Volvo Cars North America LLC is set to release its first (and arguably most important) vehicle since the brand was picked up by Chinese Geely: the 2011 S60 saloon. Barring any unforeseen problems (like the recent crash-mitigation ordeal), it should be picking up right where its forebear left off: trying to reinforce Volvo's entry in the mid-size sport-sedan market.
Coming in at a starting point of $38,550 ($37,700 plus $850 for destination charges), the new S60 hopes to pull in buyers from the mainstays. BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus? Volvo wants to take them down to China Town.
Here's how: standard all-wheel-drive, standard 300-horse T6, standard 18-inch wheels, standard Bluetooth / HD radio, and a standard "segment leading Safe + Secure Coverage Plan" (5-year / 60,000 mile coverage for New Car Warranty, Scheduled Maintenence, and Wear & Tear, with 5-year unlimited mile roadside assistance).
On the provided chart (click on the picture on your left) , the Volvo looks like a real contender. Mercedes and Lexus don't even offer AWD for the V6 models, while the BMW charges a premium for it. A similarly-priced Audi with AWD only provides the 2.0T, which has 89 fewer ponies under the hood.
Only the 306-horsepower Lexus out-powers the S60, but the T6 trumps its competition in the torque department with 325 lb-ft.
Don't forget, just because everything looks good on paper does not necessarily mean it translates into the real world. For that, we'll just have to be patient for a head-to-head comparison.