Test Drives

2019 Volvo S60 T4 R-Design Review : Maintain Momentum

Volvo’s new S60 is a much stronger choice now, but does the less expensive T4 variant shine in racier R-Design or more modest Momentum spec? 


Volvo’s newest version of its executive sedan, the S60, is a prime contender in the segment. That’s been made clear as CarBuyer has tested the S60 sedan and V60 wagon in range-topping T5 variants already.

But honestly, this is Singapore, so the number of buyers who opt for the more powerful T5 engine is going to be minuscule -how many Mercedes-Benz C 180s are out there on the road versus C 250s, for example?

In any case, badge/brand adherence and the price gap (the S60 undercuts the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class considerably) also mean the real question here is: Which S60 to choose, T4 Momentum (S$165k), T4 R-Design (S$175k), or T5 R-Design (S$185k, all prices with COE)?

Volvo makes that choice a little harder since the less expensive model of the S60 range is the T4, and that uses the same 2.0-litre engine as the T5 – so no Cat A eligibility obviously, and the road tax is no less.  

The T4 is in a lesser state of tune, going down from 250hp and 350Nm to 187hp and 300Nm. Mechanically, the T4 also lacks all-wheel drive, but performance is still quite close to the T5 overall: 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds (0.7 seconds slower) and 220km/h top speed (20km/h less), though fuel consumption is just 0.1L/100km less, at 7.2L/100km, so again, running costs won’t be much different between T4 and T5.  

Like the T5 R-Design, the T4 R-Design also has the sportier chassis setup, and the two drive in a very similar fashion as a result – there’s certainly less of a perceived performance gap from behind the wheel.

The suspension delivers a good balance of comfort and sportiness, the S60 now being just a little way behind the 3 Series in terms of driving fun, and in day-to-day driving there’s little to quibble.  

At extremes, you do feel the chassis beginning to lag a little, it becomes floaty when taking bumps at higher speed and the steering precision is not quite as spot-on as a demanding driver requires.

Yet the thing to keep in mind is that most people won’t go there at all, and you’ll be fully happy with it on a daily drive basis since it delivers excellent comfort and stability at highway speeds, and also also feels like it’d an excellent companion for road tripping. 

And if you’ve comfort in mind, then we think the T4 Momentum might actually be the better choice as well since it has the less sporty suspension setup and smaller 17-inch wheels.  

The R-Design has the obvious, sportier elements to its styling (body kit, black gloss parts, 18-inch wheels, R-Design steering wheel and pedals, and so forth, but it’s not as if the S60 is charmless without all that. 

On an equipment basis, the Momentum lacks a reverse camera, passenger powered seat (driver only), a sunroof, fog lights, and more extensive interior lighting. Aside from the reverse camera, these are all things you can quite easily do without on a daily basis.

Plus, it’s not as if it misses out on anything else and the S60 experience is still here in full force, from the new infotainment system, to the digital instruments, extensive safety systems, and plenty of space It also has one fine trick the R-Design doesn’t – the T4 Momentum has adaptive cruise control with Pilot Assist (helps you with steering and takes the pain out of driving in jams).

Given the S$10,000 price gulf between the S60 T4 R-Design and S60 T4 Momentum, we think it makes more sense to plump for a T5 R-Design and have the fiercer looks with performance to match. For the T4 variant, most people will do well to stick with the Momentum model and its increased focus on comfort.

Volvo S60 T4 R-Design 

Engine 1,998cc, inline 4, turbocharged 
Power 250hp at 5200-6400rpm
Torque 350Nm at 1370-4500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic 
0-100km/h 240km/h 
Top Speed 6.4 seconds
Fuel Efficiency 7.3L/100km
VES Band / CO2 C1 / 167g/km
Agent Wearnes Automotive
Price S$165,000 with COE
Availability Now


about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.