With the launch of the new S60 D5 in January, Volvo has finally joined the growing diesel executive car market.

With the launch of the new S60 D5 in January, Volvo has finally joined the growing diesel executive car market.

The Swedish manufacturer says the new D5 produces more torque than the most powerful five-cylinder petrol engine in the Volvo Cars range and that a significant amount of torque is already available at very low engine speeds. The D5 pumps out 340 N.m at 1 750 r/min, compared with the 330 N.m at 2 400 r/min produced by the 184 kW T5 petrol engine.

The D5244T five-cylinder, in-line, 2,4-litre, all-aluminium, transversely mounted power plant churns out 120 kW at 4 000 r/min. Volvo claims it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 9,5 seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h. Power is dispatched by a manual five-speed M56L gearbox.

The variable nozzle turbine turbocharger is what gives the D5 such an impressive release of torque (340 Nm). With this system, the turbine on the intake side has movable guide vanes that change position to provide optimum flow conditions and a high turbine efficiency rating, throughout the engine speed range. This permits high boost pressure from low engine speeds, and thus a flatter torque curve and higher power output, at every load and speed.

Common-rail technology plays a vital role in modern diesel engines. The common-rail system adopted in the new Volvo D5 is a second-generation development, featuring a higher pressure and load-responsive volume and pressure control.

The amount of fuel and the injection timing are controlled electronically by fast-acting solenoid valves. Fuel is injected directly into the cylinders under exceptionally high pressure, up to 1600 bar. Volvo claims fuel consumption of 6,0 litres per 100 km.

Design-wise, the Volvo S60 D5 shares its modern looks with the rest of the S60 range. A sharp rake on the C-pillars giving it a coupé-type of appearance.

The interior is clean and functional. The rear seats fold down, there’s a load hatch in the rear centre armrest, extra cargo space when the passenger seat backrest is folded down, a multi-functional load and shopping bag holder and sports design seats, which are more deeply contoured and shaped to provide enhanced side support.

The vehicle is equipped with power doors/windows/mirrors, while separate ventilation and heat outlets for the rear passengers provide enhanced comfort. Other standard features include a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, an air-conditioner, a remote keyless entry system, an anti-theft system, cruise control and a boot lid that over extends from centre so taller owners won't bump their heads on the latch.

Being a Volvo, safety is an important area with side impact protection, whiplash protection, active safety, passive safety and interior safety. In order to provide head protection in side collisions, Volvo’s side impact protection system has been supplemented with an inflatable curtain (IC). This is a new type of airbag that is fitted out of sight along each side of the headliner. It provides equal protection for front and rear seat passengers alike. If the car is hit from the side, the IC inflates in a few thousandths of a second. The curtain then remains inflated for about three seconds in order to provide maximum protection throughout complex collision sequences.

The S60 D5 was named best executive diesel car for 2002 by and magazines for quality, design and performance.