At its heart, the Volvo S60 is a midsize luxury/sport sedan. But, that only tells part of the story. The S60 was completely redesigned just last year and the result is a great looking sedan that will have most people re-thinking what Volvo is all about.

While the S60's new sheet metal look as aggressive as any other sports sedan on the road today, the engine, ride and handling are impressive too. As expected, Volvo's midsize sedan has tons of safety features including an automatic braking system and available adaptive cruise control. Anyone shopping for an Acura TL, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class should at least take the S60 for a test drive.

Here are five reasons to consider the 2012 Volvo S60:

1. Stylish Interior: The floating dash design that's been in use on other Volvos now shows up in the S60. Ask any designer or art student and they'll tell you that simple is the new clever and that philosophy is in full effect inside the S60. The straightforward yet elegant gauges, subtle use of metallic trim plus controls that look as good as they feel all lend the S60's cabin an air of sophistication.

2. Sleek Body: Volvo's S40 kicked off the trend toward more stylish Volvos a few years ago. Later came the XC60 and now the S60 builds on the idea that safe cars don't have to be boring. The S60's roof gradually slopes into the rear window and the curved taillights give the S60 a distinct look from behind. Up front, a large grille and three separate openings on the lower front fascia make this one of the most masculine and aggressive looking Volvos ever.

3. Safety Features: Volvo built its reputation on safety, and the S60 continues that theme. Stability control, traction control, side airbags and side curtain head airbags are all standard. Whiplash-reducing headrests are standard, as is the company's City Safety Feature. Volvo's City Safety recognizes stationary objects when the vehicle is traveling under 19 mph. It will apply the car's brakes bringing it to a full stop if it senses that a collision is likely. The optional Technology Package adds safety features like adaptive cruise control, driver attention monitor, lane departure warning and collision warning. A blind spot warning system that lets you know if a car is in your blind spot can also be added.

4. Smooth, Powerful Engines: Which ever S60 you opt for you'll get a powerful, responsive turbocharged engine that give the S60 the kind of responsiveness we've come to expect from European cars. The base T5 model uses an ultra-smooth 2.5 liter, turbocharged five-cylinder engine that makes 250 hp. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard and the car gets from 0-60 in less than seven seconds, yet still delivers 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. The T6 has a more powerful turbocharged 3.0 liter inline six-cylinder engine, making 300 hp. The more aggressive looking S60 R-Design uses the same 3.0 liter engine as the T6 but gets 325 hp in addition to extra spoilers and different wheels.

5. All-Wheel Drive: While the T5 is front wheel drive, T6 models get all-wheel drive. It's a fairly sophisticated system that can limit or transfer power to a specific wheel depending on the driving conditions. This makes it an ideal car for foul weather but also improves handling when the roads are dry.

author photo

Brian Moody heads up the editorial team. He has been an automotive writer and presenter for 15 years. Prior to that, Moody spent several years working in local television news and worked at a few used car dealerships in Sacramento, California. His first car was a 1964 Buick Skylark, but today he has a strange fascination with 1990s era GM luxury cars - don’t ask. Brian lives near Atlanta with his wife and two kids.

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