‘R’ History Lesson
The all-new 2012 XC60 R-Design is a smart and slightly-sexy crossover model whose specification sheet has finally received a couple extra bullet points in the performance column. While the available trim levels and equipment packaging strategies across the XC60 lineup have been refreshed for 2012, the final product is largely unchanged. The bump in output at the R-Design level represents a welcome and fun addition.
It was in the spring of 2007 that Volvo cars announced the performance oriented “R” lineup – which at the time was limited to the 2007 S60R sedan and V70R wagon models – didn’t make the cut for the 2008 model year. Volvo performance enthusiasts – and yes, there are some out there – let out a collective sigh, having enjoyed the over-boosted R-variants since the original 240-horsepower Volvo 850 T5-R debuted in 1995. Volvo R models were never true M3 or S4 challengers, but they did provide some extra oomph in otherwise very civilized and safety-focused sedans and wagons.
Rolling forward, Volvo attempted to appease R aficionados with a series of “R-Design” variations beginning in 2008, but the effort was largely visual: larger wheels, sportier exhaust outlets and sport-oriented applications to both the exteriors and interiors. Even with stiffer suspension setups, R-Design models maintained the same power outputs and thus did not satisfy the buyer seeking even slight boosts in hair-raising horsepower and tire-shredding torque.
This Scandinavian automaker has now applied a new application to the performance equation: Polestar, a highly-regarded, international motorsports performance company known for working the mo-jo with competitive Turismo and Touring cars has found a simple solution to increase horsepower and torque; the result is a thoughtfully integrated upgrade that can be dialed-in to a Volvo model at the port or at a Volvo dealer.