Paris Preshow: New Volvo S60 and V60 R-Design

Volvo is trying to further enhance the appeal of its new 2011 S60 sedan and V60 station wagon models with the presentation of a new R-Design styling and handling package that will be available in autumn 2010. The Swedish firm's take on the BMW M Sport and Audi S-Line kits combines sporty visual upgrades inside and out, and a tweaked chassis for a sharper drive.

"These cars have been specially developed for buyers who want to put their very own stamp on their car," says Magnus Jonsson, head of Product Development at Volvo Cars.

"And with R-Design, we are attracting a younger target group. We expect that 10 percent of all S60 and V60 customers will choose the R-Design option on markets where it is available. We aim to win over one-third of these customers from competing brands."

On the outside, the R-Design treatment adds a front grille painted in glossy piano black, a more aggressive front bumper detailed in a matt black finish, a discreet boot lid spoiler (sedan) or roof spoiler (Estate) and a distinctive rear diffuser that houses twin exhaust tailpipes.

A new set of unique 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels shod in sport tires completes the list of exterior changes.

Moving into the interior, the package includes a pair of body-hugging sport seats up front, special leather/textile upholstery available in off-black and ceramic light, or in an all-black, both with contrasting stitching, plus an R-Design steering wheel, gear selector, sports pedals and floor-mats.

Underneath the sheetmetal, Volvo's engineers have given the S60 and V60 models stiffer springs (+15%) and bushes (+20%), a lowered ride height (-15mm), new monotube dampers at the back, and a strut brace under the bonnet.

Stefan Sällqvist, manager of vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars says: "The challenge was to boost the dynamics without making the chassis feel raw. If the chassis is too firm, even smooth tarmac can feel bumpy. We wanted a distinct yet plush feel. The car now has a more solid feel to it, which in turn helps make the steering feel even more responsive with a distinctive contact with the road."

The R-Design package can be combined with all available engines, ranging from the 115HP DRIVe 1.6-liter diesel unit to a 3.0-liter turbocharged-six petrol with 304 horsepower.