After languishing for a decade as a rarely considered premium sedan, the ’17 Volvo S90 is completely new from the ground up and ready to climb into a higher segment where it hopes to challenge the best in the world for luxury-car supremacy.
Coming on the heels of the highly successful launch of the XC90 large CUV – and drawing on that much-lauded model for most of its chassis, powertrain and interior parts – the S90 has a great chance of making good on its marketing promises of “relaxed confidence” and “legendary comfort” topped off by assured occupant safety.
S90 T6 isn’t built with all-out performance as its guiding principle. Rather, this latest iteration of the “Scandinavian Sanctuary” is a calm boulevard cruiser with the ability to quicken the pulse when necessary, but not as a primary mission.
We sampled the new 4-door as well as its V90 sport wagon sibling on a variety of routes in southern Spain, from wide-open winding mountainous roads to congested urban thoroughfares that provided ample opportunity to get a feel for the car’s powertrain and driving character while also testing its myriad driver-assistance and safety systems.
After a year of extensive exposure to the XC90 – a winner of both Wards 10 Best Engines and Wards 10 Best Interiors awards in 2016 – we’re quite familiar with the latest Volvo has to offer, from its calming interior to its playing-above-its-weight-class 316-hp, 295-lb.-ft. (400-Nm) turbocharged and supercharged 2.0L I-4 engine.
The S90 offers more of the same but in a lighter weight and sportier package with a lower seating position that automatically gives the S90 a more sophisticated feel. Dropping 547 lbs. (248 kg) from the curb weight compared to the XC90 doesn’t hurt either. While the CUV is no slouch at 6.5 seconds 0-60 mph (97 km/h), the sedan does the same sprint in just 5.7 seconds and feels very responsive in the process.