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R-Design volvo special Red-hot road & race Volvos

V60 T6 R AWD › C30 T5 R › XC60 D5 R › K-Pax Racing S60


06 16



hat do you think of when you think of Volvo? Think towing a caravan on the A303 with a tailback longer than the Seine? Think accident-prone old biddy drivers with brown leather driving gloves? Think again... The Swedish brand, now owned by Ford, is making some unbelievably good cars – especially in the performance car market – in the vein of their cult T5, T6 and V70 R’s of old. But now, in new RDesign form, they’re quicker, better looking, better handling, better finished and are loaded with smart technology, titanic turbo power (boosted by Polestar) and brilliant interiors: A brand re-invented. This Volvo special issue, we’ve got four fab features to show you what we mean about R-Design: There’s the young and funky C30 T5, ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing V60 T6 and the tough XC60 D5 – all re-mapped and revitalised by Volvo’s official tuning company, Polestar, and all utterly brilliant. Finally, to prove how sorted Volvo’s are not just on the road, but in the speedy world of motorsport – our USA correspondent, Ashley Van Dyke tracks down the bionic K-Pax Racing S60 at the excellent Pirelli World Challenge, Mid-Ohio. Prepare to remap your brain on the Volvo brand. Thanks for reading Road! Please do enjoy our daily blog at and join our social media platforms (click on link bubbles above), Road Editor, Phil Royle.


Road Magazine is published by happy publishing & PR team, Royle Media. Contact us for your own brand magazine – print or diggy – and perfect PR. PUBLISHER: Phil Royle ART EDITOR: Bonnie Royle ROAD SNAPPER: Neil Denham ROAD USA: Ashley Van Dyke ROAD COLUMNIST: Neil Cole ROAD E-TESTER: Gemma Scott ROAD I.T GURU: Steve Davies Follow Road on Twitter, like us on Facebook & enjoy our daily blog, using blob links above.


ULTIMATE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING? The V60 T6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav – long name, superb car, especially with the 329bhp Polestar pack. FInally, an S4 rival!?


e love a good stealth bomber at Road – and we’ve just driven one of the best we’ve ever tested: Meet the Volvo V60 T6 AWD R-Design, with Polestar Performance Optimisation pack. Perhaps the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing? With only 18-inch rims and twin exhausts to warn other road users, just maybe... and certainly a strong, cheaper contender to Audi’s S4 AWD-turbo-nutter-practicalload-lugger crown. This is the very top of the V60 family tree, above the ES, SE, SE Lux and into the highest echelons of R-Design V60 ownership. Let’s deal with the ‘bad’ news first. Quality doesn’t

come super cheap. This furtive flyer costs £40,790 in this range-topping Lux Nav specification, although on the flip side, this is some £2600 cheaper than its main rival, Audi’s S4. And the V60 T6 only comes with Volvo’s Geartronic automatic gearbox. And, partly thanks to this hefty unit (and Volvo’s tough build quality and stacks of safety gear), the V60’s not so light, at 1784Kg. But more positively, in stock form, the titanic turbo charged 2953cc straight-six engine delivers 304bhp @ 5600rpm and 325lbft from 2100-4200rpm. Impressive. Now enter the V60 T6’s party piece – the very well priced (£660) Polestar

Performance Optimisation Package. This simple, but oh-so-effective ECU re-map of the big straight six turbo unit adds a further 25bhp, taking peak power to 329bhp, available from a lower 5400rpm, to a higher 6500rpm. And the great surge of turbocharged torque is also improved, almost 30lbft to 354lbft, available from 3000-3400rpm. The warranty-backed

