Volvo S60, V60, V70 and S80 DRIVe models now available with dual-clutch automatic option

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 5, 2011

Volvo’s economical DRIVe diesel variants of the Volvo S60, V60, V70 and S80 are now available with a new dual-clutch automatic option. They have the same fuel economy and emissions figures as the manual versions. This marks the first time that consumers can order the DRIVe models with Volvo’s six-speed Powershift auto ’box.

Volvo asserts that when the V60, V70 and S80 DRIVe models are equipped with the new automatic gearbox and Volvo's latest four-cylinder 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, they all return 62.8mpg and 119g/km. It claims that the S60 that has the same transmission offers 65.7mpg and 114g/km on the combined cycle.

Volvo engineers made several technological enhancements so that it can attain the same economy and emissions figures as the manual-equipped DRIVe range. Volvo was able to reduce the friction between gearbox components.

It also modified the software that manages the engine and gearbox. This stop-start system was tweaked to cut the diesel engine when the car moves slower than 3mph. Its electrical systems were optimized to generate lower energy consumption.

Starting early next year, consumers can start to order the new DRIVe automatic options. Output will start in mid-February.

The S60 DRIVe is priced from £25,230. Meawhile, the V60 DRIVe has a price tag of £26,405. The V70 DRIVe is priced at £27,730 while the S80 DRIVe costs £26,980. Its petrol engine range was also modified by Volvo to have a better fuel economy rating.

An improvement was also seen on the 150bhp, four-cylinder, 1.6-litre T3 unit offered in the S60 and V60. From 42.8mpg, it could now provide 49mpg. It has a CO2 emissions level of 135g/km, which prompts a switch from tax band G to band E in Britain.

The newly developed Volvo S60 is Volvo's most sporty vehicle to date, with every detail being fine-tuned to give a great driving experience. This is all thanks to Volvo's chassis team for being able to develop a Dynamic chassis, which is standard on every new S60.

The steering gear ratio of the new car is faster by 10 percent compared to previous models. This gives the car a sharper response and an enhanced steering feel. Moreover, the steering column has a thicker tubing, as well as stiffer bushes, thus doubling torsional rigidity and contributing to that sense of direct contact with the car's wheels and with the road.

The S60's front spring struts also have thicker pistons than the sports chassis used for the Volvo S80. This results to a 47 percent increase in stiffness, which means that the car's body structure can absorb lateral loads better. Additionally, the springs are stiffer and shorter, increasing the Eigen frequency by 10 percent. The spring strut mounting is stiffer by 50 percent, too, and the subframe bushes at the front and the rear are twice as stiff as those of the previous models. The new car also has optimized link arm bushings for full control and for sporty driving.

The new car's rear damper mountings are made of polyurethane -- not rubber -- in order to have better balance between dynamic control and comfort.

Stefan Sällqvist, who is part of Volvo S60's chassis development team, explained that they had spent weeks in the English countryside fine-tuning the dampers and that they did some test-driving on very old Roman roads with few layers of tarmac just to find the precise damping qualities.

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