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Hats off to Volvo for having something new every month. First there was that massive overhaul of virtually their entire fleet of models, and now in New York we have the updated Volvo R-Design body packages for the facelifted S60, V60 and XC60.

R what? That’s Volvo’s in-house tuning brand in charge of tarting up their models, essentially the Gothenburg equivalent to BMW’s M-Sport, Merc’s AMG and Audi’s S-line. They specialise mainly in aesthetics, with a few body upgrades to help the handling. As for performance, Volvo relies on their main racing partner, Polestar.

For 2013, Volvo’s 60 cluster gets a new set of sporty clothes by R-Design. The kit includes a unique new front fascia with grey painted elements and integrated LED DRLs. The grille is bespoke too – it’s now frameless with high-gloss black stripes and a subtle R-Design badge.

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At the back you get a matching set of diffuser and enlarged round exhaust pipes. Satin-finished wing mirror housings and R-Design wheels – up to 19-inches on the S60 and V60, 20s for the XC60 – complete the full package. It looks especially good on the S60 and V60, particularly in this tasty shade of red.

Owners get the unique R-Design look and feel on the inside too, with special sports seats and upholstery, sportier blue-infused graphics on the Adaptive Digital Display and of course, a scattering of ‘R’ logos to keep them interested.

The S60 and V60 R-Design have been lowered by 15 mm, with 15% stiffer springs for improved chassis response. New monotube dampers are also used, as are higher-grade bushings and a strut brace to enhance handling. The XC60 R-Design gets a less aggressive dynamic makeover, with tuned springs and anti-roll bars that are firmer and more balanced.

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Increased cornering speeds are guaranteed. To make it go faster on the straights however, you’ll have to opt for the optional Polestar software upgrade. It’s only available on the top of the range T6 engine though, giving you an extra 25 hp on top of the usual 304 hp and 440 Nm. Such equipped, the T6 S60, V60 and XC60 gets to 100 km/h in 5.9, 6.0 and 6.9 seconds respectively, improvements of up to 0.4 seconds.

Volvo expects about 10% of its customers will choose the R-Design option, with the figure rising to 30% for unique markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

Here in Malaysia you can get the current S60 in R-Design form on a per order basis, but expect to pay a healthy premium over the standard models for them. An S60 T5 for instance, would break the RM300,000 barrier if you tick the R-Design option.