Volvo, once the stodgiest car company on the planet (that never happened- Ed.), is now revving things up with new models that are not just safe and sane, but downright exciting. Sales have taken a nice upward turn recently, especially since the all new, twin-engine XC90 7 passenger sport utility vehicle hit the market.
Volvo has been casting covetous glances at the success Mercedes, Audi and BMW have been having with their midsize luxury car offerings and decided it would like a piece of that pie for itself. Behold the S90, a sedan version of the XC90. It takes its design cues from the Volvo Concept Coupe that made the rounds on the auto show circuit in 2013. In fact, Volvo’s head designer told Jalopnik he tweaked the styling at the rear of the car because the Concept Coupe was so well received. Volvo has said that is will not do “plain vanilla” cars anymore. Apparently the S90 is a bold as things get in Gothenburg.
The S90 will be available in either front wheel drive or four wheel drive configurations. When it goes on sale in the US in June. buyers will be able to choose from the T5 Drive-E turbo engine, the T6 turbo engine with electric supercharger, of the T8 Twin Engine hybrid powertrain that brings 407 horsepower to the party. All engines will feed power to the wheels via Volvo’s bespoke 8 speed automatic transmission.
Inside, passengers will be cosseted in rich leather, deep pile carpets, and enough blond wood accents to make them think they are shopping at Ikea. A large central touchscreen — thank you, Tesla — dominates the center of the dash. A full array of semi-autonomous driving features will be standard, including a reindeer avoidance system that will brake automatically for animals larger than a Golden Retriever.
Volvo is not done, though. Not by a long shot. It recently purchased Polestar, an independent tuning house that specializes in making Volvos breath a little more deeply than normal. Volvo’s CEO Håkan Samuelsson says that taking on the likes of the BMW M cars, Audi’s S offerings, and Mercedes’ AMG models was the motivation behind Volvo buying Polestar.
Peter Mertens, Volvo’s head of R&D, says,“Polestar will still be sophisticated performance; it’s not just a case of doing a ‘boy racer’ by dropping a big engine in there. Hybrid power is the direction that Polestar will go in. In a way, Tesla has legitimised electric performance, although Polestar will be more sophisticated again. We want to be able to offer high performance without regrets.”
Could Volvo be planning a hotted up version of the S90 T8 Twin Engine sedan? (Yes!) We’ll know for sure once when the car is officially introduced to the world next month at the Detroit International Auto Show.
Photo credits: Jalopnik.