2016 Volvo S90 Revision of the inscription: rearview mirror

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For 25 years, Unit has been at the forefront of the Australian automotive media. In our new series, Rearview mirror, we delve into the back catalog of thousands of reviews to bring you some of the memories.





David McCowen gets behind the wheel of Volvo’s majestic large sedan.

Beauty makes us do fun things.

He can work around character flaws, forgo practical options, or distract to the point of danger, contributing to many interesting decisions made based on looks alone. It could also convince people in the usually straight executive sedan segment to forget Audi, BMW and Mercedes in favor of Volvo’s new S90.

Those classic proportions, chiseled concave grille, “Thor’s hammer” LED headlights, crystal clear taillights, and oversized 20-inch wheels give the S90 a rolling gravity that could surpass major rivals.

It won’t be mistaken for anything else, unlike Audi or Mercedes sedans interested in the Babushka Doll style school. And it’s certainly more intriguing than the outgoing BMW 5 Series that feels more conservative than Cory Bernadi.



The attraction continues inside, where the S90 follows its sibling XC90 SUV on the market with a beautifully executed cabin. It’s a clean space with sweeping lines, refined ergonomics, and an airy feel accentuated by the lighter colors of its palette.

Our test example featured a mix of light and dark leather, brushed metal and open-pore wood with a matte finish that would be used in a launched model for double the price. The same goes for its digital offering, which includes a 12.3-inch widescreen digital instrument cluster and a nine-inch portrait-oriented iPad-style display in the center console.

The screen looks better integrated than the huge sheet of glass in a Tesla Model S or the snowboard-like board on the dashboard of the Mercedes E-Class, although mastering its finer functions requires patience. Design excellence continues in the rear, where rear seat occupants have access to sleek, touch-sensitive climate controls along with well-bolstered seats, though the rear room is adequate if not lush, and loses points for a roof openable that doesn’t extend beyond the front head restraints.

Currently available in a single trim line with a choice of petrol or diesel power, the S90 shares the fundamentals of its chassis and engines with the XC90 SUV.

Walk into a dealership today and you’ll find the S90 in either diesel D5 or petrol T6 and mid-range entry, both driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The cheaper front-wheel drive Momentum models D4 and front-wheel drive T5 come closer to Christmas priced at $ 79,900.

The current opening act is a $ 96,900 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel D5 that delivers 174 kW and 480 Nm of grunt, enough to sprint to 100 km / h in 7.3 seconds using 5.1 liters / 100 km of fuel. What the numbers don’t say is that it is the first Volvo to use an ingenious “PowerPulse” system designed to minimize turbo lag by storing compressed air in a reservoir next to the engine which sends a blast of air into the turbocharger to envelop it more. faster than the exhaust gases could do.

While Volvo cannot numerically quantify the improvement offered by its PowerPulse system, the impression is that this turbo diesel engine offers a reasonably urgent response along with adequate acceleration for a car in its class. It’s also fairly quiet (unless you’re accelerating at full throttle), and the eight-speed car does a good job of keeping it boiling.

Pay $ 98,900 and you’ll get access to the more powerful S90 T6 with its 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine producing peaks of 235kW and 400Nm which translates to peaks of 7.3L / 100km and a reasonable time of 5 , 8 seconds 0-100 km / h.

Immediately more responsive than its diesel sibling, the T6 also feels more agile on the road, with less inertia than the D5. Comfortably whizzing up to highway speed with a muffled burp from the exhaust on full throttle gear changes, the T6 idles quietly in top gear on the open road.

Volvo backs both engines with a three-year unlimited kilometer warranty and a “SmartCare” limited-price service scheme that offers coverage ranging from $ 2095 for three years and 45,000 kilometers to $ 6925 for five years and 75,000 kilometers.

The Inscription upholstery tested here is based on the robust standard kit of the entry level S90 models – think four-zone climate control, full digital dashboard and electric trunk – with premium Nappa leather, walnut trim, smart keys and 19-inch wheels inches.

