VOLVO has signposted where its future lies with the latest version of the S60.
With oil burners increasingly persona non grata in the motoring world due to environmental concerns, the third generation of the Swedish company's saloon is the first not to include a diesel option since the C70 rolled off the production line in the late 1990s.
The move signals a commitment to eventual electrification and a long-term future where the traditional combustion engine is no more.
The S60 is also the first model to be built in Volvo's new US manufacturing plant in Charleston, South Carolina - giving the now Chinese-owned manufacturer a global presence in all of its three major sales regions.
The premium mid-sized saloon is available exclusively with petrol and petrol-electric hybrid power and priced from Â£37,935 for the entry-level model. It brings to the table ground-breaking technology and striking Scandinavian design that will help it take on the likes of the Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi's A4.
The 2.0-litre, four cylinder petrol engine underneath the bonnet of the T5 Inscription Plus model I spent a week with packs a punch propelling the front-wheel-drive saloon from 0 to 60mph in a scintillating 6.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 145mph. The power unit is aided and abetted by an eight-speed automatic gearbox which features paddle shifters if manual changes are preferred.
Fuel economy is rated at a best of 39.8mpg while emissions are 152g/km. With routes involving country lanes, urban sprawl and the odd motorway I found the S60 recording a figure in the mid-30s.
There are four different settings designed to tailor the car's responses to your driving mood from ‘Eco' to ‘Dynamic' with an intriguingly named ‘Individual' setting allowing you to set your own parameters for things like engine response, gear shifts and braking.
The ride and handling are smooth with reassuring levels of grip in tight corners, while the driver is guaranteed a decent position behind the steering wheel thanks to powered adjustment.
The increasing amount of potholes littering our roads ensures the suspension gets a good workout with all but the deepest craters making little impression on the car's occupants.
The S60 displays top-notch levels of refinement as wind and road noise are repelled effectively, while the engine only makes its presence felt when you press the pedal to the metal - but even then it is a muted growl that is not too intrusive.
Class-leading connectivity features allow your smartphone to be hooked up to a nine-inch Sensus touchscreen that controls virtually all of the car's functions and is user-friendly.
Other key features available on all models include LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, head-up display, sat nav and the Volvo On Call connected services platform.
The Inscription Plus model adds leather upholstery, driftwood interior inlays, chrome exterior trim and 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
As ever Volvo ensures safety is given a high priority with the S60 featuring the company's pioneering Pilot Assist driver-assistance technology plus cutting-edge collision-avoidance and occupant-protection systems.
The comfortable high-quality cabin features minimalist interior design and lots of room, particularly for rear-seat passengers who also benefit from a fold-out armrest while a large 442-litre boot easily swallows a golf bag, trolley and luggage when taking that well-earned weekend away.
The fit and finish is fantastic with classy materials and soft-touch plastics accentuating the luxury feel of the interior.