Volvo S60 2.5 T SE | Shed of the Week

What price a five-cylinder petrol engine?

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 15 April 2022 / Loading comments

What’s wrong with this Volvo S60? Just look at it. It has a turbocharged intercooled inline five-cylinder 2.5, the motor that went on in slightly modified form to power the Focus RS and which in this Volvo put out a more than ample 207hp at 5,000rpm and 236lb ft of torque between 1,500rpm and 4,500rpm. It also has all the gear and comfort you could ever want, including lusciously pillowy heated seats, climate control, parking sensors and Volvo’s universally admired top o’ the line HU-803 audio. The MOT runs to September and the only note on the last test was for thin rear brake pads, hardly something to get your knickers in a twist over.

So why is it only £1,490? One word, probably: Geartronic. Sometimes referred to as a ‘manumatic’, though not so much in the UK, Geartronic was Volvo’s equivalent of Porsche’s Tiptronic. Made for Volvo by Aisin in Japan. these were normal hydraulic torque converter automatic gearboxes that had the facility of being lobbed it into manual mode at any time.

As mentioned with the Merc E320 shed a couple of weeks ago, the W button on the gearshift panel stood for Winter mode. This forced the gearbox to lock out lower gears when starting off from zero on a slippery surface. Mrs Shed will confirm that Shed has never been very good with buttons, especially small and hard to find ones, but he is fairly sure that Volvo’s W button could block not only first but also second if the conditions were bad enough. If you tried to give it too much throttle from rest in third, however, the box would think you were a prannet and go back to normal shifting.

The five-speed Geartronic found in first-generation S60 2.5 Ts like our shed teamed up with the warblesome five-pot to deliver a 0-62mph time in the low sevens and a 143mph top end, but if the ‘good for the lifetime of the car’ AT fluid wasn’t changed every 35,000 miles or so you’d get sticky solenoids, leading to sticky gearshifting and/or juddering.

The turbo five engines have been shown to be pretty reliable but worn PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valves and hoses would cause poor running and oil leaks. Timing belts were on a 10 year/100k replacement schedule but the water pumps could last twice as long as that. As such you shouldn’t get the usual cry of ‘do ’em both at the same time guv’ from your local grease monkey when you take it in for the belt. If you get that cry, consider changing your grease monkey.

In fairness the Geartronic wasn’t the only thing to beware of in S60s of this vintage. Alarms, door locks, airbags, instrument panels, auto-dimming mirrors, heater blowers and cores, air con compressors, brake boosters, fuel filler tubes, fuel pumps, ABS modules and the audio system could all play up. The central cubby didn’t have a premium look or feel to it and the rubbery coating used on some of the centre stack buttons had a tendency to peel off. Condensation could mess up the headlamps and more serious amounts of water could enter the cabin via scuttle or sunroof drains. Fortunately this car doesn’t have a sunroof, but nor does it have an awful lot of room in the back. For legroom that didn’t make your feet go purple you would go for the V70 estate.

All in all then, remembering that the official combined fuel consumption figure is around 28mpg dropping to 20 in town and the annual tax is £360, it might appear that you will be in for some hefty running expenses on this S60. Or you could be lucky. This one seems to have been cared for. It presents very nicely in gunmetal, with no rust either visible or commented on at any point in 16 years of online MOT history. Practically all of the advisories over that time have related to consumables. The test reports indicate that it’s had new steering and suspension parts within the last few years, which is good news because they go pop too. All you need really is a splash of Back To Black on the door rubbing strips and you’re all set. What could possibly go wrong?

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