Options include an 18-speaker Bowers and Wilkins stereo for $ 4,500, a $ 2,500 leather dash trim, $ 1,900 metallic paint, and more, including a $ 3,000 Tech package that brings digital radio, a 360-degree camera , Apple CarPlay and a head-up display.



All S90 models come with the brand’s full suite of active driving aids which builds on basic elements such as active cruise control, blind spot monitoring and automatic parking functions with the addition of three new elements.

Rural road users can benefit from a new large animal detection that can spot cattle, camels or moose and brake to avoid an accident. While it can stagger prop-forward home from the pub, the system isn’t calibrated to work with unique local wildlife like kangaroos and Volvo is working on a solution.

This system joins a new road exit mitigation system: essentially active lane-keeping assistance to help prevent inattentive drivers from running off the road, ringing a bell and helping bring the car back to safety when required.

But the flagship title is an extension of Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system that allows it to run at speeds of up to 130km / h, well above the roughly 50km / h of previous versions.

The brand aptly describes its latest IntelliSafe system as semi-autonomous, rather than marketing the driving aid suite as autonomous driving. Impressive in perfect condition – well-lit multi-lane roads with clear road markings and other cars serving as landmarks – the system allows you to take your hands off the wheel for about 20 seconds at a time, staying safely within its lane on busy highways such as Melbourne’s Tullamarine Freeway.

The system beeps and turns off if you use the speakerphone for too long, prompting drivers to immediately regain control. Mercedes takes a different approach in the new E-Class, which features emergency provisions to stop the car safely and apply hazard warning lights if drivers don’t respond – certainly a safer system in the event of a medical emergency.



The Volvo system is less convincing on suburban routes or back country roads. While some bends will work fine, many bends are too demanding for the safety suite, which can put the car on the wrong side of the road. It’s much more at home in stop-start traffic, competently accelerating, braking and steering when the roads get clogged.

This suggests that it will be a long time before fully autonomous cars are ready to fully meet our transportation needs. Volvo is at the forefront of self-driving vehicle research and this flagship model with cutting-edge technology is its most advanced model. But even the S90 is far from being considered a self-driving car.

Take control behind the wheel and you’ll find the S90 delivers a classic luxury car experience. It’s a sizable car that feels planted on the road, offering plenty of buys from its 20-inch wheels (optional, $ 2,850) and Pirelli P-Zero rubber.

The Volvo’s steering is not as sharp as the best in its class and lacks the taut body control of the sportier models offered by Jaguar and BMW. But it offers a comfortable ride, particularly when equipped with rear air suspension, and minimal road noise.

Our day trip of the S90 didn’t feature particularly demanding roads, so we’ll have to reserve a more precise judgment of its chassis dynamics for a later date.

What we can say is that Volvo has not pursued the sporty type of character that some rivals are targeting. There are no shift paddles on the steering wheel and the car does not have an aggressive sports mode, although that may change when a more focused R-Design trim line available in the T8 form with 300 kW and 640 Nm of hybrid power arrives in the former. mid 2017.



The range will continue to expand in 2017 with the addition of a V90 station wagon version and a high-drive cross country model, and we should expect to see a more powerful Polestar variant in the future.

This S90 does its business a little differently than more established luxury rivals, while offering a genuine alternative to the dominant German triumvirate. It has the technology, sophistication and luxury to race with the best in its class and a distinctive look to win customers away from the crowd.

2016 Volvo S90 Inscription Prices and Specifications

Volvo S90 2016 registration
Price: From $ 96,900 plus road costs (2016)
engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel or turbo petrol
power: 173kW at 4000rpm (diesel), 235kW at 5700rpm (petrol)
couple: 480 Nm at 1750-2250 rpm (diesel), 400 Nm at 2200-5400 rpm (diesel)
transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 5.1 l / 100 km (diesel), 7.3 l / 100 km (petrol)

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