Looking at all the safety bling* that Volvo bakes into the S60 T6 AWD, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s no fun to drive. However you’d be very wrong.
We’ll talk more about the big engine in another article. For now, let’s focus on the repercussions of that much temptation. We had the S60 in the country over the holidays for two weeks and passed plenty of folks in the ditch.
The 2011 S60 is a very pretty machine and – don’t know why – sitting behind the wheel makes you want to go fast. Its low nose slides elegantly upwards, creating an aerodynamic low centre gravity. Take all that into corners at speed and it just swallows them, even on snow.
But in case it didn’t, a matrix of safety is there, invading your reality.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is a smart feature every driver could live with. Cameras pointed behind trip small lights in your rearview mirrors when another vehicle approaches your blind spot. The lights remain on until the other car’s safely out of range. Here in Ontario, we’re blessed with millions of clowns who pace you for minutes in your blind spot. Over the holidays, if it weren’t for BLIS, we may have lost a couple.
Driver Alert Control annoys you into the awareness that you’ve crossed lanes erratically. It dampens the stereo then bleats the famous first 6 notes of the William Tell Overture which you instinctively want to complete. (Maybe the riff actually is intentional? It’s at its most useful when you’re a lone ranger and the mind is wandering.)
Bending xenon lights point where you’re turning before you get there. A cool feature but no screaming hell in a well-lit city. In the country after dark in winter, it’s a good friend.
You can all turn these features off – but maybe leave them and push the S60 a little. As I intimated, we’ll talk more about this car, contrasting its performance with another. Unplanned, we also happened to have the 2004 model over the holidays. The in-laws were away, so my wife appropriated it – all in the name of responsible journalism.
As driven: $60,472.20
* The DAC, BLIS, and bending lights are not standard.