2. Volvo S60 R-Design
It may sound like the Germans and Japanese have a monopoly on luxury and driving fun but that’s not the case. Preventing total axis hegemony are brands like Cadillac and Volvo. Yes, believe it or not the Swedish automaker best known for safety and boxy styling actually fields a premium performance machine.
The Volvo S60 R-Design is a tuned-up version of the brand’s mainline S60 sedan, a handsome, upscale car in its own right. Thanks to special tuning from Swedish performance-company Polestar the R-Design’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six gets a 25 horespower bump at a fat wad of extra torque compared to the standard car. Tallying the changes it has 325 ponies and 354 lb-ft of twist.
Of course other beneficial upgrades have been made as well, the most significant of which involve the suspension. R-Designs have shorter, stiffer springs, new shock absorbers and larger front sway bars to name a few of the tweaks.
But one thing that’s unchanged is the transmission. All S60s feature a “Geartronic” six-speed automatic. Of course we think the car should offer a stick shift but if it’s got to have a slusher it should at least be something up to date. How about an eight-speed unit, Volvo?