I was on the market for a half decent performance car to replace my Jaguar XJ Sport, and had been looking at Sapphire Cosworths, 300ZXs, Supras & GTI-Rs etc.
Then I came across this little beauty at an auction.
I picked it up at a very reasonable price as it was a Northern Ireland registered car, and I'm so glad I did! I paid the same money for this 3 year old car than I would have for a 12 year old Cosworth. It also came with a full main dealer service history.
I can truly say that this is the most ergonomically friendly and comfortable car I have ever driven - and I used to own a valet company so I've driven almost every car there is!
The leather seats adjust in every way you could think to hug you and give support where ever you need it, and the steering wheel is also fully adjustable for rake and height. All of the cockpit switches and knobs are angled toward the driver so they're easily accessible, and a lot of functions can be done via stalks or steering wheel buttons. There are also 3 cup holders in the front. The only thing I can fault on this front is that the heater / AC fan speed knob is on the passenger side of the dash, so I find myself having to reach over to use it. The only other bad points I found with the rest of the interior is the lack of rear leg space, and the fact that there are no ashtrays anywhere in the car.
The audio system is one of the best I've heard for a factory standard unit, even better sounding than the BMW & Land Rover Harmon Kardon upgrades. It has a 4 CD disc changer, which takes all of the discs through the slot on the stereo, so there's no messing around changing discs in the boot. It has Dolby surround sound, with all effects / speaker levels etc being adjustable, and a very, very impressive reproduction of bass and treble frequencies. It has all the mod cons too, rds, large LCD text display advanced menu, etc, and can even be set to increase the volume levels as you increase the speed of the car.
The performance of the car is very satisfying. With 180 BHP as standard it’s an extremely smooth & powerful engine and ride, and has plenty of power for overtaking etc, and feels very torquey in the low revs range. It has impressive acceleration, but you can't really put it to good use in first gear - even with traction control turned on it battles to keep the rubber on your front wheels whilst pulling away. It's not quite Subaru killing performance, remember it's not built for that, but if driven properly it will deliver enough power to see off ST24s, Mercedes C230 kompressors and the odd 325 BMW.
The handling is very tight and precise, and has a feel more like gliding that driving. There's no noticeable body roll on corners or roundabouts, and has low profile 225/45/17 tires on 17 inch rims, which all add up to give a very sporty and capable feel.
The exterior styling is subtle, but sporty. Nice and unusual round curves, low stance, and 17" multi spoke rims and front fogs, colour coded everything etc. It looks identical to the bigger S80 from a distance, but it's actually smaller than a Mondeo.
Seeing as I came from a Jaguar XJ8 Sport, my expectations of a Sports Exec car were quite high, and this car met them all. I would definitely recommend an S60 over any other car in its class (3 series, c class Mondeo).
I think when I've finished with this one I'll try the S60-R (300BHP AWD version).