Edward Stephens feels the wind in his sails with Volvo’s V60 special edition

Buying a special edition of any car has the bonus of making you stand out in the crowd.

But some special editions are so blatantly over the top that it cheapens the brand.

Not so, however, Volvo’s Ocean Race special editions which are tasteful, subtle and now available to order.

To celebrate the start of the fourth Volvo Ocean Race the company has launched three limited edition models, the V60, XC60 and XC70, specifically designed with the sailing adventure in mind.

Volvo says the design details are “inspired by life on board a boat and help distinguish these models from their standard counterparts with unique interior and exterior refinements.”

I sampled a D5 version of the V60, which has had an engine upgrade for model year 2012 from 205 hp/420 Nm to 215 hp/440 Nm. At the same time fuel consumption has been reduced by eight per cent.

So what do you get in the special edition that you don’t get in the standard model?

Well for starters two distinctive exterior colours, Volvo Ocean Blue II or Electric Silver. Meanwhile, inside, the sail-inspired leather upholstery in off-black or soft beige is luxuriously soft, has classic sail stitching and features an embossed Volvo Ocean Race Logo on the backrest of the front seats.

Other features are the uniquely designed alloy wheels, chromed detailing and the Volvo Ocean Race emblem on the front wings.

The load cover has the Volvo Ocean Race logo in print with stitching and sheet detailing, there are textile floor mats with clew (lower corner of a sail) inspired details in aluminium and the tread plate in aluminium is embossed with the text “Volvo Ocean Race”.

If that was not enough the dashboard display shows the Volvo Ocean Race logo and text every time you start the car.

With all-wheel-drive this beefy, five-cylinder diesel gives impressive performance and has outstanding grip in the wet. Equipped with a six-speed automatic gearbox it offers seamless changes and exceptionally refined performance.

Slip the gearshift into “Sport” and the D5 takes on a new persona with much more rapid acceleration as it hangs on to every gear, although the noise level does go up several decibels.

This big diesel offers keyless entry and ignition, you simply push a dashboard button to start the vehicle – as long as the key fob is in your pocket.

But probably the nicest thing of all about this car is the overall feeling of quality when you sit inside.

Pull down the leather-covered central armrest in the back seat, open it up and you have a distinctive oddments compartment one side and pop-out cupholders the other, all beautifully engineered, as is the car.

There are no less than three 12-volt sockets in the car – one in the front, one in the rear and one in the luggage compartment – so there is never any reason to let the batteries in your portable gadgets go flat.

Fast Facts

Volvo V60 D5 Ocean Race Edition
Price: £34,465
Mechanical: 215 bhp, from 2400cc, five cylinder diesel engine driving all wheels via a six speed automatic gearbox.
Max speed: 127mph 0-60mph: 7.8 secs
Combined mpg: 41.5
CO2 emissions: 169 g/km
Warranty: 60,000 miles/three years