For 2006, the Volvo S60 receives several changes. The entry-level 2.4 has been discontinued; the high-performance S60R receives a new six-speed automatic transmission, replacing the five-speed of 2005. All-wheel-drive models now include Instant Traction, which allows faster torque distribution to the rear wheels. The 2.5T automatic transmission now receives Geartronic manual mode as a standard feature, rather than an option, and T5 wheels are now 17-inch instead of 16-inch.

The S40 comes with two engine choices: a 2.5-litre, inline five-cylinder turbo in the 2.5T and 2.5T AWD, and a 2.4-litre, inline five-cylinder turbo in the T5. The S60R uses the 2.5-litre, maxxed out to 300 hp, and comes exclusively with all-wheel-drive.

The 2.5T and 2.5T AWD come with a five-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake distribution, 16-inch alloy wheels, power heated mirrors with puddle lights, rear fog light, headlight washers, cloth upholstery with heated front seats, fold-flat passenger front seat, 60/40 folding rear seat, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, cruise control, dual-zone electronic climate control, power windows, tilt and telescopic wheel, and CD with six speakers. The 2.5T AWD adds a power driver seat with memory that’s optional on the 2.5T.

The T5 adds a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission (it can be optioned to the five-speed Geartronic automatic), 17-inch wheels, front fog lights, leather and T-Tec split upholstery, power passenger seat, leather handbrake lever, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Homelink garage door opener.

The R’s six-speed transmission can be optioned to the new six-speed Geartronic automatic; the package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, four-piston Brembo brake calipers, speed-sensitive steering, power sunroof, bi-Xenon headlights, rear deck spoiler, projector-style front fog lights, leather sport seats, R-specific wheel, and rain sensor.

All S60 models feature superb handling and decent road manners, and the Geartronic automatic works very well, transmitting input as quickly and accurately as if you were rowing the gears yourself. The R package is pricey but a sheer delight, offering brute strength with refinement that’s unmistakably Volvo.

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