We take the latest Volvo s90 out for a spin.
Sweden; A country famous for flatpack furniture, a band called ABBA and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bicycle kick over England from 30 metres out. But now one of their stalwarts in the automotive industry has produced a new car, and we’ve had the chance to take it for a drive.
The Engine Bit
The T6 variant we drove comes equipped with a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine providing 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard on this car and for suspensions you receive control arms set up for the front and leaf springs as standard at the back. The leaf springs can be replaced with optional air suspensions to ensure a more comfortable ride. The S90 also comes in T5 form, powered by a turbo-only version of the 2.0-liter, utilizing front-wheel drive and making 240hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Step on the throttle from zero and the S90 darts out forward instantly. Brake-torquing the engine can switch on launch control, which will help the car blast off a bit harder. Driving on the highway the eight-speed automatic shifts logically and frequently to dish out the best power band according to your speed and driving mannerisms. The S90 gives you the option to play around with the overall driving dynamics, by offering you three choices to chose from; Comfort where your gear changes are smooth and unobtrusive; Eco when the upshifts are quicker and the car shoots forward at the slightest nudge to the throttle and Sport where the gear changes at a higher rev-range and down-shifts are two gears down to give you the maximum torque when you press kick-down.
A feature we found very interesting was the ‘Pilot Assist Function’ which allows the S90 to steer itself. This feature now works at speeds of up to 80mph in conjunction with the adaptive cruise control and works great on highways with clear lane markers.
Volvo has already stated that a T8 twin engine model will be appearing soon producing a 400hp plug-in-hybrid using the same powertrain offered in the XC90. Also on the cards is a wagon based model designated as the V90. The company promises that more new design themes and technology are on the way and the brand will entirely be revamped by next year, making for the youngest product range in the industry.
The interior of this car is incredibly quirky. It blends modern contemporary style with an art deco touch, from the two tone black and beige steering-wheel, to the polished-aluminum adorned vertical A/C vents.
The all around matte-finished open-pore wood trim with plenty of leather keep those who are considering making the jump from a German saloon, a happy one.
The biggest talking point has to be what initially appeared to be a vertically mounted iPad in the dash to serve as its infotainment system. This LCD screen serves as the central control panel to many of the cars settings, with very few analog buttons actually on the dashboard.
The steering column can be adjusted to the highest or lowest setting without obstructing the view from the instrument dials.
Comfortable and well bolstered seats with roomie rear seats offer ample seating space both in terms of head and legroom for rear seat passengers.
Rather than going for the standard start/stop button they opted for an unorthodox yet arguably cooler (certainly more individual) knob next to the gear-selector that says ‘ ENGINE’. To start the S90 all you need to do is just twist it and bingo, the car is ready to roll.
Clean, sweeping lines form the body of the S90, you can tell the Swedes have done without the dramatics. It really looks beautiful right from the get go, purely because it stays away from any of it’s competitors cues!
The only shout-y visual cues come on the front of the car in the form of the new chromed out grille with the Volvo badge, and even then they’ve managed to keep it in with the aesthetics of the car without being so in your face.
Another key feature of the S90’s looks that is sure to become a trademark of the brand - having already been adorned on its big brother, the XC90 - are the daytime running lights, uniquely named ‘Thor’s Hammer’. These Swedes...they sure do things differently.
The S90 truly stands out in a highly saturated segment, thanks to its individuality and quirkiness, mixed with its Swedish styling. While the T5 variant does its job in a more than ample manner, we would recommend the T6 for maximum bang-for buck performance. Overall the S90 is a solid, comfortable and beautiful looking European car that breaks away from convention. If you are out in the market looking for something in the mid-luxury segment, something that provides you with individuality and road-presence, then we recommend you go check the S90 out. We can assure you that it won’t disappoint.
© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS APRIL 2017