Polestar pack also claims no decline in fuel economy, thanks to the ECU re-map only producing the extra ponies when required (i.e: for overtaking or up hills), a leaner fuel map and added driveability. It’s also superquick and easy to install at your local Volvo dealership. Why folk don’t fit the Polestar pack is beyond me. Performance from the T6 Polestar is not in M-Power

or RS leagues, but is certainly bloody impressive: 0-62mph takes the huge, but agile beast just 5.8-seconds and its limited to 155mph. But, as with big load lugging turbo Volvos of old (like the now cultish 850 T5 of two decades ago, can you believe it?), it’s not so much the conventional performance figures than tell the tale of the Volvo’s velocity,

but the in-gear acceleration times. The V60 T6 pulls 30-50mph in just 2.7-seconds. And that’s faster than a whole lot of more expensive, more powerful supercars – and the sort of useful pick-up-pace-performance you want out on the road: Perfect for overtaking. The T6 Polestar is a real Jekyll & Hyde too. Snuggled up in the wonderfully comfortable leather sports

seats and fully satisfied with all the outstandingly welldesigned, well thought-out, easy-to-operate and bloody useful interior gadgets, wafting along with superb ride quality and great grip from the Haldex AWD, the T6 Polestar is a superb place to cover miles in. It’s everything you want from a practical performance car – spacious, luxurious, relaxed and unworried. And it cov-

ers ground, in all weathers, on all roads expertly. You can so easily forget you’re packing 329 ponies. But a prod of the throttle soon reminds you and the throaty, boosty, pleasant straight six spools quickly into life – slingshotting you to the horizon in a blur of hedges. Now I have to admit to being a bit biased here. I own an old Audi S4 (read about that in our Project Cars sec-

“why folk don’t fit the Polestar pack is beyond me”

tion of www.roadmagazine., so I ‘get’ the whole load-lugging, Schizophrenic practical performance car genre. And I love it. You get a ‘normal’ well equipped family car on the surface of things, that just happens to be a bit of a tool too: Perfect, and truly the best of both worlds. And this T6 Polestar is one of the very best: Quick, yet refined. Sporty, yet calm. And it’s design is first class… offering good looks, innovative technology and smart thinking throughout. If I had to be picky – and it’s an obvious conclusion to draw – the Quattro S4 is the better handling car; sharper, more responsive and ultimately a tad more involving, with higher grip limits and better handling traits on the limit. The S4 is also a nat’s more handsome. But it’s a fine line. And the T6’s finish, design and that fabulous Polestar ECU map make it a more quirky, different, safer and most importantly, cheaper, option. More car, for less dosh: Go figure S4 fans... and that’s coming from an S4 owner!


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No Saab anymore, so it’s up to Volvo to make quirky, likeable, solid, reliable, bonkers fast, Scandinavian turbo nutter cars... and here’s the pocket rocket, 250bhp, £25,130 C30 T5 R-Design Lux Polestar


op Gear fans might remember Mr Clarkson going absolutely bonkers about a powder blue C30 a few years back. That was the C30 Performance Concept Prototype (PCP) – the fastest production car Volvo had ever produced, with the help of its tuning and racing brothers in arms – Polestar – based in Gothenburg. They’re responsible for making mental motorsport Volvos, with great success in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championships, WTCC and other top series. Bar its 19-inch BBS wheels and aero kit, it

looked just like the sexy C30 T5 Polestar on test here – wrapped in trademark Polestar blue vinyl. But that concept car had 405bhp and did 0-62mph in just 4.6s. It also came loaded with uprated pistons con rods and inlet cam, KKK 26 turbo, larger intercooler, Öhlins suspension, six-piston Brembo 380mm discs at the front, and four-piston 330s at the back and a sixspeed manual transmission. Oh, and four-wheel-drive. It was, without a doubt, one of the best things ever to come out of Sweden, bar snow rallying. Sadly, it never got put into

production... as it was essentially a touring car for the road, would have cost a bomb and would have most probably killed folk who drove it. And that’s not very Volvo at all now is it? So, what we have here is the next best thing. A natural, boardroom-tamed evolution of the original nutcase idea: The C30 T5 R-Design, with Polestar upgrade. The base C30 T5 costs just £24,470 and packs a Volvo 2.5-litre, all-aluminum, continuous variable valve time with variable intake timing, turbocharged, fivecylinder engine generating 227bhp at 5,000rpm and

