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Volvo's S60 uses its unique powertrain range and standout cabin design and materials to stand out against premium-market benchmarks such as the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. (Volvo Cars)

What we're driving: 2019 Volvo S60 T6

As the sporting player in Volvo’s C-segment sedan lineup, this all-wheel drive, turbocharged-and-supercharged R-Design S60 faces benchmark competition in the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In pure performance, the stylish Swede stacks up nicely against the Germans: Its 316 hp (236 kW) pushes the 3,900 lb (1769 kg) car plus my 200-lb (91 kg) of dead weight from a standstill to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.5 s, according to my stopwatch. Dynamically, the S60 T6 (not my choice of nomenclature, as it’s a 4-cyl., not a six) feels solid and secure, if not exceptionally nimble, when pushed hard in the corners.

But where the S60 R-Design clearly beats the others is inside, the area where Volvo shows its taillamps to the other premium brands. The S60’s cabin is a beautifully integrated blend of rich materials and tasteful accents ─ brushed aluminum of the lower IP contrasting with deep ebony, offset by delightful-to-touch control knobs. The front seats are both handsome and comfortable. Rear-seat legroom is excellent, as my 37-in. (940-mm) inseam can attest.

The heavily-optioned test car’s $55,490 sticker included a $2,500 ‘Advanced Package’ with head-up display, full LED lighting with headlamp cleaning system and Volvo’s ‘Pilot Assist’ (SAE Level 2) automated driver-assistance system that generally behaved well on the open road. And while there’s still luxury and feature headroom in higher-priced S60 models (including the 400-hp/298-kW T8 plug-in-hybrid), I’d put my hard-earned kronors on the AWD T6 R-Design to strike the ideal balance in a premium sports sedan.


2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

Base price:         $40,300

As tested:           $55,490

Highs:                 Stellar interior execution

Lows:                  Does this engine really need two types of boosting?                 

The takeaway:  Classiest approach to a C-segment sports sedan.

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