The R-Design skunkworks team stiffened the S60 and V60's chassis and suspension to achieve desired results, mainly in the form of a more responsive ride. The front and rear springs are 15 millimeters shorter and 15-percent stiffer than the standard S60 and V60 but Volvo says the balance between handling and civil road manners haven't been compromised. Out back, the rear monotube dampers are matched with bushings that are 20 percent harder than normal. The front tie-blade bushing is 400 percent stiffer to help keep the wheels in contact with the road while reducing unwanted pitch and roll. Beneath the hood, Volvo has fitted a strut bar to link the front strut towers.
"Refining a chassis is a bit like being an athlete looking to break new records. Once you're beaten one record, you're immediately focused on the next. In the R-Design chassis we've sharpened the steering, the agility and the solid overall impression still further compared with the dynamic chassis in the all-new S60 and V60," says Stefan Sällqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars. "The driving experience should be so connected and compact that it feels as though the car has been milled out of a single block of aluminum."
The R-Design modifications build on the S60 and V60's already comprehensive driving package, which include features such as Dynamic Chassis, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Corner Traction Control with Torque Vectoring, and Speed-Sensitive Steering with Driver Selectable Settings. An adjustable Four-C option, which stands for Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept, costs $750.
In addition to the positive handling changes, the Volvo exteriors get touched up with new 18-inch wheels, redesigned front valences, and new-look rear diffusers. Inside, an R-Design steering wheel, shifter, pedals, and seating upholstery set up shop.
Unfortunately, we don't have our hopes up for the V60 hitting our shores anytime soon. The Swedish wagon will formally debut at the Paris Motor Show.
The United States-spec S60 is currently powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six developing 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four could be in the S60's future, although it hasn't been officially confirmed yet.