’s slick shifting and perfectly matched six speed gearbox — although the third pedal’s decidedly binary action prevents it from being a clutch player.

1031_2_1.jpgExtensive autobahn testing indicates that the V70R’s claimed zero to 60mph time is accurate (providing it’s cold enough for the turbo). The stated 155mph top speed is both attainable and effortless. And there’s no question: the V70R in Advanced mode will give the significantly shorter Audi S4 Avant a decent run for the money through all but the bandiest bends.

Here’s news: in a seeming rejection of Volvo’s safety shtick, the driver can switch off the V70R’s stability control system. Once disabled, truly determined full throttle application (after initial turn in) yields a smidgen of understeer. Due to the AWD, any desire to initiate a lurid rear wheel-drive tail slide is destined to remain unfulfilled. The V70R’s enormous Brembo brakes will gladly put a stop to such thoughts, repeatedly, without fade or drama.

rear.jpgWhile the V70R power and poise are an amazing not to say ridiculous achievement, the company’s claim that the wagon is an M3 rival is proof positive that the marketing guys had too much lutefisk that day. Anyway, who cares? The M3 is at least $10K more expensive and can’t haul half as much butt as the Swedish Ford.  

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40 Comments on “Volvo V70R AWD Review...”

  • avatar

    I love Volvo’s R cars for the sheer “sleeper” factor. It’s even better in a wagon. No one expects a Volvo to smoke a WRX at a stoplight.

  • avatar

    I understand perfectly the need for this. It exists for the same reason as the BMW 540iT or the Audi S6. Some people need the practicality of a wagon, but still enjoy driving.

    Bravo to Volvo.

  • avatar

    I tried one of these a couple of years ago. Very comfy but I found the rear end to be very skittlish over bumps – not tied down at all. Various reviews in the UK said the same thing at the time – I wonder if they have now sorted it out as not mentioned here…

  • avatar

    I have an 007 V70R and I love it – it is a great car that has not reached the audience that it should have. It is a wonderful car to drive and to use every day. And the Q ship factor cannot be beat. The car’s devotees even have their own website: A wonderful and overlooked car. Lets hope Volvo does not give up on fun and brings back the R.

    Wasn’t MG’s tag line – safety fast? – works for me – I was not a Volvo driver before this, but they know how to build a driver’s car.

    And anybody who found the car skittish – they are right with the stock Pirelli tires – they are not good tires for this car – any other rubber will help a lot in the stability department.

    The V70R is dead – long live the V70R!

  • avatar

    Please save your comments about Volvo’s decision to kill R-badged models until this afternoon’s editorial.


  • avatar

    I was also disappointed to hear these cars were canceled. I would rather they have fixed the steering which is, as the review says, way too numb for this car, or perhaps any car. Sadly, numb steering is part of Volvo’s brand DNA. Just drive a S40 and a Mazda3 back-to-back: same situation in the small Volvo.

    I’ve personally considered picking up one of these for the simple reason that the selection of fun-to-drive vehicles with both three rows of seats (dealer installed option here) and a manual transmission are limited. Apparently it’s about to get even more limited.

    My price comparison and reliability site’s page for the S60 and V70:

  • avatar

    volvo wants to be in the party with bohemia or swarowsky crystal, yet comes to it in GAP dresscode. so to say, not the worst case. yet not the best. volvos interiors still suffer british like averageness. the shape and precision of buttons, sophistication of lines is also lacking. and these air conditioner buttons are a bit old style. we want digital screens. we want chrome accents. we want immersed buttons. brits also put wood veneer,and leather yet succed in style of 90ies. today is 2007. look at lexus. carved, extra precise finish. gapless. small, yet vivid run against audi you need superbly precise moulds, not just `wrap guys everything with leather, so they wouldn`t see the gray plastic`. even soft plastic can give expensive looks. infiniti, acura, for example, honda as well.dashboard gauges are beautiful, so go on with it in the rest of the car. and the volvo is not a swedish ford. it`s swedish mazda. let`s be honest. don`t steal japanese achievements. why should we need a 300hp wagon? so the potatoes that you haul from your grandmothers garden, could levitate in antigravity, when you put pedal to the metal. so your st. bernard could have a matrix like floating in air trying to dock with mothership or safety grille behind your rear you could make martinis in your car well shaked, not stirred. and while cornering some nurburgring -like serpent , you could make your mother in law print her face akin to jim carrys rubberface right into tinted doorglass. it`s a typical german niche. like a crack niche between your buns. small ,yet persuasive.and not for everybody.

  • avatar

    Fanstastic sleeper car, and I’d take it in the color-combo shown in the pics. Gorgeous.

