The sleek luxury limousine S90 is the second all-new Volvo, after the XC90. I met Thor’s S-class in the most appropriate surroundings, the Cape Winelands between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Volvo’s revival and reinvention under Chinese rule kick-started in 2014 with the fabulous, multi-award winning XC90.The new Swedish business limousine S90 is based on the super cooled SUV. And it uses the same engine range as its bigger brother - 2.0-l. diesel and petrol power plants.
First impression, it is a really beautiful car. Showing off understatement. It’s not bragging. With distinct Scandinavian lines, nordic, matter-of-factly. Maybe a bit more complicated than the competition. But also more beautiful. Serenity instead of delusions of grandeur. Facing onlookers, the Thor’s hammer signature headlight design is unique. And the 23 metal rips in the concave grille are derived from the iconic P1800. Blowing some fresh Northern wind into the large, executive sedan segment, dominated by the Mercedes E-class and the BMW 5-series.
For decades Volvo lived by the motto ‘better safe than sexy’. Don’t worry the newly found attractiveness didn’t diminish the safety of the S90. It is packed with driver assist programs, that would fill a book. The S90 sedan, and the V90 wagon for that matter, recently made Volvo the first car maker to score a full six points in the Autonomous Emergency Braking for Pedestrians (AEB Pedestrian) test procedure. And an overall 5 Star rating for both cars. The results surpassed the best overall score of any model tested in 2016 and now make Euro NCAP's top-3 best-ever performing cars all Volvos.
Conclusion: The Swedes are now safe and sexy. I take both, diesel and petrol, up and down Franschhoek pass. In the diesel there is a slight hesitation, while overtaking uphill. But otherwise the four-cylinders perform surprisingly well. And the all-wheel drive makes the Swede stick like wet snow to an unwaxed ski.
Clearly on a path of success right now and with all the two money-making sellers in place, I am cautiously optimistic, that Volvo will soon be embracing their heritage. By reintroducing their iconic P1800 in a contemporary guise, as shown a while ago in the breathtaking Concept Coupe. Please Thor, hammer this one out.
Volvo S 90 T5/D4/D5/T6
Engine 2.0-l. turbo diesel & petrol engines
Power 187/140/173/235kW and 350/400/480/400Nm
Top Speed 230/230/240/250 km/h
0-100km/h 6.8/8.2/7/5.9 seconds
Price from R675 200 to R871 900
The iconic Volvo P1800
The stunning Volvo concept coupe.