236lbft of torque at 1,5005,000rpm. And for a no brainer £660, you can get the Polestar Performance Optimisation – upping power to 250bhp and torque from 236lbft to 272lbft. That’s enough grunt to propel it to 62mph in just six seconds – with the short shift six-speed manual as tested here or the optional five-speed ‘Geartronic’ automatic with Auto-Stick sequential gearbox. It’ll plough onto 150mph too, tearing strips off its driven front wheels as it goes. And just look at it! The T5 has a 10-piece aerodynamic bodykit, beefing it up like an Olympic gymnast over standard C30’s and aided in its good looks by the five-spoke 18-inch rims and low profile rubber. But it’s the cool blue Polestar vinyl

wrap that really sets it off well – even if it is a bit peely around the door seals, under the bonnet and the like. But who cares? Inside the special edition T5, the great news continues. Here is a smartly designed, brilliantly comfortable, cool, calm and creative place to drive. It’s loaded with great goodies too, including... VERY deep breath... poweradjustable heated front bucket seats with a threedriver memory function, automatic dual climate control, power glass sunroof, LED daytime running lights, lush rally-style soft-touch dashboard material, Volvo Premium Sound System with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound with 10-speakers and 650-watts, XM satellite digital (thank God – 6Music in a car!) radio with NavTraf-

fic, a TomTom Navigation System with remote, power windows with express up/ down, power door locks, folding rear seats, rear centre armrest, security alarm, cruise-control, variable/ intermittent wipers, headlight washers, rear wiper/ washer, dual map lights, storage pockets galore, dual cupholders/storage bin, aluminium trim on the centre stack/console and door pulls, power remote sideview mirrors and a self-

dimming rearview mirror. Phew! And there’s extra sporty styling touches too, like the chunky, three-spoke, leather wrapped/aluminium trimmed, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, leather/alu-

minium gear shifter, blue-lit gauge cluster and aluminium/rubber insert foot pedals. The finish and useability is all first class, and we liked the shape of the centre console, with its secret storage pocket behind. As you would expect from Volvo, safety is also top notch – with airbags galore, standard ABS, EBD, BA, traction control and stability control (which is switchable, for drivers who can...). The C30 T5 Polestar’s

monotube dampers are utterly superb too – perfectly matched to the lowered sports springs, offering a brilliant blend of ride quality and handling ability. Being front wheel drive and with all that easilyaccessible turbo power and torque on tap, it is quite easy to overwhelm the C30, TC off of course. But, as with any powerful FWD car... if you drive around that and steady your steering inputs, you are reward-

ed. Steering feedback is really good, adding to the driver feel and appeal. Here’s a delectably designed, brilliantly built, tremendously tuned hot hatch that’s capable of being understated, calm and practical, but also a little bit laddish, lairy and loud too. It’s a brilliant blend. Sure, it’s almost half the power and certainly half the drivetrain of its prototype big brother and we would have loved to have

seen that C30 get built. But, here’s a brilliant alternative to the Ford Focus ST, or the Golf GTI Anniversary. And, in the true tradition of solid Scandinavian car design and building, it’s that bit more alternative, quirky, different and unusual... appealing to all those frustrated Saab lovers who love a goodly dose of turbo boost and mid-range punch. Great job Volvo and also Polestar – the C30 T5 R-Design is a turbo nutter’s delight.

C30 DRIve: Eco warrior


olkswagen has BlueMotion and Ford Econetic cars – all aimed and doing very well at producing extra economical cars; cheap on fuel and even cheaper on road tax, full of trick eco tech. To date, Volvo have been slow on the pick up in this expanding market, but now they have DRIVe and the C30 is the first to get it, with V50 and S40 following on.

