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From luxury to driving dynamics, S60 has so much more to offer beyond a reputation for safety

The national character infused in a car is one of the more endearing traits enthusiasts tout when discussing automobiles. Traditionally, American cars, with their big V8s, soft suspensions and non-existent handling, were made for Interstate highway cruising. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Alfas and Fiats of Italy are compact, nimble and zippy, the better to navigate the autostradas with their sharp corners and treacherous elevation changes.

So what of Sweden, and its oddball automobiles? Once upon a time, they were durable, strong like oxen, but austere in a way that could only be engineered within the confines of a socialist welfare state, which subjugates individuality in the name of the collective good.


Eventually the “box on wheels” thing got old, and Volvos got a little more interesting. Along the way there were turbocharged variants of the 850, which were varying degrees of arousing, as well as the S60 and V70R, laden with goodies like turbochargers and adjustable shocks, but ineffectual in their quest to make a dent in the German heavyweights.

The eternal problem with sporty Volvos has been their resemblance to the well-known IKEA breakfast. Less expensive than its continental counterpart, it’s also not particularly flavorful and much of its appeal comes from sheer novelty. But if the old S60 was like the mealy, grey meatballs served by the flat pack furniture chain, the new 2011 model is like the Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon – a simple looking grey metal tube that is capable of destroying far superior weaponry.

Volvo’s marketing department has managed to obnoxiously insert the tagline “Naughty” into all of the S60’s marketing material. Obviously, this is a misnomer, as the S60 is so conservative looking that it makes a Brooks Brothers blazer look like an S&M gimp outfit. That’s not to say the S60 is an unattractive car, you just might have a hard time picking it out of a lineup.
Get more: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 Review at
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