New Volvo S60 and XC60 Bring Tech Upgrades

Sections: Chassis, Infotainment, Powertrain

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The Volvo S60 R-Design

Volvo’s S60 R-Design was among the new S60 and XC60 models that made their international debut at the New York International Auto Show. All the “60 Cluster” cars feature several tech upgrades not just inside the interior, but in the powertrain and suspension as well, Volvo says. (Photo courtesy Volvo Cars North America.)

Volvo unveiled its newest iterations of the S60 and XC60 in regular and R-Design form at the New York International Auto Show last week, and they’re chock-full of tech upgrades.

According to the press release from Volvo, there are upgraded tech features not just in the interior, but in the chassis and powertrain tuning, as well.

Primary among the interior upgrades of the “60 Cluster” cars is the addition of Sensus Connected Touch on both models, which “turns the seven-inch touchscreen into a state-of-the-art infrared, beam-scanned touch screen that can be used even when wearing gloves,” the release said. We told you about this capability some time ago.

Sensus Connected Touch also allows for full 3G/4G internet connectivity that will enable full browsing abilities when not driving, or can summon streamed content from the web, Google Maps and Search results, traffic information, and more.

The cars’ thin-film transistor (TFT) display will have three modes, according to the release:

The Elegance theme offers a more traditional appearance.

The Eco theme features green background illumination, designed to create an environmentally inspired look. An Eco meter is displayed on the left. The current and accumulated fuel consumption figures are displayed – and the driver is rewarded with a green E light when eco-driving is optimal.

The Performance theme has red background illumination, creating a sporty atmosphere. In the center, a rev counter scale replaces the speedometer displayed in the Elegance and Eco versions. Vehicle speed is shown digitally in the center of the display. The right display includes a power meter – a gauge that informs the driver how much power is available and how much power is being used at any given moment in time.

The transmission also got some tech attention, firstly in the form of paddle shifters, and secondly in the form of Advanced Quick Shift (AQS) technology. AQS “is transmission optimization software that improves the speed of each gear change,” Volvo says. Now available on all T6 engines and active when the transmission’s Sport or Manual modes are selected, AQS increases the speed of gear changes “by as much as 50% between first and second, and as much as 30% on gear changes two through six,” the release said. This results in faster 0-60 times, as Volvo explained:

Zero to 60 improves 0.2 seconds on the S60 T6 AWD – from 5.8 to 5.6 on model year 2014 with AQS – while the XC60 T6 AWD runs 0.4 seconds faster – 6.9 to 6.5 seconds on model year 2014 with AQS – compared to model year 2013

Another tech upgrade is the cornering light, an addition to Volvo’s Active Bending Light System that “lights up the area the driver is steering towards for safer maneuvering – for instance, when turning into a small road or driving through a narrow gateway at night,” the release said.

Volvo said R-Design-specific tech upgrades to the S60 include a chassis that has been lowered 15 millimeters with 15% stiffer springs, while the rear suspension gets monotube dampers for faster response. Suspension bushings front and rear are stiffened, and a front shock tower brace is added to further improve the R-Design models’ handling over the regular S60. The XC60 gets its own stiffer suspension tuning “than the standard car and has more dynamic driving properties – without compromising ride comfort,” according to a second release about the R-Design models.

Finally, the R-Design models make use of a full suite of traction control features, as outlined in the release:

Just like in the standard variants, a range of electronic systems that sharpen the sporty driving experience backs up the chassis in the R-Design cars.

Corner Traction Control, which uses torque vectoring to provide for smoother cornering, is now also standard on the XC60. The DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) system also has several other functions that improve driving and safety properties, such as:

  • Advanced Stability Control. With a gyroscopic roll-angle sensor the anti-spin system can deploy faster and with greater precision.
  • Engine Drag Control prevents the wheels from losing their grip during engine braking on a slippery surface.
  • The DSTC system also has a sports setting that makes it possible for the driver to disable the anti-spin function.

Volvo said it expects around 10% of buyers to choose the R-Design versions of the S60 and XC60.

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