Let's see... 250hp with a 5-speed and FWD on a ~1997 era GM Vectra platform
ith basic shocks and 12" brakes with floating calipers
versus 300hp with a 6-speed and AWD on a ~2001 era Volvo platform that was
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engineered from the ground up for the car with an active chassis system and 13" Brembos on all corners
I'm assuming that cost isn't a factor for you, so why is this even a question?
I love my 9-5 Aero, the engine note is this wonderful growl and for the money it's a great performance package. But it's still a pretty coarse, unrefined driving experience and it's a real one-wheel peel mobile in first through third.
The R is hardly a refined driving experience, but it's still miles above the 9-5 when it comes to handling. In the straights though it's more of a toss-up. my Aero seems to do a pretty good job of keeping up with my friend's R at highway speeds, though the AWD R understandable demolishes me off the line.
I guess the best way to sum up each car is that the R is kinda like a Swedish STI, a slightly nose-heavy but blisteringly fast AWD car with 300hp that really responds well to being manhandled in the twisties. The 9-5 Aero on the other hand is like a Swedish SRT-4, a somewhat overpowered FWD car with the 4-banger from hell that's a bit of a white-knuckle driving experience any time you expect the front wheels to steer as well as making the car go.
As an aside, the S60R also has a phenomenal engine note, though the inline-5 is a bit more athletic sounding than the rumbling, hissing Aero engine.
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