• Volvo's base-level S60 T5 now offers all-wheel drive.
  • The new model is expected to start around $33,100.
  • The S60 T5 AWD will be a good match for similarly priced rivals.

Car shoppers in northern states will soon have a new reason to consider Volvo's handsome S60 sedan. The automaker recently announced it will produce an all-wheel drive version of the S60's base-level T5 model, boosting the trim level's appeal to consumers in colder climates.

Expected to arrive in dealerships this summer as a 2013 model, the so-called S60 T5 AWD gives shoppers a less expensive way to get an S60 with all-wheel drive. Previously, all T5 models included front-wheel drive with their $31,300 base price, while S60 buyers interested in all-wheel drive had to step up to the upscale T6 model at nearly $39,000. The new T5 AWD model will likely start around $33,000, which will close the price gap for buyers in cold, snowy climates who need all-wheel drive.

Volvo's decision to offer all-wheel drive in the S60 T5 was likely fueled by the sedan's rivals. Audi's most basic A4, the 2.0T, offers all-wheel drive, as do the BMW 328i, Infiniti G37 and Mercedes C250. In each case, all-wheel drive variants feature starting prices between $33,000 and $37,000 - significantly less expensive than the S60 T6, but on par with the new, more wallet-friendly S60 T5 AWD.

Cold weather car shoppers who opt for the new S60 T5 AWD will enjoy a long list of luxurious standard equipment and a powerful engine. Included among the sedan's standard features are 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, curtain side airbags, satellite radio and Bluetooth, while a 250-horsepower turbocharged five-cylinder engine provides power through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The muscular powertrain is capable of 20 miles per gallon in city driving and an impressive 30 mpg on the highway, but can still hit 60 mph from a standing stop in under seven seconds.

For buyers who want a little extra pep, Volvo will still offer standard all-wheel drive in the upscale S60 T6, which features an exciting 300-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder powerplant. If that's not enough, the S60's new "R-Design" trim level, which joined the lineup for 2012, produces an even more exhilarating 325 horsepower, while still recording up to 26 miles per gallon in highway driving.

What it means to you: The S60 was already worth considering, and a new AWD variant makes it even more enticing.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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