When launched later this year, the Volvo will lock horns with the BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF and the Audi A6
We had a very excited flight to Spain. As soon as we exited the airport, we were informed that the drive will begin in an hour, which got us a little worried as we did not have time to rest. Upon reaching our hotel, our gaze stuck upon the sedan, gleaming in the Spanish afternoon sun and looking absolutely beautiful.
While everyone was rushing to change and get ready, we stood by the car admiring its little corners and finesses. The proportions of the car are nothing less than majestic. It is based on the company's SPA or ‘scalable architecture’ which is also used in the XC90.
The Thor’s hammer LED DRLs wrap the concave waterfall grille, which is inspired from the P1800, and the company's iron mark sits right in the centre of the grille. The design doesn't come off as radical or aggressive but seems confident and tasteful.
The shoulder line round straight through the car, all the way to the twin stepped wraparound tail lamps which are lifted straight from the concept coupe. The car looks very different compared to the S80 it is set to replace.
It has a shorter overhang by 150mm and a higher roofline. Also, this car sits really low to the ground on 20-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero tyres. We doubt these 20-inch wheels will come to India as we might end up getting 18-inch ones.
Then, we were asked to quickly get ready as the drive was about to begin. So I did precisely that as soon as possible, and arrived by the car, only to be stunned by what it had on offer inside. It was, in one word, brilliant.
This Volvo probability has the best ever interiors I have seen in a sedan. The simplicity of design and attention to detail which was evident on the outside has been carried forward, if not multiplied inside. It shares a lot of bits with the XC90 but that is not at all a bad thing, rather a good one. The dashboard looks like it is built out of a single unit and an aluminium accented line runs along the entire length.
The use of wood is extensive to make you feel you are sitting in a rich, premium cabin. Even the upholstery is of the highest quality and grabs attention. The front seats are the same as on the XC90 and so is the 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which can also be used with gloves on.
The seat settings can be accessed on the information display on the dashboard. It lets you decide the wing support, squab length and lumbar according to your preferences. The driver seat is especially comfortable and gives a good, commanding view of the surroundings.
You sit quite low but the flat bonnet makes sure you view is not interrupted. After settling in comfortably, you see the HUD or the heads up display, which has a number of settings from which you can choose what you want it to display. We set ours to display the map directions and speed.
The car starts in the most dignified way possible. Standing outside it becomes obvious that the engine underneath the hood is a diesel, although a rather refined one.
But, inside, there is no noise and your ears will have to work hard for a sound. With such high levels of refinement, the gear shifts should have been made a little more effortless, but that's just us being spoiled by the Volvo’s comfort.
This Volvo has a 2.0-litre D5 engine which comes fitted with PowerPulse technology to help negate turbo lag. Hence, getting off the line is as easy as a breeze, there is practically no turbo lag as a small cylinder of compressed sends fresh air into the turbo in a bid to make it spool up much faster despite the low amount of exhaust gas pressure. As a result, the S90 has one of the most linear power curves found in any luxury car.
This car comes with a hefty 235PS of peak power, but never feels aggressive. It lives us to its reputation of being relaxed. The acceleration is not neck snapping, rather a linear composed motion. The 8-speed gearbox is a relaxed transmission, even in dynamic mode. Although, when you switch to the dynamic setting, there is a profound change in the car's agility.
The steering weighs up, the throttle response is sharper and the suspension stiffens up but still, the primary focus of the car remains on passenger comfort. The lack of paddle shifters is evidence enough as it never feels like a BMW 5-series and the Jaguar XF. The S90 is clearly built for people who prefer being chauffeured and take taking the wheel occasionally on Sundays.
There is a good amount of body roll as soon as you push the car through a corner, but still, it never feels out of control. The praise here goes to the suspension setup, the rear air suspension, and the Pirelli PZero tyres. The brakes too are progressive and provide plenty of feel.
The IntelliSafe system of the S90 uses radar-guided technology and the pilot assist system uses corrective steering inputs to keep the car in a single lane. The adaptive cruise control and the city safety feature offer a lot of assurance when the situation gets tricky and the sedan also comes with a large animal detection system.
So, the Volvo S90 is a very focused car, and the focus clearly is not on spirited driving. The car is elegant and comfortable. It offers plenty of creature comforts, which will make their way to India as well. The ventilated seats, Bowers and Wilkins 19 speaker sound system, IntelliSafe system with pilot assist and the fully adjustable front seats with massage function are all part of the standard package, which will all be available for around Rs 55 to Rs 60 lakh.
This a brilliant value for money package. When launched later this year, the Volvo will lock horns with the BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF and the Audi A6. This car will never give you goosebumps with its performance, but one has to realise that it is not built for such a thing. What this car does offer is an extremely comfortable city car drive which gets even better on open highways.
The pictures are of the European version.
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