The S90 is built on the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform as the XC90 SUV, and it borrows many styling cues from its high-riding cousin. Notably, its front end is characterized by a wide grille with 23 chromed vertical slats and T-shaped LED daytime running lights named Thor's hammer. Its silhouette is sporty and coupe-like, marking a clean break from Volvo's earlier sedans.
Inside, the S90 offers space for five passengers in a spacious, well-lit cabin built using materials that are nice to touch and look at. Well-equipped trims boast soft leather upholstery, glass buttons, and open-pore wood trim on the dashboard as well as on the door panels. Inspired by Scandinavian designs, the dash is underlined by an elegant strip of chrome trim.
Like the XC90, the S90 boasts one of the industry's most advanced infotainment system. Called Sensus Connect, it's built around a vertical, dash-mounted touch screen with that's intuitive to use and quick to respond to input. The screen can be split in half, meaning motorists can browse their library of music without having to get rid of the navigation display, and its display is three times as bright as that of an iPad.
The S90 is optionally available with a Bowers & Wilkins sound system that delivers clean, precise sound.
Under the hood
The S90's base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 to 4,800 rpm. Called T5 in Volvo-speak, the turbo four spins the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy checks in at 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway thanks in part to a standard start/stop system. The base S90 has a 3,700-pound towing capacity.
Buyers who want more power can order the S90 with a 2.0-liter four that's both turbocharged and supercharged. Named T6, it generates 316 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque from 2,200 to 5,400 rpm, and it spins all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The more powerful engine returns 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. It also gives the S90 an impressive 4,600-pound towing capacity.
A gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain capable of powering the S90 on electricity alone will be added to the lineup a little later in the production run.
Trim level breakdown
The S90 is offered in two trim levels named Momentum and Inscription, respectively.
The Momentum trim comes generously equipped with fog lights, keyless entry, a multi-function steering wheel, navigation, illuminated vanity mirrors, a 12-volt power outlet in the trunk, puddle lights, Bluetooth connectivity, AUX and USB ports, a rear-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, hill start assist, an eight-inch information screen in the instrument cluster, rear parking sensors, power front seats with a memory function for the driver, dual-zone A/C, power folding rear headrests, a sunroof, leather upholstery on the steering wheel and the gear lever, real wood trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the Inscription model adds LED headlights that "see" around corners, a leather-upholstered remote key fob, headlight washers, heated and ventilated front seats, a digital instrument cluster, manual sun shades for the rear passengers, leather upholstery, cushion extensions for the front seats, four-zone A/C, an Inscription-specific grille, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Volvo's focus on safety for both occupants and pedestrians has long been a pillar of its reputation.
All S90s come standard with collision avoidance and mitigation, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assist, whiplash protection, road sign information (RSI), as well as front, side, and curtain airbags. Volvo's semi-autonomous Pilot Assist technology is also standard, allowing the S90 to drive itself in certain situations.
The Volvo S90 is aimed right at the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the BMW 5 Series, the Jaguar XF, and the Audi A6.