Volvo has consciously tried to strike a balance with the new S80 by offering a prestige model with low emissions.
The car will be offered with three new diesel engines developed in-house: a 2.4-litre D5 twin turbo five-cylinder producing 205bhp and 164g/km CO2; another 2.4-litre producing 175bhp and 155g/km of CO2, and a reworked 1.6-litre DRIVe from the C30, S40 and V50 models emitting 129g/km CO2.
Two-litre and 2.5-litre petrol engines are available in SE and SE lux trim while a V8 with all-wheel drive is offered in the SE lux and executive.
Every model, except executive, comes with a new sport chassis. The comfort version, standard on executive, is available at no extra charge.
Entry level spec on the SE includes 17in wheels, cruise control, electric and heated door mirrors plus powered driver’s seat with memory setting.
The cabin is typical Volvo, sturdy and well built with a good finish. The centre console, which has a “floating” design, looks confusing, but is simple to operate.
Most S80 derivatives enjoy relatively low CO2 emissions and fall within VED band G, costing owners £150 a year.
However, the DRIVe’s efficiency puts it in band C, with a current £120 annual VED cost that falls to £90 in 2010.
Volvo aims to sell up to 1,500 S80s this year depending on market conditions.
More than 90% of these will be diesel variants, with the D5 taking 41% alone. Despite DRIVe’s efficiency, it is forecast for a 5% share.
Business executives are S80’s core target, as about 80% are expected to be sold to the corporate sector.
Volvo expects the trim mix to be 64% SE, 29% SE lux and 7% executive.
The consumer view
Volvo keeps trying to convince us with its top-end saloons, but they all seem to end up as posh minicabs.
The D5 is sublimely refined – only under heavy throttle is the
five-cylinder warble noticeable. The 420Nm of torque makes for an effortless drive, too.