Overview: Volvo’s strikingly good-looking sedan is the basis for the automaker’s first-ever long-wheelbase “Inscription” models; Audi allroad-esque Cross Country trims are reintroduced; fuel-thrifty turbocharged and supercharged/turbocharged engines continue.
Drivetrain: The 2.0-liter “Drive-E” four-cylinder engine makes 240-302 horses for front-wheel-drive models; inline five- and six-cylinder engines carry over in all-wheel-drive models.
Volvo’s owners in China have a slightly different vision of luxury than North Americans, it appears. While here the focus is generally on the driver, in China the focus is increasingly on making those perched in back feel like kings and queens. It therefore comes as no surprise that the first China-built Volvo to be sold in North America follows the same pattern. The S60 Inscription model has a wheelbase stretch of more than three inches, but otherwise uses the same T5-level engines and features as the regular S60. The new S60 Cross Country — basically an S60 sedan that offers nearly eight inches of ground clearance, standard AWD and 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder, and some off-road cues — only comes one way. All remaining S60 models carry over essentially unchanged, with five- and six-cylinder engines restricted to all-wheel drive, while four-cylinder engines are for the front-wheel-drive S60 sedan and platform-sharing V60 wagon. Both use Volvo’s in-house-developed Drive-E power systems. The turbocharged 2.0-liter S60 T5 makes 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, however in the T6 those ratings increase to 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. The T6’s added performance is derived from supercharging and turbocharging the engine. At low speeds the supercharger is strictly a solo act, but with increased velocity the turbocharger produces added boost. Comparatively, the carryover turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder in the T5 all-wheel-drive produces 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet, while the T6 AWD’s turbo-six-cylinder spools up to a maximum 325 horsepower and 354 pound-feed. An eight-speed automatic transmission directs torque for the front-drive T5 and T6. The transmission’s function is enhanced when the driver activates the ECO+ mode that’s standard with the Drive-E. The system adjusts the shift and throttle to optimal fuel-saving settings, disconnects the air conditioning and enhances the start/stop feature by also cutting out the engine at low speeds when coasting to a stop. Volvo states that ECO+ can improve overall fuel economy by as much as five percent, depending on climate conditions and driving style. Volvo’s Drive-E models will eventually encompass gas-electric hybrid and turbo-diesel spin-offs. For 2016, most models get different wheel designs, while the Platinum trim has been canned for both regular wheelbase T5’s.