VOLVO has enhanced its big saloon and estate models by fitting them with a high performance petrol engine.
The new T5 S90 and V90s have 250bhp on tap - and that's turned them into the quickest of the bunch with the exception of the plug-in hybrid.
Using a development of the four cylinder Drive-E unit fitted to T4 models there's some 60 more horsepower available and that has shaved the 0 to 62 acceleration time down to 6.8 seconds for the saloon and seven seconds for the estate.
In the line ups the engine is available from R-Design specification onwards and in the case of the S90 the T5 is priced from £41,230. The V90 costs £2,000 more and both models have eight speed automatic transmissions.
Fuel economy is rated at 42.6mpg in the S90 with emissions of 154g/km while the V90 is slightly thirstier at 41.5 to the gallon with a CO2 figure of 159g/km.
We have just tried the new T5 engine in a V90 R-Design Pro which costs from £46,420 and comes with extra features such as a head-up display for the driver, active headlamps and keyless entry in addition to the standard R-Design facets such as sporty tweaks inside and out and a lowered chassis.
The car we tried was nicely smooth on the road, the ride helped by an optional adaptive chassis with electronic suspension that cost £1,300.
It handled impressively under all conditions and the power delivery is very rapid - especially in the sports setting which is one of four drive modes available.
The sporty feel can be enhanced via paddle shifters which flank the steering wheel but even left to its own devices the transmission is super smooth and capable.
As with all V90s the car was fitted with a full array of safety systems including automatic braking systems, lane departure warnings and Volvo's semi-autonomous Pilot Assist set up which allows the car to partially drive itself up to 80mph when conditions are right.
We saw an average fuel return of almost 34 to the gallon and that's acceptable in a car that has the ability to carry up to 560 litres of cargo extending to a maximum of 1,526 with the rear seats folded.
The added power from the engine is noticeable at all speeds but comes into its own on motorways and dual carriageways where it helps not only in overtaking but also on the economy front.
Other extras fitted to the car included a high-end Bowers & Wilkins sound system operated via Volvo's Sensus tablet-like touchscreen in the centre of the dash and what Volvo calls its Xenium pack which adds the likes of automatic parking, a panoramic sunroof and a 360 degree camera system.
As such, this V90 cost Â£56,320 but was kitted out to more than alternatives from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It's also significantly cheaper than the twin engine T8 plug-in hybrid V90 which starts from just north of Â£60,000.
The T5 engine gives the V90 welcome extra muscle and adds to its strengths, especially for those who want a large estate that can perform.