The inherent balance of an inline six-cylinder engine makes it appealing to drivers like us, and it contributed to the legendary status of historic cars such as the Nissan Skyline, several Jaguars, and many BMWs. The unbent six is a dying breed, though, becoming more rare every model year, kind of like station wagons and clutch pedals.
Volvo has pretty much given up on clutch pedals but still offers both a wagon and a straight-six. The latter, we’re told, will continue indefinitely even as the Chinese-owned Swedish brand has sworn fealty to a future that’s all about threes and fours and hybrids.
The only way to get a Volvo V60 with the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six (rather than the 2.0-liter Drive-E turbo four or the 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder) is to choose the top T6 R-Design model and all-wheel drive. That car, as tested here, also wears a Polestar badge on its tail, referencing the standard software upgrade from Volvo’s racing partner that lifts output to 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft, compared to 300 and 325 for the same engine as installed in the S80 sedan.
The car tested here is marketed as a 2015.5 model, which means that Volvo upgraded the in-dash infotainment system to incorporate some of the features on the all-new XC90, including 3G connectivity (Sensus Connect) and Sensus Navigation (which can receive routes sent from your phone or computer and includes free map updates “as long as the system is in production”), plus power lumbar support for the seats. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same as the 2015 model that we ranked third in an earlier comparison test against the Audi Allroad and the BMW 3-series wagon. Aiming to show that these Euro-wagons make good alternatives to crossovers, the comparison wasn’t quite apples to apples—Volvo did not yet have the V60 Cross Country model that will match up more directly against the Allroad, as it packs a raised suspension, less power, and a lower price tag. The T6 R-Design actually has a lowered suspension and a more performance-oriented mission. That’s why it forms the basis for the limited-edition, Polestar-branded models of the S/V60, which have proved popular enough that Volvo now plans to make more of them than it originally announced. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Michael Simari