Volvo S60 is an exhilarating, well-balanced drive
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2011 Volvo S60 AWD midsize luxury sedan. DOWN THE ROAD: Redesigned with a boost in horsepower, the S60 is a fun car to pitch through corners on even the most challenging roads. Reassuring brakes, solid steering feel and inspired handling ensure your safety in this all-wheel-drive ride. TECH & PERFORMANCE: Power is derived from a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 cylinder engine, which puts out 300 horsepower (up from previous 208 and 258 hp versions) @ 5600 rpm and 325 pounds-feet of torque @ 2100 rpm. It is mated to a crisp-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. A front MacPherson strut and an independent rear multilink suspension handle the bumps of rough surfaces with little sacrifice to the back side. Further contributing to the soft and comfortable ride is a variable power-assist rack and pinion steering system. Thanks to the standard City Safety feature, the S60 applies brakes automatically to avoid a rear-end collision. The car remains stable under heavy braking as the 12.4-inch front and 11.9-inch rear discs exhibit immense stopping power. LOOK & FEEL: The S60 acquires LED front headlights flanking a mesh grille with familiar Volvo iron mark to portray a confident and athletic stance. The interior radiates both elegance and simplicity, especially the center console panel to operate audio, navigation, telephone and other functions. The watch-dial instrument panel of speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature readings, along with driver information center, is logically laid out. Aluminum inlays on dashboard, steering wheel and doors give the S60 a rich feel. Other standard amenities include a three-spoke tilt/telescopic steering column, dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver seat with memory, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, high-definition radio and auxiliary/USB inputs.SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, front-seat active head restraints, whiplash protection system, collapsible steering column, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard. OUT THE DOOR: $37,700, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P235/40R18; wheelbase, 109.3 inches; length, 182.2 inches; weight, 3,901 pounds; fuel capacity, 17.8 gallons; city, 18 mpg; highway, 26 mpg; Web site, www.volvocars.com/us WHY DIG IT: The exciting and well-balanced S60 displays remarkable agility and grip. Volvo's renowned safety features make it a no-brainer.