Secondhand Saint: Volvo S60/V70R (2003-2007)

Volvo S60R (Euro model)

The first car I drove with my license was a Volvo S60 sedan, so I’ve always had a huge soft spot for it.  The R was the ultimate version of the previous-gen S60.  While it was supposed to be an M3 competitor, it was more of a fast luxury sedan than anything else.  However, it is by no means a bad car to have.

The S60/V70 R share the same interior, and you can't go wrong either way, you get great interior quality and sound ergonomics.

In 2003, Volvo launched the S60 and V70R, and made everyone think twice about Volvo’s staid image.  Each had a standard six-speed manual transmission, with an automatic transmission optional (5-speed from 2003-2004, 6-speed from 2005-2007).  Both came lavishly equipped right out of the box, with comfortable leather seats, well-appointed stereo systems, and Brembo brakes from the factory.  Both the sedan and its wagon brother came standard with a Haldex AWD system and the “Four-C” three-mode suspension system, allowing the driver to pick between “Sport”, “Comfort”, and “Advanced” settings.

Photo showing all the technology involved in this car's chassis. Very advanced.

The engine used in all years of the S60/V70R was a 2.5L inline-5, with a sizeable turbocharger.  Capable of producing 300hp and 295 lbs-ft of torque, it was capable of catapulting these big cars to a limited top speed of 155 MPH.  Certainly, not bad for a Volvo, and the subtle styling changes make it a bit of a sleeper as well.  Be aware, though, that even though the engine might be able to handle more power (as it does have forged internals), the drivetrain will need serious upgrades to handle any extra power, even something as minor as an exhaust.

Volvo V70R. After the S60, I had a V70. And I'd do bad things to get one of these.

For the most part, I’d get the V70R, as it is rarer and much, much cooler than the S60R.  That said,I do recommend both, as they are mechanically identical.  Prices range from as little as 10K-11K for a high-mileage example to over 20K for a well-kept wagon with a manual and ultra-low miles.  I would probably pay between 15-18K for one, and definitely go for one with the manual transmission, as it is rarer and much more of a joy to have.


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