Volvo can be proud of its new high-performance four-cylinder. The 225 kW / 306 PS strong two-liter petrol engine in the mid-range estate V60 is sophisticated, powerful and not too thirsty. However, prospective buyers should perhaps still wait before signing the purchase contract.
It's not the engine's fault. The engine offered under the name T6 is the flagship of a new generation of modular four-cylinder diesels and four-cylinder petrol engines, which are already being used in numerous Swedish models and will replace all older four-, five- and six-cylinder engines in the future. The Swedes primarily want to reduce consumption by giving up displacement and cylinders. So that this does not come at the expense of performance, they pulled out all the stops in the T6 in the V60.
For example, in the four-cylinder, not only a turbocharger, as usual, provides pressure in the combustion chambers, but also a compressor, which also effectively plugs the turbo lag. Together, they powerfully pull the large station wagon from the depths of the engine room. The standard eight-speed automatic changes gears so attentively and light-footed that you feel floating as if on a steady, powerful torque flow. Whoever treats the accelerator pedal gently will hardly notice the process acoustically. The four-cylinder only gives a sonorous growl when it is pedaled more bravely. Performance and sophistication never give rise to the desire for an in-line six-cylinder. This is especially true when looking at the consumption display of the on-board computer. With a good nine liters, the V60 clearly misses the manufacturer's specification in the brochure (6,7 liters), but is still below the standard value of the still available six-cylinder V60.
Which brings us to the real problem of the car. Since 2010, Volvo has deliberately only offered the three-liter inline six-cylinder turbo mentioned above in combination with all-wheel drive. The new four-cylinder will inherit it in this configuration at the end of the year, but until then it will only be available with front-wheel drive. And can not fully convince. When starting off, the wheels storm forward so brilliantly that the rest of the load barely keeps up. The front axle also has to constantly wrestle with it in fast bends, as it should now combine throttle and steering commands. The drive influences in the steering and the traction problems noticeably cloud the otherwise sovereign driving impression of the V60.
What might still be okay with a compact riot case (there are now also in this performance league) leaves a slightly stale taste with a premium cruiser with a base price of 47.200 Euro. Perhaps Volvo should have held back its pride and waited until its engineers have completed the connection between the new T6 and all-wheel drive before launching it.
Of course, the customer does not have to take part in the advance and should wait for the four-wheel drive model. And until then, put aside the probably around 2.000 euro surcharge for the traction-promoting technology. The additional investment should be just as worthwhile as the basic stock: Because beyond the powertrain, the V60 T6 is a convincing car with neat, if not outstanding, space, extensive safety equipment, good suspension tuning and a chic design.
As it is, the V60 T6 sells under value. It shows what the engine developers of the Swedes can do, but is more a mobile feasibility study than a convincing offer in the premium middle class. In addition, Audis Quattro models, as well as the rear-wheel drive vehicles from BMW and Mercedes, are already heavily used in this performance league. Pride is not always a good guide.
Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X