Volvo has returned to the large executive sedan segment with the introduction of the brand-new vehicle, S90. The car offers unprecedented Swedish luxury, supreme comfort and space, modern Scandinavian design, Drive-E efficiency and semi-autonomous driving.
The new S90, like the XC90, is built on Volvo Cars’ new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and features a mixed offering of petrol and diesel engines, and is available in three trim levels to cater to a wide audience while also offering a broad spectrum of value and Swedish luxury.
The new Volvo S90 launches in South Africa initially with two engines – the D5 and T6, both with all-wheel drive – in Momentum or Inscription guise. Later in 2017, the D4 and T5 derivatives will follow, with front-wheel drive, and the range-topping T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will make its way to South Africa at a later date.
Greg Maruszewski, MD of Volvo Car South Africa elaborates: “With the new Volvo S90 we are again bringing a new level of luxury to South African motorists. Naturally, it builds on the global successes of the XC90, which has collected over 120 awards to date, including the 2016 WesBank/SAGMJ Car of the Year title in South Africa. We expect that the S90 will continue our brand’s resurgence in the local context as well as globally.
“The S90 is a beautifully elegant large sedan with clean, minimalistic design elements and a truly premium interior, enhanced by our typically generous levels of standard equipment, well-priced optional extras and of course our all-encompassing warranty and maintenance plan. We know that South African buyers in this segment want class, sophistication and luxury – and with the S90 we are now able to offer them such an option which holds significant cost advantages over its main competitors in the segment.
“The S90’s tag line is ‘Relaxed confidence’, and we truly believe this personifies the calm yet assertive nature of the largest sedan in our range.”
The long bonnet is fronted by the new face of Volvo of course – where the new radiator grille, with its 23 concave vertical ribs inspired by the classic Volvo P1800 Coupe of the 1960s and the new Volvo iron mark, is flanked by Volvo’s new signature full-LED headlights which are standard on all derivatives and feature the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running light pattern. A clean and fuss-free air dam signs off the visage and leads to a long (4 963 mm), slender body.
Along the sides, a narrow glasshouse, framed by satin chrome accents, and a relatively clean side profile, is off-set by a long wheelbase (2 941 mm) and well-balanced overhangs. Large wheels, which are at a minimum 18-inches in diameter, ranging up to as much as 21-inches, lend a sporty air to the S90.
At the rear, a long overhang hints at a capacious boot (500 litres), and the large tail light clusters add enormous presence to the sassy rear end. Also exhibiting a new design signature for future Volvo sedans, the LED-based lights are carved by the edges of the boot lid, which is highlighted by the prominent Volvo word mark and model badging.
The S90 is finished off by a fuss-free rear valence which features either twin round- or rhombical tail pipe finishers and a blacked-out middle section – which also enhances the sense of width.
On the inside, the new Volvo S90 is clearly related to the XC90 – albeit with a unique design overhaul for the sedan execution. Space is plentiful and the play on light which enters the cabin is the epitome of Swedish design ethos. Real textures like open-pore wood, aluminium, leather and glass abound, ensuring that no matter which elements may come into contact with occupants of the S90, they always sense absolute class and sophistication.
The dashboard is underscored by a unique metal spline that runs from door to door, which visually grips the outermost air vents and highlights the central infotainment interface.
The same as that which features in the XC90, the 9-inch HD Sensus Connect touch screen interface takes pride of place and, uniquely for the S90, is flanked by gorgeous vertical air vents which feature an ‘air blade’ design with solid metal, diamond-cut shutter knobs – which were originally seen in the Volvo Concept Coupe of 2013, a car which shares much of its design elements with the new S90.
Also unique to the S90 are the three-dimensional décor inserts, which feature on the doors and across the dashboard. Available in a variety of materials including open-pore Linear Walnut, polished Dark Flame Birchwood and Metal Mesh, the visual and textile elements create a truly unique sensory experience.
Other design highlights include Volvo’s signature frameless rear view mirror with standard auto-dimming functionality, diamond-cut roller knobs for the audio system and Drive Mode selector, and of course the standard 12.3-inch HD digital instrument cluster in all derivatives.
The seats, which are of course exceptionally comfortable, have been designed around the human spine and are covered in high-quality leather in all models. The front seats also feature a unique impact-absorbing mechanism which is designed to collapse in the event of the vehicle becoming airborne during a crash, in order to minimise the potential for spinal injuries. In the rear, leg room is excellent, with as much as 911 mm available between the rear passenger’s hip point and the front seat floor mounts.
The new Volvo S90 is also available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as front- or all-wheel drive. All models feature the silky-smooth 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. All engines are part of the Drive-E engine family – designed by Volvo, for Volvo.
The modular, aluminium engines are all 2.0-litres in capacity and all feature forced induction – for a great balance between performance and efficiency with real-world merit.
Diesel power is provided by either the D4 or D5 engines. The D4 is twin-turbocharged to produce 140 kW at 4 250 rpm, with 400 Nm of torque on hand between 1 750 and 2 500 rpm. The quiet and smooth-running engine is mated to the front wheels only and brings excellent efficiency to the table, right from the get-go.
Average fuel economy is 4.4-litres per 100 km on the combined cycle, with corresponding carbon emissions of 116 g/km coming in below the national taxation threshold. Performance figures are respectable, with a 0-100 km/h time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h.
On the petrol front, two options are available. The T5 with front wheel drive sees 187 kW (at 5 500 rpm) and 350 Nm (between 1 500 and 4 800 rpm) on hand for swift performance and an enjoyable drive. Efficiency from this high-pressure turbocharged engine is good – average combined fuel consumption is 6.5-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions are 149 g/km. 0-100 km/h takes 6.8 seconds, and top speed is 230 km/h.
The T6 engine, mated to all-wheel drive, is the cream of the crop. Featuring a turbocharger and a supercharger, which supplements the turbo and takes care of low-down grunt until 3 500 rpm, power and torque is effectively available on demand – the T6 engine produces 235 kW at 5 700 rpm and 400 Nm between 2 200 and 5 400 rpm. The resulting performance is gutsy, with the 0-100 dash completed in 5.9 seconds, with top speed limited to 250 km/h.
Despite the high output, the T6 remains impressively efficient, able to achieve 7.2-litres per 100 km on the combined average, with carbon emissions of 165 g/km.
Pricing: between R698 500 – R857 400.