Long struggling in that vague purgatory just shy of Tier 1 luxury, the 2012 Volvo S60 seems finally poised to break the ties that bind. A more upscale interior and sophisticated fit-and-finish place it squarely against other top contenders like the BMW 335i, which no longer seems like an unfair match thanks to the Volvo’s renewed dedication to performance. Each S60 model comes standard with a sportier, more sensitive transmission, improved safety features, and premium interior textiles.  Among the more noteworthy available upgrades are Volvo’s patented Pedestrian Detection system, Intelligent Driver Information System,  Blind Spot Information System, and Volvo Sensus. Of course, at the very top of the Swedish food chain perches the S60 R-Design, which includes all of the Swedish  automaker’s most coveted features as well as a vicious 3.0L six-cylinder engine capable of churning out 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque.

Starting MSRP is $31,300 for the S60 T5, $38,450 for the S60 T6 AWD, and $42,950 for the S60 R-Design. When equipped with either the technology or entertainment package, the latter most model can easily hover around $50,000.

Cars similar to the S60 are the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Lexus IS.  

Learn more about the 2012 Volvo S60