Speed Like a Swede: The 10 Fastest Volvo Vehicles
Volvo has some of the most loyal fans in the entire automotive world. But one thing you’ll probably never hear a Volvo owner brag about is pure speed. As European cars have become synonymous with high-end luxury in recent decades, Volvo’s preoccupation with safety, sensibility, and reliability has long made it out of step with the times. And the fact that Germany and England build some of the best performance-oriented luxury vehicles in the world has put the Swedish brand at an even bigger disadvantage.
But things have been changing quickly in Gothenburg, Sweden. In the years since Volvo left Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, the brand has flourished. This is largely thanks to a hands-off approach from the current owners, Geely Automobile. The new S90, V90, and XC90 are some of the sexiest luxury cars on the road today. And with the recent acquisition of tuning company Polestar, Volvo has an in-house performance division for the first time in its 90 year history.
So despite the brand’s dowdy and sensible reputation, it has spent most of this decade building some incredibly competitive — and quick — cars. If you’ve ever wanted to know which Volvos are the quickest straight from the factory belt, look no further. Based on each vehicle’s zero to 60 acceleration time, here are the 10 quickest Volvo vehicles of all time.
10. 2016 S60 Cross Country
Volvo has long had a reputation for building great cars for bad weather, and its Cross Country line is one of the biggest reasons why. Based on a standard midsize S60, the Cross Country is a lifted, plastic clad version with skid plates, hill descent control, and a higher ground clearance. While 2017 models are only available with a 2.0 liter turbocharged four, the 2016s had an inline-five, which made a respectable 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 in these late model cars comes in at 6.1 seconds.
9. 2012-2013 C30 Polestar
OK, the road car didn’t come with box flares or a roll cage, but Volvo’s street version of the C30 Polestar compact was still a hot hatch to be reckoned with. In Polestar’s trademark Rebel Blue (get used to it; you’ll be seeing a lot of it here), the cool little Swede was outfitted with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder engine. Power was boosted from a stock 227 to 250 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, allowing for a 140 mile per hour top speed, and a zero to 60 sprint of just 5.9 seconds. Only 250 of these cars were sent to America, making them some of the rarest Volvos on the road.
8. 2007 S80 AWD
What happens when you take a full-size Volvo sedan and put a 4.4-liter V8 engine under the hood? An honest to goodness performance, that’s what. In 2007, the then flagship S80 V8 had 311 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque to play with, allowing it to make the zero to 60 sprint in 5.6 seconds. What’s more, the V8-powered cars came standard with all-wheel drive.
7. 2017 S90 T6 AWD
Volvo’s new-for-2017 flagship is hands down one of the most beautiful luxury sedans on the road. But the company also made the decision not to follow its German rivals, and tuned the car for optimal lap times around the Nürburgring (motorsports complex in Germany). Hence, the S90 focuses on luxury and aesthetics. And it’s plenty quick, too.
Sitting at the top of the S90 range, the T6 benefits from a 316 horsepower turbocharged and supercharged 2.0 liter inline-four. Zero to 60 comes in at 5.6 seconds. And despite a limited top speed of 133 miles per hour, we suspect it could do more.
6. 2017 S60 T6 Drive-E
The S90 has made the S60 look old (a new one is on the way before the decade’s end), but it’s no less formidable. The range-topping S60 T6 Drive-E makes the trip from zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds, thanks to a twin-charged 2.0 liter inline-four cylinder engine. What’s amazing is its 302 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque is more powerful than the 3.0 liter inline-six engine it replaced.
5. 2013 S60 T6 R-Design
Back when Volvo offered the aforementioned 3.0-liter straight-six in the S60, the turbocharged S60 T6 R-Design model was pretty exciting. With 325 horsepower and 345 pound-feet of torque going to all four wheels, the R-Design could hit 60 from a standstill in 5.3 seconds, nearly outdoing every other Volvo model on the road at the time.
4. 2017 XC90 T8
Volvo has embraced hybrid technology in a big way, and the result is the XC90 T8, the most powerful production model to ever come from Gothenburg. With the 316 horsepower supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter mated to an electric motor, the XC90 T8 has 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque on tap. That’s enough to rocket this big, beautiful SUV from zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds.
3. 2014-2016 V60 Polestar/S60 Polestar
Like AMG, Polestar began as an independent tuning company that raced Volvos. But the connection between the two companies grew until Volvo bought it in 2015. With cars like the aforementioned C30 Polestar and their tuned V60 and S60 models, it’s easy to see why the brand wanted to make the marriage official. The first 60-Series Polestars both had an extremely quick zero to 60 time of 4.7 seconds, thanks to their turbocharged inline-six sending 345 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Just 150 of these cars came to the United States. Luckily, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of the next generation.
2. 2017 V60 Polestar
For 2017, the Polestar cars got a mild face-lift — and a whole new engine. The inline-six was ditched in favor of Volvo’s supercharged and turbocharged 2.0 Drive-E liter four, as well as an eight-speed automatic and new all-wheel drive system. Power is now 362 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. It’s enough to get the V60 from zero to 60 in just 4.5 seconds, making it one seriously quick wagon.
1. 2017 S60 Polestar
As quick as the V60 Polestar is, the ever-so-slightly lighter S60 sedan nudges its brother car out in a zero to 60 sprint — 4.4 seconds to 4.5. It has the same 2.0 liter four, 362 horsepower, and 347 pound-feet of torque going to all four wheels, but just don’t expect to haul as much stuff out back as it has an electronically limited 155 mile per hour top speed.