  • avatar

    I test drove a V70-XC in 2001. It was amazing. The engine, the seats, the ride…it was all top notch.

    Volvo’s instrument clusters are the one and only ingredient in the recipe that really bother me. I’m a bit surprised nobody else talks about this. I’m not sure I can put into words what is wrong with them….but IMHO, they just don’t do the rest of the car justice.

    Am I way off base here? Is it just a simple case of my taste buds not being in sync with Volvo/Saab dash-design teams?

  • avatar

    I’m disappointed in the decision to suspend the R models – the 850R in my past was a great car – extremely fast yet it didn’t advertise it to the world. Steering was light then as it is now, but you could still throw it into corners at unbelievably high speeds (for a front wheel drive 4 door sedan). However it did have a ride harsher than the Porsche I had at the time, and the climate control was a bit annoying (typical 850 condenser issues) so I moved on, though I still wonder if that was the right move – the R’s are excellent cars. The S60R is on my list for the next time around, used, of course.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    The R models are most likely the finest car Volvo has built. The problem is they do not fit the mission of the marque; it is like Lexus building the finest floor lamp ever conceived: the product is excellent, but not central to the mission of selling a Lexus.

  • avatar

    Avoiding the “killing of the R-badged Vovlos” for now, I’ll just say that I wish the US got more tuned wagons such as the V70R. For those who need a family carrier, there aren’t many fun-to-drive vehicles out there to begin with (as Karesh noted above). I enjoy driving way to much to ever buy a minivan/XUV/CUV, whatever craptastic nomenclature the marketing folks opt for. The V70R is a niche vehicle, but it is a niche that is sorely underrepresented here in the US. What I would give for an M3 wagon!!

  • avatar

    Alex – you are right – Volvo has to keep their eye on their brand and that is safety number 1. But everyone is stealing that thunder. I think safety fast can broaden and deepen their brand, without diminishing it.

    Harry Beckwith is a business author who has written some of the best guides to making customers happy and branding. In his latest book – You, Inc. he advises people not to think outside their box, but make their box bigger.

    I think Volvo should make their box bigger and I think the V70R did that. No one else makes a wagon that is as practical and as performance oriented. If not Volvo, who? I think the V70R can be part of the Volvo brand. But they have to market it intelligently and make it fit with their overall brand.

  • avatar

    My very first car purchase was an ’83 245 Turbo in 1996; I was 18. I got a lot of good natured flak for choosing what seemed like such a boring, ubiquitous car, but it didn’t take long for friends and strangers alike to start commenting how good it looked (the blackout trim and alloy wheels went a long way) and/or just how surprisingly quick it was (BMW and VW drivers, especially)

    It had tons of cargo space (it was the only car I’d ever seen that could swallow the Leslie speaker from a Hammond organ and still have room for two), and the interior was surprisingly durable (leather held up well, seat heaters still worked, carpeting in the rear stood up to constant abuse)

    It was a very useful car, that at the same time was a phenomenally enjoyable car to drive. Rear wheel drive, stick, firm suspension, great torque, surprising horsepower for the era. And being 18, its inherent Volvoness was much appreciated.

    I guess I don’t understand why Volvo’s sport wagons are (were?) seen as an oxymoron… I’ve always found them to be possibly the best real-world car choice out there (at least up until Subaru took the torch in that segment)

  • avatar

    “pin the labradors to the back window” there’s my laugh of the day!(multiple dog owning wagon driver)

  • avatar
    Jim H

    I guess I’m not understanding the analogy of a condom and a porn star…seems those two are perfect matches for each other. For a car who’s reputation has been safety, doesn’t this seem like a perfect fit? Sure does to me.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    I owned an 95 850 turbo. Bought it with 112k on the clock for 3350 in about 2004 (a true steal). Drove it till I took it too fast around a turn, hit wet leaves, and spun it. A log came up underneath and slammed the front air dam over the corner of the frame. I then proceeded to drive it home and continue driving it, with a tweaked frame, for 4 months.

    The car was incredible for 95. 222 HP and 220 torque that came on around 2000-2500 rpms. The leather was almost new, interior had a few broken pieces but the materials themselves were still new looking and feeling. The engine ran hard and strong.

    The S60R and V70R are extensions of that old car, with alot of improvements. Volvo was putting max torque output at 335i levels before direct injection became popular and with 1/2 a liter less; and they were matching it to a reasonable-weight car. Sure, the inline 5 will never match the inline 6 for smoothness or song; but damn, what an engine.

