2023 Volvo S60 Recharge Awd Ultimate 103 1668181203

2023 Volvo S60 Recharge Makes the Leap

When crazy Maine tuner Ross Converse dropped Mustang V-8s into Volvo engine bays, it was hilarious to conceive of a Volvo that could hit 60 mph in less than six seconds. These were cars for Paul Newman and David Letterman, supercharged sleepers with exuberant performance that belied their Bar Harbor antique dealer styling. These days, Volvo is its own tuner, as exemplified by the 2023 S60 Recharge. Like Newman’s Converse-modified 960, the S60 uses forced induction. Unlike those supercharged tuner sleds of yesteryear, this one is turbocharged and electrically charged, via its rear-mounted electric motor. With 312 horsepower from the 2.0-liter inline-four up front and 143 horsepower from the electric motor, the S60 Recharge claims the title of Most Powerful Volvo Ever, with a combined 455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque. Sure, that title also applies to every other model that offers this power source, but a win is a win.

As complicated as this drivetrain is, it was very reliable during our 40,000-mile test of a 2020 model, with modest service costs, too. This car, which produced 400 horsepower, hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. This one, with its added muscle, knocks some ticks off that time, hitting 60 in 4.1 seconds and sending the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds at 112 mph. That quarter-mile time would be faster if the S60 didn’t approach its stingy 114-mph speed limiter during the run, causing it to start cutting power at about 110 mph.

Highlights: Hits 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, usable EV range and power, reasonable base price.

That conflict – sports car acceleration against a speed limiter for party poo – is indicative of the S60 Recharge’s wider contradictions. On the one hand, it seems determined to maintain a safe and sane Volvo image, to the extent that there isn’t even a sport mode. But on the other hand: 455 horsepower and a 60 mph time, that’s the same as a fairly recent 2014 Porsche 911 Targa 4S PDK. Discovering that the respectable, brave S60 Recharge Camaros can smoke off the line is like discovering that Ned Flanders is ripped. Stupid sexy Flanders.

Besides adding raw power, the upgraded hybrid components allow the S60 to work perfectly as an EV, which wasn’t really the case when it had 87 electric horsepower. Now, with 143 horsepower and its larger 14.9 kWh battery, the S60 can operate as a legitimate daily driver in EV mode. Its EPA-rated range is 41 miles, and we saw 34 miles of range during our 75 mph highway test. In traffic, you no longer need to floor the throttle to keep the gas engine from firing—in fact, if you’re on the throttle during a 90-degree turn across an intersection, you may well end up with a anguished cries from inside behind tire heard. (In EV mode, the S60 Recharge is rear-wheel drive.)

The S60’s instrument panel includes a display that lets you know how close you are to firing up the petrol engine, with a pictogram of a drop of fuel (or perhaps a tear) representing the point when you enter hybrid mode. It’s easy enough to stay below that line, but if you do call on hybrid mode, the Recharge is still admirably frugal, returning 37 MPGe on our highway fuel economy test and 28 MPGe overall. As another bonus of the larger battery, the Recharge is now eligible for the full $7500 federal EV tax credit. Since the plug-in powertrain costs $9,950 more than a gas S60, that potential $2450 net charge makes the PHEV seem like a no-brainer option.

Beyond its scorching straight-line performance and frugal economy, the S60 Recharge puts up decent but not superlative numbers. (If you want the S60’s chassis to live up to its horsepower, the Polestar Engineered trim is a $16,800 option over the base Core model and $10,100 more than the Ultimate Black Edition.) Braking from 70 mph required 178 feet , while stopping from 100 mph. stretched that number to 359 feet. However, the Volvo’s brakes were tireless but had no fade, even after multiple stops from triple digits. The S60’s 0.85g grip on the shifter might have been higher, but was hampered by the tsk-tsk of the stability control system. Like a ’69 Chevy Chevelle SS, the S60 Recharge prefers the drag strip to the road course. And like a hybrid Ford Maverick pickup, this sedan is rated to tow 2000 pounds, opening up interesting possibilities involving flyweight travel trailers and glamping.

Low points: fun electronics, soft handling, Polestar Engineered costs an extra $16,800.

While the revised powertrain is the main upgrade, Volvo has also updated the S60’s infotainment system, which is now Google-based (including Maps, Assistant and Play Store). And the tested Black Edition—which brings blacked-out trim and wheels and is only available with Onyx Black metallic or Crystal White metallic paint—was new last year. But most of the S60’s changes are under the (still attractive) skin.

That’s probably one of the reasons the S60 commands a fair price, given its style and performance. The S60 Recharge’s base tab is $52,345, so with the $7500 credit, you could end up with a net price of $44,845 for the 455-hp Swedish hauler. Our loaded Ultimate Black Edition, which included goodies like heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a head-up display, costs $62,995. A full $3200 of that was the Bowers & Wilkins sound system, which you might be able to skip if you can live with the standard Harman Kardon system. But Volvo’s Bowers & Wilkins systems are some of the best factory audio setups you can buy, so look at it this way—it’s like spending some of that tax credit on booming bass and tweeters you want to feature in your life room.

Essentially, the 2023 S60 Recharge looks just like the earlier cars of this generation, but it’s now radically better at its plug-in mission: Charge it up every night and you might only need the gas engine for long drives and stoplight drag races. Most mid-cycle refreshes are cosmetic. This one is transformative.

Specifications

Specifications

2023 Volvo S60 Reloaded
Vehicle type: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, rear/four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE
Base/As Tested: $52,345/$62,995
Options: Ultimate Black Edition (360-degree camera, heated front seats, head-up display, four-way power lumbar, adaptive cruise control, black grille and badge, metallic paint, charcoal leather interior), $6700; Bowers & Wilkins stereo system, $3200; Climate package (headlight cleaning system, heated steering wheel and outboard rear seats), $750

POWER TRAIN
Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 312 hp, 295 lb-ft + AC motor, 143 hp, 228 lb-ft (combined output: 455 hp, 523 lb-ft; 14.9-kWh lithium battery pack; 3.7-kW on-board charger)
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic/direct drive

CHASSIS
Suspension, F/R: control arms/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.6-in ventilated disc/12.6-in ventilated disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero All Season
235/40R-19 96V M+S VOL

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 113.1 inches
Length: 187.4 inches
Width: 72.8 inches
Height: 56.3 inches
Passenger volume: 92 feet3
Hull volume: 12 feet3
Curb weight: 4457 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.1 sec
100 mph: 9.9 sec
1/4-mile: 12.5 sec @ 112 mph

Results above show 1 foot deployment of 0.2 sec. away.
Roll start, 5–60 mph: 4.5 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.5 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.1 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 114 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 359 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-ft Skid road: 0.85 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 28 MPGe
75 mph highway driving, EV/hybrid mode: 69 MPGe/37 mpg
75 mph highway range, EV/hybrid mode: 34/580 miles

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 31/30/33 mpg
Combined petrol + electricity: 74 MPGe
EV range: 41 miles

C/D TEST EXPLAINED

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