The C30 gets a 108bhp, 118mph 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with re-mapped ECU, lowering CO2 4g/km less than the standard unit. A covered grille, flat underbody panels, low drag roof spoiler, rear diffuser and alloys with low rolling resistance (and grip!) tyres trim CO2, along with heightened gear ratios in 3rd, 4th and 5th gear and trick gearbox oil all com-

bine to create a 14g/km fall in CO2 to just 115g/km – in VED band B, £35 a year. And it offers 64.2mpg. So, it’s cheap to run, and at £15,084, good value to buy too – especially as it’s very well equipped, looks great, rides fabulously, is superbly comfortable and even covers ground well too. Volvo may be late to the party, but they are bringing good booze with them.

WTCC C30 DRIVe Polestar Racing ran a C30 DRIVe in the FIA World Touring Car Championships for Volvo last year – launching a one-car programme “as a commercial and technical evaluation ahead of 2012.” The car was already a proven winner with multiple titles and race victories in the Swedish and Scandinavian Touring Car Championships. But a lot of development work was needed for the new WTCC tracks, as well as the new engine regulations – with the C30 running both a modified 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre turbocharged unit. 2012 sees them racing an S60 badboy. Discover more at:


the evil diesel

Meet the new ‘crossover SUV’ XC60 – Volvo’s BMW X3, Land Rover Freelander or Honda CRV, and the little brother of the all-conquering XC90. We test the £39,305, D5 R-Design Lux Nav, with 230bhp Polestar Pack


he greatest phenomenon in the exquisite lifestyle of a road tester is when a car takes you by surprise and far exceeds even the highest expectations – and the XC60 D5 RDesign Lux Nav, with Polestar upgrade has just gone top of the list for happy surprises in cars tested this year. Bravo Volvo! This is Volvo’s all-new XC60 – the little brother of the now massively popular and successful XC90 – all set to make in-roads into the highly competitive ‘soft-roader’ crossover SUV class. It’s taking on some pretty big and wellliked competition, in the form of Land Rover’s constantly evolving Freelander, Honda’s great value CRV and BMW’s muscular X3.

Is it man enough for the job? You bet your last damn Krona it is! There are three engines for the XC60 – the ballistic, 304bhp six-pot petrol turbo and two five-pot diesels – a two-litre 163bhp D4 and 2.4-litre 215bhp D5. And they come in SE, SE Lux, RDesign or R-Design Lux versions, with or without Nav. We tested the range-topping diesel – D5 R-Design Lux Nav Geartonic – also

fitted with the fabulous value (£660) Polestar Performance Optimisation package ECU re-map – which boosts peak power from 215bhp to 230bhp and torque from 440Nm to 470Nm (347lb ft in old money!). Polestar say: “We optimise the power and torque in your Volvo. It makes the car more lively and fun to drive and it increases safety in situations where you need extra performance, e.g. when

overtaking. All this without increasing the certified fuel consumption or affecting your Volvo’s Original Warranty... and adding re-sale value. Now you no longer need to take risks with “chip tuning” to achieve an enhanced driving experience. We give your Volvo higher power output and better torque in the range the engine most often works in. Our racing drivers call this improving the car’s ‘drive-

ability.’ They want the car to be optimised for racing, you want the car optimised for driving on streets and roads.” The result is fabulous. The chunky, heavy XC60 feels energetic – sprightly even – and never falls short of grunt up hills or overtaking. Performance is noticeably better than the standard version and fuel economy remains high for a vehicle of its size, just over 41mpg on

test. Impressive stuff. The Haldex multi-plate clutch-equipped four-wheel drive system is also superb... seamlessly shifting torque from front (95%) to rear axle and side to side –

planting the XC60 onto the road and working well with the superb suspension – not designed with performance in mind, but comfy and capable, in all conditions. The most incredible thing about the XC60 though is not its lively diesel lump, its tractable AWD, or its fabulous looks... it’s the incredible interior: Designed to take safety and comfort to new levels, the XC60 offers the most relaxing, affluent, luxurious and opulent driv-