    Volvo does damp the heck out of their steering; they try to remove all kickback from steering which manages drivetrain as well; in the effort, they remove most feel. If you are an 8/10ths driver (which I am in most cars) then a volvo can be an exhilirating experience. The lack of steering feel will hinder confidence when you truly start to explore the outer edges of the traction galaxy…

    I have not yet driven an S60R…but I think it might make a fine car for my wife. Due to Volvo’s initial depreciation, a 2-3 year old model starts to become truly attractive. They’re reliability is in question though, in my mind.


  • avatar

    I’ve put 32000 miles on a 2004 S60R and loved most of them. It is my 3rd turbo Volvo – starting with an ’84 244 with intercooler. The intervening 20 years of development cured the original appetite for turbocharger bearings. The only remaining gripes about the R for daily use are its tight ground clearance ($200 for an exhaust bracket, courtesy of a badly-designed public parking ramp), and a turning circle worthy of Princess Cruises. 27 mpg at a steady 80 mph and A/C that can cope with 104 degree heat without budging the engine temp gauge make it a great cruiser. Even in red, the brats in coffee-can Acuras ignore it until they’re shrinking in the rearview. I hope it lasts a long time if there’s no worthy successor.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    red60r – what a great point; and a surprising one not mentioned in the above review.

    I recently drove a friend’s 99 S80….it was damn near impossible to pull into a wide open parking spot in one turn due to the ridiculous detents in the steering.

    A steering circle truely worthy of scorn; nothing frustrates your desire for european cars more than the feeling that this car would never navigate a european city :)


  • avatar

    I agree, the R series cars’ most impressive feature is the interior detailing. One I looked at with a black leather steering wheel had this subtle (but elegant!) blue stitching…really top-drawer!

  • avatar

    Joe O:
    April 11th, 2007 at 11:15 am
    Due to Volvo’s initial depreciation, a 2-3 year old model starts to become truly attractive. They’re reliability is in question though, in my mind.

    And there’s the catch-22 – their value sinks like a stone right after purchase, so I’d never buy a new one. But their reliability has never been the best (and repair costs at the dealer are steep), so a used one becomes a questionable purchase for those of us who aren’t handy (or care to fuss with such things).

  • avatar

    Perhaps if they put the damn model on their website they would get a little more interest!
    I cannot find a way to build an “R”

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    I believe poor marketing had a great deal to do with the poor sales. The R model represents a good value for money when you consider the features over the T5 model: full leather upholstery, lightly modified interior that fixed the cheapness afflicting the lower models, AWD, adjustable suspension, etc. The death of the specific R line is not a bad thing if Volvo integrates some of these features and lessons learned into the rest of their lineup.

  • avatar

    Besides the reputation for ongoing problems and expensive costs (and recent dropping of free routine maintenance during warranty), the biggest problem is that the V70Rs are too unavailable. I tried for about a year to get to test drive one, but the dealer never had one. He did get an 80R once, but that wasn’t the model I was interested in.

    At well over $40k, it was hard to think of a purchase without even a round-the-block drive.

  • avatar

    As Robert says, Volvo have a very strong and clear brand – “safety”. They should play to it and nothing else. Volvo has something extremely rare, called “integrity”. That means doing the right thing when no one is looking (or realizes).

    Here’s an example. Very few people realize that the lower outboard seatbelt mount position is important. Mount it on the floor as in most cars then when the seat is positioned forward for a shorter driver the lap belt portion will ride up over your abdomen, instead of across your lap. In an accident this mispositioning can lead to severe internal injuries. I also personally find it annoyingly uncomfortable to drive with the belt like this (I’m 5’9″).

    The solution is to anchor the belt on the seat, so no matter where the seat is the belt is correctly positioned. This can be done with a bolt at the rear base of the seat, as in the Lotus Elise, Smart car and the Saab 9-3, or, better, through a slot mounted on the side of the seat next to your hip (SAAB 9-5, Volvo S-40, S-60 and S-80, Acura RL, Acura NSX, VW Toureg, Audi A4). My own drive, a 1989 Acura Legend Coupe gets around the problem of not being able to mount the belt on the seat in a coupe (it would make access to the rear sear difficult) with a kind of semi rigid positioner that locates the lap belt perfectly.

    Curious about the new Volvo C30 I found mention of their seatbelts – the lower mount is a sliding bar that runs along the base of the door (similar to a late 90’s Audi A4) – which provides good positioning while getting around the access problem in a 2 door. So Volvo did the right thing with regards to seatbelt design even though I’m probably the only person in the world who realizes. That’s integrity.

