In 2000, the Volvo S60 was released on the American marketplace to great enthusiasm. Critics and buyers alike were thrilled that Volvo had decided to trade in their signature boxy style for a curvier, streamlined design. The S60 is a four door compact sedan built in Ghent, Belgium and was originally constructed on the Volvo P2 platform. The original S60 is available with five different engine options: 2.4L 168 horsepower I5, 2.4L 197 horsepower I5, 208 horsepower I5, 2.3L 247 horsepower I5 and a 2.5L 300 horsepower I5.
Since its inception, law enforcement in the United Kingdom has utilized the Volvo S60 because of its compact design and superior power. Police specification S60s feature improved suspension, a stronger clutch and a larger battery because police issue vehicles will sometimes sit with just lights or radio on for extended lengths of time. CCTV cameras were added to record arrests and any encounters that an officer might have. Specialized brake pads are also added and the speed limiter is commonly taken out so that higher speeds can be reached in a pursuit.
The 2003 model of the S60 veered even further away from the classic Volvo design with a more chiseled exterior, a 300 horsepower engine and the addition of the S60 R, a sportier and more powerful version of the sedan. In 2004 the transmission was updated with a buyers' choice of either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic. Critics have been comparing the S60 R to the BMW 3 and the Rolls Royce Phantom since its unveiling, which is a readily accepted comparison for Volvo. The Volvo S60 R is also a fierce competitor in the racing industry, coming in first place at Mosport in 2006. Most recently, the Volvo S60 R was featured in a series of vampire romance novels by the famous Stephenie Meyer, called the Twilight Series.
The second generation of the Volvo S60 won't arrive on the American market until late 2009, but consumers can expect some major changes. The platform will be the P24 that is used for the new XC60 concept model. The size of the S60 will be lessened, while the front gets a new grille and Volvo badge. Spy photos shot of the 2009 edition show a smaller sedan that has a curved, wave-like exterior design as well as a raised back end with larger wheels. Dual exhaust and a flatter back end also are captured in the shots.