The all-new Volvo S90 is available to order from your dealer now, and costs from £32,555. First deliveries are expected in September this year, with the sister V90 estate expected to follow suit in October. The S90 is all set to challenge the likes of BMW’s 5 Series, the Audi A6, Jaguar XF and new Mercedes E-Class.
The S90 is priced to undercut the BMW 520d, which starts from £32,615, and the Jaguar XF, which costs from £32,800. It will have two trim levels in the UK, Momentum and Inscription, with the higher specification offering Nappa leather seats, a 12.3-inch display screen, 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and a hands-free tailgate opening.
Inscription cars cost around £3,000 more than an equivalent Momentum version, but even the entry-level cars get leather upholstery, LED lights, climate control, heated seats and even Volvo's autonomous driving system.
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Engines will broadly match the XC90 but with a two-wheel drive D4 manual providing the entry to the range. It’ll do 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and emit 109g/km of CO2. For comparison, the most economical Jaguar XF emits just 104g/km. Elsewhere, the more powerful D5 diesel cuts the benchmark sprint to 7.3 seconds, though CO2 emissions jump to 133g/km.
But the star of the S90 show is the T8 plug-in hybrid, offering 316bhp and 44g/km CO2 figures. Performance hasn’t been confirmed, but the instant torque and low centre of gravity are likely to make it the top choice for performance car fans - but it's not available at launch, and will join the range later.
The S90 follows the lead set by the award-winning XC90 and shares much with its SUV brother. It sits on the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and uses the same range of four-cylinder engines. It’s offered with steel or air suspension systems and has a very similar hi-tech, upmarket interior.
The exterior look also apes that of the SUV with LED headlights and the striking ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running lights standard on all cars. However, the big, bold Volvo grille is concave and more upright than on the XC90.
The S90 is longer and wider than the outgoing (and pretty much forgotten) S80 saloon and, according to Volvo, is verging on being the biggest car in its class. There’s loads of room up front, with plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel and seat, while in the rear you’ll easily fit taller adults behind a six-foot driver. Those wanting even more space will need to wait for the V90 estate, due for reveal at the Geneva Motor Show next March.
The XC90 has proved that Volvo can make a modern, luxurious and premium interior – and the S90 follows very much the same theme. There’s a nine-inch portrait-style touchscreen dominating the centre of the dash, flanked by longer air vents and the same precision finished controls.
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The screen itself sits more upright in the S90, reflecting the fact that driver and passenger sit lower than in the XC90. Leather will be standard on all models, as will sat-nav, while the same knurled controls for the audio, starter knob and drive mode scroll wheel will also feature.
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With Volvo sticking with the 90 designation for its luxury models (alongside 60s and 40s), an off-road version of the V90 can’t follow the existing XC70’s badging. Instead, all V models in Volvo’s range will be available with rugged Cross Country trim. This won’t be available on the S saloon models.
As with the XC90, the S90 has a strong tech story, with Apple CarPlay available on the big touchscreen and a stereo from British audiophiles Bowers and Wilkins.
The safety story is even stronger than on the XC90, too. There’s the same City Safe autonomous emergency braking, self-parking, 360 degree camera system and pedestrian detection, but the semi-autonomous driving feature that will follow the car in front (and the lines in the road) to leave you feet-free and hands-free is now available at speeds of up to 80mph. That’s a big jump from the measly 30mph in the XC90. We’re told an upgrade will be available for XC90 owners, but Volvo hasn’t decided whether it will charge existing owners for the privilege – let’s hope it sees sense on that one.
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Also upgraded is the detection system that keeps a look out for large animals – moose or elk in Sweden, more likely deer or horse in the UK.
Volvo has no plans to flood the market with S90s, and according to UK MD Nick Connor, “We can take as many as we like – we don’t have to chase volume.” That means residual values should be protected and leasing or PCP rates competitive with premium rivals. Connor also told us that Volvo won’t be chasing the BMW’s driver prowess, either, preferring a more relaxed approach that will be ideal for longer motorway journeys.
If taking the S90’s slightly alternative route appeals, order books will open when UK pricing is announced in the spring, while cars will arrive in dealers for the 66-reg plate change next September.
Do you think the new Volvo S90 can mix it with the usual German suspects? Let us know in the comments section below...