    Volvo’s biggest challenge are the horrendous reliability reports haunting them on the internet, not to mention lowly JD Power results. That is what is steering me away from recommending an S80 to my mother (I’m suggesting an Acura RL instead). I believe that if Volvo can start making reliable cars while otherwise devoting themselves entirely to “safety” – and touting it tirelessly – then they will have a very strong market position. I could see them being the kind of “anti car” you get when you are fed up with all the marketing and disposable fashion driven cars that are pushed down people’s throats, a company with a deep emphasis on engineering that true afficionados respond to. Driving enjoyment is important (a recent S40 I test drove felt like a truck), but that can surely be addressed through suspension and steering design. Extremely stiff body structures are necessary for both crash protection and good handling, so there is no innate reason why a Volvo shouldn’t drive well.

    If Jaguar could go from being a reliability joke (even laymen know enough to avoid a used Jaguar) to the top 10 in JD Power then Ford has the know how in house to fix Volvo’s reliability problems. As for steering and suspension design, I understand Proton is looking to sell Lotus, so they could be bought to inject that expertise into Volvo.

  • avatar
    XYGTHO Phase3

    You didn’t mention anything about the sound system in the car – I drove an S40 T4 a few years back and was absolutely blown away by the fantastic sound system. Led Zep turned up to 11 never sounded so good.

    I can only assume that they haven’t gone backwards in this department – if they have it’s a damn shame…

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    I myself drove a Volvo V70-R station-wagon, as much as could be, for a week, in the fall of 2005. The automatic seemed to have a lot of problems upshifting; don’t have my notes handy, but seem to recall manumatic capability. However, even in the M-mode, that V70-R seemed to hesitate on the upshift.

    I had an ASE-certified technician I know (and former Dodge Viper and now M-B SLK AMG owner) take the thing out for a spin, with me in the passenger’s seat. Like me, he liked the looks of the car; but he thought that, simply put, “This tranmission sucks!”

    So maybe Volvo’s lack of budging folks out of their BMWs and other German machines is as much Volvo’s fault, as any sense of Deutschland ubber Alles.

    After all, you really can have as much fun wearing a condom, as without (my perhaps vain attempt to follow up on your lede). Like another person posting here said, borrowing that great old MG line: Safety fast!

  • avatar
    Paul Milenkovic

    One item that comes up time and again is the matter of over power-assisted steering which does not give much in the way of road feel.

    What I want to know is the tradeoff between less boosted steering and having a good highway cruiser? There is nothing that bugs me more on a long trip than to be constantly applying a steering correction the whole way, either as a result of road crown or the prevailing westerlies or the alignment out of wack. The car doesn’t have to be so messed up that it pulls, but on a lot of cars if the alignment isn’t perfect, you are more sensitive to this sideways forces on the car.

    Yeah, yeah, wheel alignments and finding a shop that knows how to do them and compensate for the normal road crown, but when the local roads look like Craters of the Moon National Park, and I really try to avoid the biggest potholes but how long does a wheel alignment, or even a tire rotation last?

    My experience with the family fleet is that overboosted cars (Camry) are less fatiguing over the road while underboosted ones (96 Taurus) you get a crick in your arms on a long trip or you have to prop the wheel with your knee to get any relief.

  • avatar

    Problem with Volvo is not with their cars. Its with their pricing. Saab suffers from same affliction. Drop the price and they will sell like crazy.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    There is only so much space in a review, to talk about everything would mean pages and pages of boring dribble.

    The sound system is typical Volvo: almost perfect. The Dolby Pro Logic II system has good balance and good range with the factory subwoofer (optional), the only thing lacking is a slight weak spot between the mid/low frequencies which I could not nail down. The Sirius radio works well and is well integrated, the 6 CD changes offers speedy CD changes and the control layout is very logical in the 2005+ models. iPod integration is lacklustre with it emulating a 10 CD changer. Third party modules allow the iPod to emulate a Sirius module and thereby provide text information on the head unit.

    The transmissions have been a Volvo weak point in the past with the Aisin Warner 5 speed being unable to handle the massive low end torque the R engine produces (the same amount as the brand new BMW M3 it should be noted) so the 2004-2005 models were limited to 250 ft lbs of torque in first and second gear. In 2006 the problem was solved with a brand new Aisin Warner TF-SC80 6 speed automatic with no torque limits. The manual transmission (a Getrag unit) which is a great transmission was never limited as it was designed specifically for the R models. 2006 and 2007 models also received a revised AWD unit with Haldex “Instant Traction” which reduces the time required to transfer power and holds some torque in reserve in a rather unique way.

    Perhaps this could have been a better winner if Volvo had spent less money making the R model different and offered it as a “package” on the regular model and had focused the extra cash on rear thorax airbags.

