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Volvo Rebel: S60 T6 R-Design

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Volvo Rebel: S60 T6 R-Design

The turbocharged, 325-hp S60 T6 R-Design does 0-60 mph in a Swedish heartbeat ... or 5.8 seconds.

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POSTED November 28, 2012 6:24 p.m.

The 2013 Volvo T6 R-Design is the top-end halo sedan with all-wheel drive "instant traction." And instant traction is good for this 325-horsepower, turbocharged inline six-cylinder with a healthy 345 foot-pounds of torque that pours out briskly from 3,000 to 3,600 rpm. Volvo says that translates to 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

You feel the power of this car with every push of the accelerator, yet the performance and ride quality are polished smooth by Volvo's motorsports partner Polestar. The enhancements are thorough and almost intuitive in how the mechanics merge with the organic to connect with the human behind the wheel.

There is no turbo lag -- none -- and the suspension moves with elegant precision. Performance is aggressive in standard drive mode, but slide the shifter left to sport and you'll learn the quickness of a Swedish heartbeat.

The steering stands out for light parking lot finesse and then for fast-track cornering. Blend that with braking and shifting, and the car envelops the driver to create a lively and memorable experience, giving a rich payback for the $48,000 starting price. Pricing includes free scheduled maintenance for three-years or 36,000 miles.

The S60 R-Design shows its street cred with an imposing lower front fascia and a grille painted in glossy piano black. There are color-matched body components, details in matte finish and a hexagonal pattern that is repeated front and rear. Integrated with the rear exhaust baffle are 3 1/2-inch twin pipes. The Continental ContiSportContact 3 tires have enough sidewall for comfort and the grip to control 3,835 pounds in a hot corner. The transmission shift points were honed for quicker response. But there are no steering wheel shifters, which some of us like. And try as I may, I couldn't get my Android phone to connect with the Bluetooth system.

And then there's the new Rebel Blue paint, which also could be French racing blue or Petty Blue. It works on this model, the only one on which it's available.

There were more than a dozen small enhancements for 2013, including a front disc brake upgrade from 12.4 inches to 13.2 inches and a gearshift knob that is clear and lighted to show the drive modes.

Standard equipment includes intelligent key entry and push-button start, 7-inch color monitor, power glass moonroof, eight-way power front seats with lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone connection, 60/40 folding rear seats, power folding rear headrests, eight-speaker audio system with HD radio and USB-Aux inputs.

All this in a family sedan with good backseat room, folding seatback and a useable trunk.

At the L.A auto show in late November, Volvo will show the North American debut of the Volvo S60 concept. The car was built by Polestar, which began with an S60 R-design and they went flat out for performance. Painted Rebel Blue, the concept has more than 500 horsepower and super high performance brakes and suspension.

It's where Polestar would like us to go," said a Volvo spokesman.

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