The S60 T8 is made for the city. Its electric propulsion and superb cockpit provides a pampering driving experience. It feels light and super rapid in the city, with a motor driven kind of effortlessness that is unmatched by its petrol only competition.
Despite running on a pure mechanical system, the ride is plush, has a good firm and is noticeably well tuned for most conditions. It feels well put together and actually enjoyable when driving in the urban, definitely better than the highly strung 330i M Sport and closer to the Airmatic C300.
S60 T8 R Design
4.4secs / 407hp & 640nm total / 320hp & 400nm 2L 4cyl turbo / 87hp & 240nm electric motor / 8 speed automatic / 1,960kg / 250kmh / RM295,888.00
Not exactly the 400hp sports sedan you’d hope for it to be. Fast yes, quick for sure, especially when launched from standstill. The hefty S60 T8 even leapfrogs off the line like a hot hatch Golf 7.5R would, with full and instant torque from zero, via all wheel traction as the 320hp / 400nm turbo engine turn the front wheels and the 87hp / 240nm electric motor turn the rears.
There is a lot of g force when accelerating from standstill, neck breaking, stick to the seat kind. Much more than the 330i and the C300 for sure, C43 even. But the full 400hp / 640nm hybrid surge diminishes quick as the speed climbs so that’s a bit of an anti climax. This electric boost is supplied mostly at the low end.
When driven enthusiastically, most of the heavy lifting is done by the S60 T8’s 2L turbo engine. It is also the most powerful on paper at 320hp / 400nm but the delivery of it still seem to lack against the sportier, smoother BMW B48 2L turbo in the 330i despite its 258ps state of tune.
On its own without the hybrid assistance, say uphill Genting Highlands, the S60 T8 can feel weighty, but the trade off is it’s got plenty down below and there is always some form of hybrid assistance when starting form zero.
Superb interior, very refined. Easily beats the rest by a mile, not just visually or by perceived value, but also in ergonomics and usage. They’ve put plenty of effort in the leather upholstery and the results show. Most surfaces are well padded and then stitched to perfection.
It looks and feel more luxurious than the competition. There are real metal details here and there, quality buttons and knobs, even the indicator / wiper stalks feel well engineered. Almost make the 3 series interior seem like a Civic in comparison and the C-Class a Lexus. There’s a lot more to tinker with too, in the Volvo especially via the huge central touch screen with a no-frills user interface and options to change just about anything.
Another hallmark of the S60 T8 are the class crunching front seats. It has way more than enough adjustability and range to meet any demand and is hands down some of the most comfortable in the industry, lumbar support is second to none. Also has dedicated back support adjuster knob like the rest but one that actually makes a good difference.
At over 1,900kg, the S60 T8 manages its weight very well in general. The robust mechanical suspension provides leveled, firm and well damped ride which almost negates the need for an adaptive system.
When coupled with 4WD and the combined 400hp at hand, the instantaneous S60 T8 can even shame hot hatches and slay just about any sedan in stop go town driving or toll plaza battles.
Right up till the fast mountain curves, is where the S60 T8’s athleticism start to taper off. The single mode, fixed steel spring and hydraulic shock underpinning which felt superb for the city, cant seem to disguise its weight just as well when pushed on challenging terrains.
As a fast compact executive, it offers a pleasurable driving experience up the mountain roads, like an energetic limo almost. However, in terms of speed and grip, the weighty S60 T8 will not be able to compete against the likes of Sporty 3 and even Premium C.
On the topic of enthusiastic hill driving, there are noticeably more turns in the S60 T8’s steering as well, which when negotiating a series of tight bends can feel cumbersome to maneuver. It’s not sporty in any way but the physical steering wheel is pretty to look at, feels great to hold, is light and easy in operation, very much made for the city.
Perhaps the least interesting aspect of the S60 T8 is its gearbox. The 8 speed automatic is smooth, fast enough and dependable. There’s nothing actually wrong here, except if you’re looking for something more advanced, seamless, quick or explosive, you won’t find it here. Paddle shifters save the day and live up to the action.
Looks great, bold physique, aggressive front end, quite likely the handsomest Volvo sedan at the moment.
Will be hard for potential buyers to choose between this and the just as fresh, 330i M Sport.
Muscular, but has a compact overall build, short front rear overhangs and actually looks smaller in real life. Good size nonetheless
1 – Power 7/10
2 – Drive 8/10
3 – Handling 6.5/10
4 – Steering 6.5/10
5 – Transmission 6.5/10
6 – Cockpit 8.5/10
7 – Interior 8.5/10
8 – Exterior 8/10
9 – Tech 8/10
0 – Desirability 7.5/10
4WD T8 Twin Engine:
– 320hp / 400nm
– 2L 4cyl turbo & supercharger
– 87hp / 240nm electric motor
– Integrated starter generator motor
– Full EV range of 49km
– 3.7kW on board charger
– 11.6kWh li-ion battery
– Engine power the front wheels
– Electric motor power the rear wheels
– Based on Volvo’s latest SPA platform
– R-Design bumper with smoked foglights
– R-Design black front grille
– LED headlights + Thor’s hammer DRL
– 19″ 5 spoke wheels with 235/40 tyres
– Harman Kardon 600W 14-speaker system
– 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display
– R-Design 3-spoke steering wheel
– R-Design seats in Charcoal leather/Nubuck
– Dual-zone climate control
– Panoramic sunroof
– Park Assist Pilot / 360-degree view monitor
– R-Design pedals and shift lever
– Keyless entry and start
Fusion Red Metallic / Crystal White Pearl / Pebble Grey Metallic / Onyx Black Metallic / Birch Light Metallic