  • avatar

    I saw one of these on the way into work this morning merging like an angry bull onto I75. Like all wagons with balls, it made me smile. I’m glad I won’t have to settle for a minivan someday. Wagons are the new ‘camino as far as i’m concerned. cool stuff.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Totally agree murphysamber…wagons are hot, minivans are not, and SUVs just suck (gasoline). :)

  • avatar

    Sounds like a fantastic vehicle, but as RF said so eloquently in his editorial: what the hell is the point?

    Maybe they should’ve changed the sheet metal and made this the X-type wagon…

  • avatar

    This is not an M3 beater, not even close.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Audi A6 Avant Wagon was in a very similar place not too long ago. An excellent combination of fun ad practicality but (gasp!) I can’t spend THAT much for a wagon!

    Personally, I prefer hatchbacks and wagons over anything else in the market.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Sat in one of these at the Colorado Springs autoshow (hope you didn’t spit any water on the monitor there…yes, we actually had one this year!). Man was it comfy inside. Obviously, I couldn’t drive it, but for the dollar, it appeared solid, well built, amazingly comfortable, and great visibility…and it’s damn fast (according to this article! :) ) It had respectable gas mileage for 300hp.

    Note that the AWD BMW at $10K higher felt better…but that’s $10K! I also thought the new S40 turbo AWD was amazing for the price. Again, I couldn’t drive it, but first impressions were very good. I hear it has bad turbo lag. Bummer.

    Overall, I was impressed with Volvo, Acura, and Lexus. Mercedes, Audi, and BMW blew me out of the water. It comes back to this…maybe I could take a second job to afford one. :)

  • avatar
    Pelle Schultz

    I have an ’04 V70R, and I’d have to say this review is spot-on. Overall, I applaud Volvo’s efforts with this model and I’ve been very happy with mine: a unique, versatile and powerful car that I’m happy to drive every day. I can put my 3 kids in the back seat and still leave 90% of the Audis, BMWs and Mercedes I run into sniffing fumes.

    But a very important point here is that Volvo did not invest sufficiently in the development of the R models, and then didn’t support them with good marketing and dealer training. The compromises present in the design are obvious: the numb steering, the cheapness of some of the interior materials (thankfully recitified on Volvo’s newer models), and the unsettled and sometimes unpredictable nature of 4C.

    I will also say that every experience I have had with the dealer (from whom I will never purchase antoher vehicle) has been at best like getting teeth pulled and at worst like electric shocks to the sensitive bits. The car has been reliable, but even getting things like known fixes for certain flaws in the design–for which I’ve gone so far as to print out tech bulletins with Volvo part numbers and take them to the dealer–has been extremely difficult.

    I’m a big supporter of halo cars, but they should be done right. The latest R series never made more than 80% of the way there.

    FYI: Ford had nothing to do with this car.

  • avatar

    Thankfully, the new V70 looks better from the side. The tailgate is more upright than on the V50, but still slightly angled Volvo tie rods. The wheelbase has been increased by 8 cm to 284 cm, which contributes to the powerful silhouette.

  • avatar

    I own a 2007 V70 R and love it. I like the sleeper factor it has. Nobody expects it to be as fast as it is. A friend of mine has a WRX and keep calling my car a grocery getter, but all I can say is bring it on!! With some recent upgrades I’m putting 349 HP to the wheels and 347 on torque. Not too bad for a grocery getter!

  • avatar
    Bunk Moreland

    About a week ago I was driving by an imported car joint and spotted a silver 2005 S60R. six-speed. I parked my trusty Civic and went in for a closer look. the salesman eyed me and asked if I wanted to take it for a test-drive. He didn’t know the car had Brembos, told me that the rust could be painted over, and thought the car had 400hp. When I informed him it was 100hp lighter than his guesstimate, he said, “Oh I got it confused with the M5 we’ve got over there.” Yep, confusing an S60R with an M5 happens to just about… nobody.

    Regardless of the glaring ignorance, we took the turbo-charged S60 out for a spin. The car was slower than I expected. On the upside it felt sturdy as a tank. My Civic could handle far better than it, which surprised me. But then again, the Honda weighs about as much as a sandal, and it’s pretty easy to make tight turns when you consider 80mph to be “pushing it.”

    But I digress. The S60R is not on the level of anything else out there. It is a punchier Volvo, that’s all. Fun? Nope. The sleeper factor is incredible. The only way I can tell is by the front end and larger wheels. A very good looking car. Very comfortable. I like it. But if you want AWD and a kick, get a WRX.

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