From £28,7408
The Volvo V60 range has a new star in the D4, which offers superb performance given its CO2 rating

What is it?

The new Volvo V60 D4, featuring Volvo’s new four-cylinder DRIVe turbodiesel, an engine its maker says has a best-in-class combination of power and CO2 emissions.

The new Volvo Engine Architecture family will be offered across Volvo’s 60, 70 and 80 model ranges, and will eventually spawn 2.0-litre diesel variants developing between 120bhp and 230bhp. 

Much of the new engine’s efficiency and performance gains come from traditional measures, such as weight saving, as well as clever new advances. The new engine monitors pressure feedback from each fuel injector rather than using a single sensor in the common rail. Each injector monitors its own injection pressure to optimise fuel injection in each of the four cylinders, too.

The development is so significant, says Volvo, that it warrants comparisons with its introduction of the lambda sensor in 1979.

What's it like?

Excellent. Mechanical refinement on the move is superb, and it feels far smoother than most other four-pot diesels. Indeed it feels – and sounds - rather like a six-cylinder BMW or Mercedes engine, free from the rather hollow sound often attributed to fours.

Its responsiveness and in-gear performance impresses and the engine feels happy to rev. Torque peaks at 1750rpm and plateaus until 4250rpm making motorway cruising its speciality. Here, engine noise particularly is muted as it relaxes into a high-speed gait.

But as smooth shifting as the optional eight-speed Geartronic transmission is, it feels as though it is slightly strangling delivery of the D4’s 178bhp and 295lb ft, even if the 7.6sec 0-62mph time for Geartronic and manual models is identical.

You can, naturally, shift gears manually but to do so feels slightly at odds with the V60’s generally laid-back nature, even in the sporty R-Design trim tested here.

Elsewhere, the V60 D4 is business as usual. The steering is direct but fails to offer the level of engagement of, say a BMW 3-series. But the Volvo rides UK blacktop with far more pliancy than many a rival — even in R-Design trim, shod with 18in wheels.

Volvo says that while the S60 R-Design can slip under the 100g/km barrier, the V60 can’t pull off the same trick because it isn’t quite as slippery. Volvo points to the 18in wheels as the main culprit.

Should I buy one?

Yes: it is almost certainly the best V60 yet in the real world. But bear in mind that another £700 will get you into a BMW 320d M Sport Touring. 

But the V60 D4’s trump card is its running costs, particularly those CO2 emissions of 112g/km as tested in R-Design trim, or 99g/km in standard D4 spec with a manual ‘box. Either way, they’re numbers that the BMW can’t get close to.

That means a BIK rate of 15 per cent in the 2013-14 tax year for the R-Design, while other D4 models creep down to 14 per cent.

Even away from those appealing running costs, there’s much to like. The V60 continues to cut its own path and this punchy new engine does much to widen the appeal of the class’s non-conformist.

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Volvo V60 D4 R-Design Nav Geartronic

Price £32,095; 0-62mph 7.6sec; Top speed 140mph; Economy 64.7mpg (combined); CO2 112g/km; Kerb weight 1662kg; Engine 4 cyl turbodiesel, 1969cc; Power 178bhp at 4250rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1750-2500; Gearbox 8-speed auto

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bomb 24 January 2014


This sparkling new motor makes this smart looking car a real contender, shame about the pathetic boot. When is the new V70 due?

@Citytiger - the D4 is certainly the superior of the BMWs N47 in terms of emissions and refinement, if not performance. But the D4 is a new clean-sheet design and the N47 has been around for a generation so you'd expect it to be ahead. Those BMW units are noisy though!

@Andrew 61 - they're no different to everyone else in designing cars and engines to pass a flawed set of tests that don't represent actual motoring. Like the automotive equivalent of council tax.

Manufacturers have picked the low hanging fruit, now it's time to employ some really clever design to get the weight down whilst maintaining the inherent strength of modern cars.

Andrew 61 23 January 2014

CO2 112g/km

I get a feeling that some of these figures are produced with smoke and mirrors. A 1660 kg car with 180 bhp and near
300lbs ft producing 112g/ km ??? or 99g/km in standard D4 spec !!!
Citytiger 23 January 2014


The truth, BMW engines are no longer king, and this new Volvo plant is probably the best combination of efficiency, refinement and power currently available from any manufacturer of 2.0 litre 4 cylinder diesels, and it was designed in house.