Marking Volvo’s return to the large executive sedan segment, the all-new S90 offers unprecedented Swedish luxury, supreme comfort and space, modern Scandinavian design and semi-autonomous driving as standard on all models. The all-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.
Longer, wider and lower than competitors, the sleek design is actually reminiscent of a sports coupe rather than a large saloon. The long bonnet is fronted by the new face of Volvo where the new radiator grille. The grille features 23 concave vertical ribs, inspired by the classic Volvo P1800 Coupe of the 1960s. The hallmark Volvo ‘iron mark’ is flanked by new signature full-LED headlights, which are standard on all derivatives. The headlight feature the Swedish brand’s ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running light pattern.
Along the sides, a narrow glasshouse, framed by satin chrome accents, and a relatively clean side profile, is off-set by a long wheelbase 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 all-new S90.
At the rear, a long overhang hints at a capacious boot and the large taillight clusters add enormous presence to the rear end. The LED-based taillights are carved by the edges of the boot lid, which is highlighted by the prominent Volvo word mark and model badging. The all-new S90 is finished off by a fuss-free rear look, which features either twin round- or rhombical tail pipe finishers and a blacked-out middle section.
The all-new S90 is available with a choice of two petrol power units: T5 and T6. The T5 with front wheel drive sees 187 kW (250 hp) 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. 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 enables the power unit to produce 235 kW (315 hp) and 400 Nm. 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. The 8-speed automatic transmission features a single-clutch, planetary automatic gearbox offers quick and smooth shifting.
Suspension in the S90 is similar to that of the XC90, with a double wishbone and coil spring setup at the front with a stabiliser bar, and an integral axle with transverse composite leaf spring employed at the rear along with hydraulic dampers and a stabiliser bar.
The all-wheel drive versions of the S90 feature an all-wheel drive system. A compact and lightweight coupling distributes the engine’s power between the front and rear wheels. Under normal, dry conditions, practically all of the power is distributed to the front wheels.
The system constantly calculates the need for torque on the rear wheels and can instantly redistribute up to 50 per cent of the engine’s torque rearwards. When at a standstill, full all-wheel drive is always engaged to prepare for maximum traction during acceleration off the line.
All S90 derivatives are semi-autonomous up to 130 km/h. The semi-autonomous features of the S90 are provided by the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Pilot Assist. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses radar and a camera to manage the S90’s speed in relation to the car in front, when applicable and up to 200 km/h. The system reacts readily to changing conditions, and is capable of bringing the S90 to a complete stop.
As an extension of ACC, new-generation Pilot Assist allows the S90 to control steering input at speeds up to 130 km/h, provided there are clear lane markings on both sides of the car. This ‘driver in the loop’ system is provided as an outright assistance feature and requires the driver to keep at least one hand on the wheel and maintain focus on the road at all times. Pilot Assist comes in particularly handy on the daily commute and especially when stuck in a traffic jam.
On the inside, the all-new S90 is clearly related to the XC90 though with a unique design overhaul for the saloon execution. Space is plentiful and the play on light, which enters the interior, is the epitome of Swedish design philosophy. 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 9-inch HD Sensus Connect touch screen interface 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 all-new S90.
Also, unique to the all-new S90 are the three-dimensional decor inserts, which feature on the doors and across the dashboard. 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.
Fitted as standard with ten high-quality speakers. Bluetooth, USB, aux and radio functionality are available as standard, with an optional CD player available as well. Internet connectivity also features as standard, with the all-new S90 able to tap into a smart device’s network connection or an external Wi-Fi network which enables downloadable vehicle updates.
Blunt. Sensible. These are a few of the descriptors we’ve levelled at recent Volvo models, including the outgoing S80 luxury saloon. That has all changed with the launch of the all-new S90. No longer just a sensible compromise, the all-new Volvo S90 is an impressive addition to the midsize luxury sedan class. While it lacks some of the polish of its German peers, it offers a roomy and elegant interior, a confident driving feel, and Volvo’s traditional focus on innovative safety features. There is no denying that the all-new S90 presents a departure from the dull conservative styling visible on past Volvos. Amazon Motors Limited located along Loita Street, in Nairobi is the place to go to for all your Volvo inquiries.
Quote: Space is plentiful and the play on light, which enters the interior, is the epitome of Swedish design philosophy.
What we like
- Striking looks
- Great engines
- Top notch interior
What we dislike
- Expensive optional extras
- Large wheels reduce comfort
- Limited boot space compared to rivals