2007 Volvo S80 Review - VIDEO ENHANCED
New Flagship for Volvo
By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel.com
By February you’ll be able to drop in to your local Volvo dealer, plop down 45-grand (or so) and go home with one of the sweetest new luxury sedans on the planet, the fresh new S80. We had a close look and some wheel time on the desert roads with it last week and came away considerably impressed.
CLICK HEREhref> to watch a video featurette about the new S80.
On this side of the pond we have only an all-wheel-drive V8 with six-speed automatic transmission or a front-wheel-drive Inline 6-cylinder with the same transmission. Both are smooth, competent and entirely befitting an upscale luxury sedan from Europe.
We drove both and found the quad-cam, 32-valve V8, which displaces 4.4-liters and makes 311 horsepower, quite exciting, and perhaps the better choice, depending on one’s priorities. The Swedish engineers (or perhaps their Ford colleagues, I know not who) have tuned the V8’s exhaust to give a nice throaty rumble from inside - particularly on full throttle - and a crisp, but subdued, crackle from the outside. All this is finished off with chrome-tipped dual exhausts dressing up the rear nicely.
The 3.2-liter, 235 horsepower I6, while considerable less exciting, is certainly competent. Enthusiastic drivers will be satisfied – perhaps not entirely satiated – by keeping the revs up and accelerating through winding roads managing the gears in manual mode. Fortunately, this new six-speed automatic gearbox has a manual mode. Shifts are remarkable smooth, though not real quick. Remember, this is a luxury sedan not a sport sedan.
Zero-to-60-mph times are 6.5 seconds on the V8 and 8.0 for the I6. Redline shows 6,500 rpm on the V8’s tach but the transmission won’t allow us past 6,300 before shifting. We never got to test the rev limiter. Dang! Observed gas mileage, according to the cars’ information systems, were 19.4 for the V8 and 21.5 for the I6. Of course, that’s with some pretty spirited driving by a bunch of overzealous journalists.
Styling is evolutionary and, at least in my subjective opinion, very attractive. The new S80 retains the Volvo, high-shouldered, shapely profile and keeps the same overall length. Width, height and track are all increased incrementally giving it a touch more modern flare and a slightly more athletic look. To me Volvo’s current styling language conveys confidence, competence and Scandinavian attractiveness, like a pretty blonde doctor with a Swedish accent.
Rear seat accommodations appear generous. Though like most big sedans today, including Rolls Royce, one wouldn’t want to spend much time in the middle seat position which makes a bit of a ridge between the seats.
We have also come to expect from the Scandinavians a leading edge level of safety, and we’re not disappointed with the new S80. Active whiplash mitigation system, lots of advanced air bags, a blind spot warning device, an intricately designed energy absorbing substructure, swiveling headlights that allow us to see into the turn, a personal safety system that includes heartbeat sensors inside the car to warn of miscreants hiding within, adaptive cruise control and an impending collision warning system, along with all the expected systems, make this Volvo second to none in thoughtful safety systems.
The new S80 will be trickling in to dealers shortly before the February 1st introduction date. The I6 front-wheel-drive starts at $38,700 and the V8 AWD at $47,300. When we compare the Volvo with equivalent cars from the other Euro makers - the 5-Series BMW, Audi S6 and Mercedes E-Class - the Volvo costs a bit less. If we lined them all up in a row and poured over them critically I’m not sure we’d find any one dominating the others in desirability.