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2007 Volvo S80 Review

2007 Volvo S80 (select to view enlarged photo)
Click PLAY button below for S80 running footage

2007 Volvo S80 Goes Hollywood

By Annabelle Frankl

There's plenty of glitz and glamour in Hollywood with almost daily red carpet premieres, award ceremonies and celebrity appearances and endorsements. Aligning your brand with a Hollywood heavy hitter is an ideal way to promote your product whilst rubbing shoulders with the very elite that you’d like to actually buy your goods.

One of the most respected ‘industry’ (as in film, not car) players in town is BAFTA/LA - the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Los Angeles - a not-for-profit establishment that boasts many of the biggest names in Film & TV as both its members and recipients of its annual awards.

In addition to the annual BAFTA’s, handed out in London each year just prior to the Oscar ceremony in L.A., BAFTA’s L.A. arm also holds a big fundraiser, the Cunard Britannia Awards, each November, at one of the swanky hotels in town. Honoring stars of film and television, it’s a very plush affair and one at which sponsors clamour to be involved.

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For the past few years, Volvo has been just such a sponsor, deeming BAFTA/LA to be a snug fit for its core values and entertainment-related endeavors. What better way to showcase your new ‘Scandinavian Luxury’ – in the form of the all-new S80 – than in front of 1000 of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters? Who’s in the room? Clint Eastwood – check. Sidney Poitier – check. Halle Berry – check. Harvey Weinstein – check. Steven Spielberg – check. Sharon Stone – check. The heads of all the talent agencies – check. The heads of many of the studios – check. Trend setters, style makers, green-lighters and legends of the film industry, all focused on the live auction of Volvo’s soon-to-be released (but not yet available to the public, nay) top of the line sedan.

CLICK HERE to watch an extended video featurette about the new S80.

Highlighting the car’s mix of simplistic design and cutting edge technology, its 311HP 4.4 liter V8 or 235HP 3.2 liter inline 6, a new 6-speed automatic, and more safety features than you could shake a stick at, the audience’s attention is fixed and concentrated on the auctioneer and the giant screen behind her. Starting at a bargain $30,000, bidding quickly gets underway. Bear in mind this a room full of entertainment types who are used to ‘the deal’, as in what’s my fee, what’s my credit, what’s my backend, do I get a cut of merchandising! Thus, as more features (perks) of the deal (car) are revealed, the higher the bids rise:

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An advanced chassis that gives you three settings: comfort, sport and advanced. Having driven the car in Las Vegas, both down the world-famous strip and on some twisty national park roads, if the surface is smooth, hit the advanced and enjoy the S80s taut handling. Up we go to $32,000.

A Collision Warning with Brake support system that helps you avoid rear-ending the car in front. Perfect for stop/start traffic on your daily commute when, let’s face it, zoning out is de rigeur, those clever Swedes tell you if you’re approaching the car in front too quickly with Hollywood-esque pyrotechnics (OK, a red light and a loud beep), whilst also preparing the brakes for their imminent deployment. Just don’t try and overtake someone too closely (ahem) or else the car is likely to think you’re about to rear-end them and it’s all systems go…or rather, stop. Any more bids, at $35,000?

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Something I’ve encountered on other cars and that the S80 now boasts is a BLIS – Blind Spot Information System. Again, perfect for US roads, where everyone can overtake/undertake/take you out on the freeway, the system uses cameras and sensors to let you know if someone’s entered your blind spot. Certainly no substitute for a quick glance over your left shoulder, but definitely good for those LA drivers who usually have a cell phone blocking that left view most of the time! $37,500.

Unlike some other luxury carmakers, Volvo knows that searching through 4 menus to reach something as basic as the volume control is, well, damn frustrating to say the least! The waterfall display of audio and climate settings are simple and easy to use, with further menus – accessible only at a stop – that allow for further personalization of various features. The nav system pops out of the top of the dash, although finding the ‘open’ button on the back of the steering wheel took a while; obviously once you know it’s there, no problem. $40,000. Come on, Ladies & Gentleman, this is still well-below sticker.

The designers of the S80 were, apparently, inspired by nature, and the car is certainly understated in its design. The interior is very soothing on the eyes, very natural in its lines and materials. Opt for perforated leather front seats and choose whether your tush is heated or cooled. Don’t tell the stars, or they’ll demand it in every contract! Do I hear $42,000?

In keeping with our tech-savvy age, the car let’s you plug & play both iPods & MP3 players, plus it’s Bluetooth friendly. Receive a text on your phone and it shows up in the car’s information display. All-the-better to keep on top of that weekend’s box office receipts. Do I hear $44,000?

By this stage, it’s a bidding war between Ron Yerxa, producer of the runaway hit, “Little Miss Sunshine” and who already bought the C70 at a previous function, and Karen Allen, whose husband Brian is one of the head honchos over at Galpin. Ron finally calls it a day at $45,000 and Karen walks off happily with her new car. The money’s going to a good cause but the fact that she’s got it under-sticker can’t hurt either.

Even if she had paid MSRP, I still think she’d have got a good deal. The S80 is so well equipped, compared to its direct competitors, for under $50,000, and does it with a stylish, luxurious new package.

Oh, and the upside of the evening? Ron called the next day and wants to get an S80 anyway. It is show business after all.

All New Volvo S80 3.2 I6 priced from $38,705
All New Volvo S80 V8 priced from $47,350

Click PLAY button below to watch a video clip of Volvo's new Ready Alert system.