The Volvo S80 is a midsize luxury sedan that is sized and outfitted like the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 despite costing significantly less. While it can't quite match the driving dynamics of its German rivals, it does reward those willing to venture outside the premium mainstream with elegant styling, a tasteful, well-crafted interior and the kind of cutting-edge safety technology on which Volvo has built its reputation.
First introduced in 2007, the latest S80 continues to feature an understated but upscale-looking exterior characterized by smooth lines and the refreshing absence of ungainly surface garnishes, which blemish some competing sedans. The story is much the same inside, where the dashboard is a study in stylish simplicity highlighted by Volvo's trademark "floating" center stack. All controls are intuitive to operate, and the front seats are among the most comfortable in the entire automotive world. While not enormous, the backseat has enough space to comfortably accommodate two full-size adults.
The standard-strength S80 3.2 is powered by a transversely mounted 3.2-liter inline-six that produces 240 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels, and fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
Those looking for more scoot can opt for the S80 T6, which uses turbocharged version of the base motor that produces 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque and returns 18/26 mpg. The engine pairs with the same automatic gearbox as its naturally-aspirated sibling but is paired with AWD. Notably, the system drives the front wheels under normal driving conditions, only sending power to the rear wheels when extra traction is needed in wet weather or during strong acceleration.
The S80's handling is safe and predictable, but it isn't a sports sedan; its strength is road trips, where its wonderful seats and plush ride are prime assets.
The S80 comes in 3.2 and T6 AWD models.
The S80 3.2 comes with the naturally aspirated six along with leather upholstery, walnut wood inlays, an AM/FM/CD stereo system with AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with audio streaming, dual-zone automatic climate control and 17-inch alloy wheels. The T6 has essentially the same features with the exception of larger 18-inch alloy wheels. New standard features added to both trims for the latest model year include headlight washers, rain sensor windshield wipers and keyless drive.
Two optional "trim levels" are available. The Premier Plus trim brings front and rear park assist, a universal garage door opener, dual Xenon headlights and an auto-dimming rear mirror with a dimming compass. The Platinum trim includes all the Premier's features and also adds a navigation system, a rear parking camera and a 650-watt sound system with Dolby Surround Sound.
Numerous optional features are available, with a highlight being the Inscription Package. This adds a leather-wrapped dashboard, copious amounts of walnut wood trim and heated and ventilated front seats.
Standard on all S80s is the automaker's City Safety package, which uses a laser sensor to automatically trigger the brakes at low speeds if a pending impact is detected. Other standard safety features include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and emergency brake assist.
Additionally, a number of optional safety technologies can be had, including Lane Departure Warning, a Blind Sport Information system and Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection.
The S80 is positioned against premium midsize sedans such as the Acura RL, the Lincoln MKS and the Cadillac CTS.