Volvo S90 D4

Momentum

Volvo S90, front, action
Volvo S90, side, action
Volvo S90, rear, action
Volvo S90, interior
Volvo S90, Sensus screen
Volvo S90, boot

RECENTLY asked what was my favourite Volvo, I came out with a rather unexpected reply.

The Volvo fan who asked the question was expecting me to say the P1800S coupe, but my choice of the 164 three-litre six-cylinder large saloon of the late 1960s to mid 1970s caused not a little surprise.

The reason for the choice was that this classic large Volvo with bags of power and bags of space said everything about Volvo and really did not have a range competitor in my eyes - until now.

The modern equivalent of the 164, the S90 is a total game changer. For once in recent years, Volvo has a potent presence in the world of large saloons and can compete head to head with German brands and the British Jaguar.

It adds pure technological brilliance and superb style and driving dynamics to Volvo's reputation for durability and safety.

It came as a surprise because Volvo's previous offering in the large saloon arena, the S80 was way past its shelf life and at one time it looked as if Volvo was bowing out of the sector altogether as its replacement took so long.

The new S90, together with its V90 estate stablemate utilises many of the features that made the market step back in amazement at the SUV XC90's all-singing, all-dancing Swedish smorgasbord of technological and safety features.

Bearing in mind that Volvo has to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, it decided not to focus on pure performance for the S90, but concentrate moreon producing a fast car with superb handling that offers relaxed confidence.

It is built around the in-house-designed-and-built Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform which is such a success in the XC90.

This is one of the world's most advanced car platforms and it is no secret that it is aimed eventually at electrical drive.

But as with some of the finest Volvo's of the past there is a high degree of the iconic brand's DNA built into the car with hints of models like the P1800S ofthe 1960s.

Also like the XC90 the S90's controls incorporate what is to all intents and purposes a built in i-pad which centralises much of the functions and does away with masses of untidy buttons.

Much thought is given to quality and feel of materials, making the driver and passengers aware that they are being encapsulated in top class Scandinavianinterior design.

Under the bonnet of the D4 Momentum I drove lurked a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, which was perfectly matched to and eight-speed automatic transmission.

This model tipped the price scale at £32,555, and although the lower powered option with an output of 190bhp it was a true 140mph performer with 0-60mph acceleration in 7.2 seconds.

Combined fuel economy is 64.2mpg with emissions of 116g/km but the big point this car makes is its rock-solid handling and cornering powers.

It features double wishbone front suspension and innovative integral rear axle with transverse composite leaf spring, giving outstanding driving dynamics. It is designed to provide the knowledge that the car will do exactly what you expect and want it to and you can't ever desire any more than that.

Significant innovations include Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive technology as standard on every version. This takes care of the steering, accelerator and brakes at up to 80 mph to keep you within your lane and at a set speed, and no longer requires a lead vehicle to follow.

Two world-first safety technologies are large animal detection just in case there are cows wandering in dark lanes and run-off road mitigation.

Intuitive infotainment and connectivity features, including the innovative nine-inch touch screen system, an intelligent voice-control system and an industry-leading integration of Apple CarPlay.

FAST FACTS

Volvo S90 D4 Momentum

Price:£32,555

Mechanical:104bhp, 1,580cc, 4cyl petrol engine via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:140mph

0-62mph:7.9 seconds

Combined MPG:64.2

Insurance Group: 27

C02 emissions:116g/km

Bik rating:23%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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