As such it’s no surprise to find suspension consisting of double wishbones at the front and an integral link setup with a transverse, composite leaf spring at the rear. There are coil springs and adaptive dampers at each corner, and that’s your lot, because air suspension has yet to be democratised at this level.
Something else is missing, though, and that’s diesel power. In line with plans to electrify every new car it launches from 2019, the brand’s Scandi-pure aura is increasingly built on its ecological conscientiousness. It means the S60 is the first modern Volvo offered exclusively with petrol engines. None displaces more than two litres via anything other than four cylinders, either, and if that sounds a bit dry, perhaps that’s because it is.
How does the S60 range look without any diesel engines?
For the T4 and T5 models most likely to reach the UK, power will come from turbocharging alone, with no less than about 190bhp on offer. Most likely we’ll also get ‘Twin Engine’ T6 and T8 models, which will have that first level of forced induction respectively supplemented by an Eaton-built supercharger and that same supercharger plus an electric motor. Is it any wonder Volvo's modular engine-building strategy is such an economic success when it can combine those three elements as it sees fit?
The range-topping T8 sounds particularly tasty. It makes 385bhp and hits 62mph in under five seconds, though there is a way to go even faster in T8 S60 if you’ve prepared to spend a bit more, and we’ll come onto that shortly. Either way, it’s a car nipping at the heels of BMW’s M3 and rest of the super-saloon cohort when it comes to on-paper performance.
Funny how a ‘Russian doll’ styling approach is used to beat Audi over the head and yet Volvo, which has adopted precisely the same strategy, escapes criticism.
Could it be because the Swedish cars are more imaginative? In the metal the S60 is broad-shouldered and, frankly, pretty thuggish, and yet there’s a subtle but definite cab-rear silhouette that along soft edges aplenty lend it no small degree of elegance. It is, in short, a damn fine looking saloon – probably the prettiest money can buy, and prettier still if you go for the T8 Polestar Engineered.
It is the Polestar Engineered we’ve driven here. The flagship is distinguished from the standard T8 by gold brake calipers, a 12mm ride-height squat and a set of dazzling 20in Y-spoke alloys shod in 245-section Pirelli P Zero tyres. Power is also up to 405bhp, with roughly 90bhp of that delivered by the rear-mounted electric motor, and spring rates are up five per cent compared to Volvo’s existing R-Design sports chassis.
What is the S60 like to drive on the road?
Volvo touts this model as the best driver’s car it currently makes. Admittedly, that’s like calling a victoria sponge the healthiest cake at the bakery, but the Polestar genuinely impresses so long as you don’t pigeon-hole it as an M3 rival from the get-go, tempting as that may be.
With two distinct methods of propulsion and a 200kg battery pack running down the spine of the car, it weighs the thick end of two tonnes, and so never leaps forward with quite the urgency you’d like. Or the aural pleasure, for that matter. The eight-speed automatic can also feel lazy by comparison to the BMW’s dual-clutch ’box and, fairly obviously, a car that delivers most of its power to the front axle is never going to feel inherently rear-driven.
And yet there are things this Polestar-tickled S60 does superbly well. The manner in which the beefy body remains cushioned and controlled almost over any kind of undulation, resisting significant float but absorbing road ripples and the like, is conspicuously good. Breathtakingly so, in fact – and as well it might be with Öhlins DFV dampers at each corner. Oddly they’re manually adjustable through 22 clicks, which is more Oulton Park than outside lane of the M4, but along with the rigidly inherent to this SPA platform in its most condensed state, they lend the S60 a composure unmatched in any car this refined.