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Driven: Volvo S80 D5 SE Lux – on sale now



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Slide behind the wheel of the S80 and you’re instantly reminded of one fact: Volvo makes some of the most comfortable seats on the market. Firm yet cosseting; supportive yet yielding.

There’s none of the technological wizardry you get with the E-class, such as blow up side supports or vibrating massage, but the S80’s seats are as convivial as your favourite armchair. Every prospect should be ushered inside the car at the first opportunity.

In a market sector dominated by the German trio – BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz – the S80 has carved its niche as the executive’s protector, shielding the outside elements.

BMWs may yearn the winding roads to show off their handling prowess, but the Volvo is at home on the main arteries, gliding its passengers to their destination. That’s not to say it’s a slouch on the twisties if pushed hard, but slalom b-roads are not its most natural habitat.

Unfortunately the S80’s sense of unhurried travelling also extends to the automatic gearbox, which is sloppy in its selection. A sports option to tighten the ratios would be a welcome addition.

Powered by the excellent 185bhp D5 diesel – 0-62mph in 9secs; 38.7mpg – the S80 undercuts similarly equipped rivals by more than £2,000. At £30,800 for the SE Lux range-topper, almost everything is thrown in.

Additional sells should include the front/rear park assists at £650 and the active bi-xenon pack at £1,000.

Design cues that now run throughout the Volvo range, bar the XC90, include the floating centre console, still a delightful triumph of form and function.

Price: £30,800 (SE Lux)
Engines: 2.4-litre, 185bhp diesel
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Performance: 0-62mph 9sec; top speed 140mph
Efficiency: 38.7mpg; 193g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £13.350 (44%)
Rivals: 5-series, E-class, A6, S-type

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