The styling changes, clearly intended to give the car a bit more visual muscle next to fresher German opposition, consisted mainly of stronger horizontal body creases and larger features.
SE-spec cars, as pictured, aren't as bold as the R-Design models, which get an even more widely altered look. It struck most testers as neat and pleasant enough, but not quite as appealing – and certainly not as distinctive – as the outgoing S60.
The 2014-model-year facelift also brought some key interior revisions, including a new multimedia system, new seats and new instruments – all of which we’ll come to. Among the new safety highlights added to the options list, and fitted to our test car, are the ‘permanent high-beam’ camera-based active headlights.
That lot would all be window dressing without the headline addition: Volvo’s Drive-E 1969cc all-aluminium twin-turbocharged common-rail diesel engine. It’s no exaggeration to say that this engine has been the saviour of Volvo’s European fortunes, so much so they have created a range of different output versions.
Along with its petrol counterpart, it has been in development since 2008. It will feature throughout the firm’s model ranges and eventually replace every other oil-burner. It has been designed with hybrid applications in mind but in the S60 the T4 produces 188bhp.
In this sub-£22k S60, it emits 99g/km of CO2 and allows for sub-11.5sec 0-60mph and 74mpg-plus claims.
Almost all of which statistics are not just mighty impressive for a four-cylinder diesel compact executive saloon – they’re unequalled.
From its numerous water pumps to its parallel twin turbochargers, there’s plenty of interesting innovation behind the class-leading statistics that Volvo’s Drive-E diesel produces. But the engine’s single most interesting feature is its high-pressure common-rail i-ART injection system, supplied and developed in collaboration with Denso.
The ‘i-ART’ stands for intelligent accuracy refinement technology. Most similar injection systems are moderated, via the ECU, using pressure sensors located in the injection rails, but i-ART has individual pressure sensors for each cylinder.