Volvo For 1999
By Carey Russ
Boxes are out of style at Volvo this year. The end of boxiness hinted at by the S70 sedan and V70 wagon and emphasized by the C70 coupe is here to stay with the all-new S80 flagship sedan. The S80 is a completely new model that replaces last year's S90 sedan.
The previous large Volvo started life as the 760 in 1982. It was upgraded to 960 specification some time later, and became the S90 in 1998. The only common point between the 1998 S90 and the new 1999 S80 is that both are Volvos. The S90 was a product of the past. The S80 points to Volvo's future. Only a careful look at the grille will tell that it is a Volvo. There are few straight lines and angles in its bold styling.
The S80 is a front-wheel-drive car, much like the smaller S70. In a break from past tradition, it is offered in sedan form only, with no wagon derivative. All S80s are powered by an inline six-cylinder engine, mounted transversely and featuring an in-line transmission. Two versions are offered, a 210-hp 2.9-liter and a 268-hp 2.8-liter turbo for the high-performance T6 model. S80s with the 2.9-liter engine have a four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission; T6 versions add "Geartronic" manual shifting.
Inside, the S80 offers all of the comfort and safety features expected of a luxury sedan and a unique Scandinavian style. There is plenty of room for five people, and all have three-point safety belts and headrests. The front seats feature the "WHIPS" whiplash protection system. All outboard occupants have the benefit of the "IC" inflatable curtain for head and upper body protection in side impacts. Front seat occupants also are protected by the "SIPS" side air bag system.
The S80 is designed for active as well as passive safety. A strong, rigid safety-cage frame and fully-independent suspension give it responsive handling abilities, and standard antilock brakes and a full- range traction control system help the driver to maintain control.
The 1999 S70 sedan and V70 wagon look the same outside but have a variety of enhancements to their engines and electrical, braking, and safety systems. All-wheel-drive, previously offered only on versions of the V70 wagon, is extended to the S70 sedan as well with the introduction of the S70 GLT AWD.
Volvo's "Side Impact Protection System" (SIPS) side-mounted air bags has been extensively redesigned for greater head protection. Dynamic safety benefits from all-speed traction control and electronically-controlled brake force distribution in addition to the basic anti-lock system.
The 1999 70-series five-cylinder engines benefit from improved engine management systems. There are three versions of the engine offered: 162-hp naturally-aspirated, 190-hp "High Torque/Low Rev" low-pressure turbo, and 247-hp high-pressure turbo T5.
The C70 coupe was joined by a convertible version early in the 1998 calendar year. The coupe uses the same 247-hp turbocharged five-cylinder engine as the S70 and V70 T5 performance models, while the standard engine in the convertible is the 190-hp low-pressure turbo five found in other S70 and V70 models. That engine is now available in the coupe as well. Both engines have the same electronic upgrades as are found in the V70 and S70. The all-speed traction and stability control system found in new V70 and S70 models is also found in the 1999 C70s.