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Volvo Visits Its Roots with Second Generation 2007 S80

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2007 Volvo S80

Courtesy AIADA

By Michelle Krebs
AIADA Contributing Editor

GENEVA, Switzerland – Volvo recently unveiled its second-generation, flagship S80 sedan, the North American success of which is particularly important to the Swedish automaker.


North America is the S80’s largest market. Volvo anticipates 50,000 sales of the new S80 worldwide, with 20,000 plus annually in the U.S. alone.


Volvo’s S80 goes on sale in Europe in June and in February 2007 in the U.S., where its price likely will start around $40,000. The top-of-the-line sedan is positioned against the Audi A6, which was the company’s benchmark in developing the S80. It also aims at the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. In the U.S., it further targets Asian luxury sedans, like the Acura RL, Infiniti M and Lexus GS.


“This car plays a very important role worldwide because it is our top-of-the-line sedan, and it is a product that enhances our position in the premium segment,” said Silvia Güllsdorf, S80 project director, in a telephone interview before the unveiling.


The S80 is particularly important to Volvo in North America, as it is the car’s largest market. Volvo anticipates 50,000 sales of the S80 worldwide, with 20,000 plus annually in the U.S. alone.


The first S80 was introduced in 1998. Since then, Volvo has discovered that the emphasis on Scandinavian design, which has been successfully used on the C70, S40 and S60 as well, resonates with consumers. With the S80, Volvo will play up its ethnic roots even more using a theme of “Scandinavian luxury.”


“The first S80 was the start of our new design language and new image,” said Güllsdorf. “With the new S80, we’re showing how far we have come in a few years in design and technology with a lot of new safety and comfort systems that will trickle down to other products as we develop new generations of them.”


Volvo cranks up the S80 a notch by offering for the first time a V8 engine, one borrowed from the XC90 sport utility, which was Volvo’s first V8 engine in history. The 4.4-liter V8 in the S80 produces 311 horsepower and 325 lbs.-ft. of torque. “The engine is importance to gain our place in the segment, which has all V8 engines,” said Güllsdorf. 


The inline six-cylinder is larger than the one it replaces with horsepower increased to 235 horsepower and 236 lbs.-ft. of torque. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, although only the automatic will be sold in the U.S. The V8 version of the S80 comes standard with all-wheel drive; it is optional with the inline six-cylinder engine.


The new S80 adds available adaptive cruise control to maintain a given distance from the car ahead and swiveling bi-Xenon headlights to see around curves.


Also offered is what Volvo calls the world’s first remote car monitor. The pocket-sized monitor for the Personal Car Communicator (PCC) sends and receives information from the car.  By pressing a button from as far away as 330 feet, the car owner find out if the car is lock or unlocked, the alarm is off or on and, using a highly sensitive heartbeat sensor, if someone is in the car.

Mar 7, 10:25 AM 2006