New 2019 Volvo S60 revealed - T8 Polestar model coming, but UK will have to wait
Volvo’s new S60 compact executive 3-series rival is aiming for the mainstream, ‘Polestar Engineered’ T8 hybrid model also coming
Volvo’s expansive, expensive assault on the premium car sector has just revealed its secret weapon, the new Volvo S60 saloon. Despite the market’s increasing transition to SUVs, the not-so-humble compact executive saloon is still the source of serious profit for manufacturers, so it comes as no surprise to see the new S60 is aiming right at the jugular of its established German rivals.
Based on the attractive V60 estate, the S60 4-door trades the estate’s boxy body for a more traditional saloon silhouette. In a move away from other saloons on the market, Volvo has opted to apply a very traditional three-box shape for the new S60, which should see benefits in rear headroom if little else. As with all of Volvo’s recent models, the sleek Scandinavian-cool design language dominates the bodywork, it’s awash with sleek, sophisticated surfacing paired with sharp detailing. It’s bang up to date, and will definitely appeal against the myriad of identical-looking BMW 3-series, Merc C-classes and Audi A4s on the road.
The interior is also shared with other Volvos, revealing a sophisticated design language majoring in minimalist shapes and pared-back surfacing all underpinned by excellent build quality and materials. So far, so Volvo, but the new S60 will need to be at the top of its game to succeed rivalling its German competition, and the bad news for Volvo is that it appears to be launching the new S60 with one hand tied behind its back.
That’s because the new Volvo S60 will not be sold with any diesel engines, not necessarily an issue for the evo-inclined, but a problem when appealing to the company car buyers who make up a big percentage of compact exec sales. Despite Volvo’s diversion away from diesel, the main reasoning behind this move is centred around where the S60 will be produced, rather than a company-wide policy to prioritise hybrids.
With Volvo’s Swedish factories at full capacity thanks to the success of SUV models, the new S60 saloon will be manufactured in the USA, where diesel demand is low to non-existent. Not only that, the new S60’s production will initially be solely for US and Chinese consumption, meaning we’ll have to wait till next May for the attractive new model to reach the UK.
To compensate, the S60 will arrive in the UK with four turbocharged petrol engine options, two of which will be augmented with plug-in hybrid systems. They’ll be made up of T4 and T5 petrols, and T6 and T8 Twin-Engine hybrids. All of the petrol engines will power the front wheels, with both hybrid models also powering the rear-axle electrically.
There is one silver lining to consider, however, as the S60 will be the first Volvo to take advantage of Polestar’s hybrid tech development and a ‘Polestar Engineered’ T8 will eventually top the range with a 408bhp combined power figure. This model is unlikely to rival M3s and C63s, but depending on its price point, could be an interesting alternative to mid-table performance compact execs like the Audi S4 and Mercedes-AMG C43. This may sound a little rich for a manufacturer who’s recent USP has been building ostensibly comfort-oriented models, but with Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson claiming that the new S60 will be “one of the most exciting Volvo cars we’ve ever made” and “a true driver’s car”, we may just be seeing a step change for the company.
Prices have not been set, but we’d bet on a circa £30k starting price for the entry-level T4, with prices rising to around £50k for top-end T8 models.