ing environment imaginable. The blind spot safety system, active cruise control, excellent visibility, fabulous multimedia equipment, perfect climate control and levels of complete comfort enable you to enter a driving state of pure bliss... making you almost unaware that you are actually driving. And yet the driving pleasure is all there too. And don’t worry, if you get too comfy and drop off in your leather armchair, sorry driver’s seat,

your XC60 will warn you you’re drifting lanes and your driver alert rating will plummet, forcing you to raise your game. Yeah, these are all toys... but on a car as good as the XC60, they’re the icing on top of an amazing cake, not just pure sales gimmicks. They work. The car works. It’s a perfect SUV package. Few cars get a clean bill of faultless health. The incredible XC60 D5 R-Design Polestar just did. Awesome.


pirelli world challenge CADILLAC GRAND PRIX Road USA correspondent, Ashley Van Dyke, follows two bionic Volvo S60’s run by K-Pax Racing at the Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio’s famous circuit


eading into the Pirelli World Challenge double-header weekend at Mid-Ohio brought on feelings of excitement and nerves for many of the GT, GTS and TC drivers in the series. With only Sonoma Raceway left on the calendar, it would mean there is no time left to mess around and championship point battles are down to the wire. The 56 car field loaded in on Wednesday and most teams took advantage of the promoter test day for practice runs on Thursday. As they felt out the 13 Turns of Mid-Ohio, teams were getting into rhythm and setting their cars up for the Cadillac Grand Prix Presented By StopTech. Randy Pobst and the KPax Racing Volvo S60 came out and set the tone for the GT class very early. During qualifications Pobst, Cunningham and Cooper set new qualifying track records. K-Pax teammate Alex Figgie qualifies second place to Pobst, making it a K-Pax front row, then Cadillac Racing drivers Andy Pilgrim, Jordan Taylor and Johnny O’Connell. Race number one on Saturday was hot and humid. Randy Pobst took off from

pole and led a perfect race, keeping the Cadillac Racing fleet behind him the entire way. Jordan Taylor, who was making his Pirelli World Challenge debut start, advanced to second put couldn’t find anything to contest with Pobst. Alex Figgie had mechanical issues and ended up placing 12th. The top five finish as Johnny O’Connell, Andy Pilgrim and James Sofronas take the checkers. RealTime Racing star Peter Cunningham shared the GTS front row with teammate Nick Esayian in their Acura TSX HPD cars. Looking really good and strong all weekend the team took a one-and-two finish, leading the whole way in Saturday’s race. It was Cunningham’s 43rd victory in the series and he earned his 50th career pole for the start on Sunday. High fives PD!! Sunday brought the rain: Not just a drizzle or a few showers, we’re talking serious thunderstorms. Heavy dark clouds covered the race track. Rain drops were coming down thick and the race track surface was soaked. It had rained all night at the course. The Pirelli World Challenge series is proud to race in the

rain and there is definitely some good action to be seen when it does. When race two went green all the cars in the field were on rain tyres, but that didn’t stop some cars from wiping out on the formation laps and at the start. The fifty minute timed race started wet, but it cleared and starting to look sunny and warm by the time everyone was walking into to victory lane. Randy Pobst held off his teammate Figgie and the other cars in the GT class to sweep the weekend in the K-Pax Volvo. Kevin Gleason won GTS and Todd Lamb took the win in Touring Car. The Pirelli World Challenge series rolls into Sonoma Raceway August 24–26 for the Cadillac Sonoma Grand Prix and the final stop on the calendar. Follow along on Twitter (@WCRacing) and Facebook page (https:// pirelliworldchallenge/) for news and updates from your favourite teams and drivers. Television coverage from the Cadillac Grand Prix Presented by StopTech will air on the NBC Sports Network on Saturday August 25th at 1:30PM EST. You can also watch all of this season’s race anytime for free by visiting


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In this Volvo special of Road, we test & report on some seriously hot road and race Volvos, R-Design and Polestar re-mapped: V60 T6, C30 T5...

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