When mentioning large, luxurious sedans you probably think of a certain German brand. Maybe that brand starts with an “M” or “B” or “A”;  Or maybe if you’re American you think of one that starts with “C”.  Regardless, your A,B,C’s of luxury are missing a fast approaching Swedish meatball.

Volvo is a peculiar face, with a reputation built as the nerdy accountant of the car world.  Recently though, competition has gotten so fierce that Volvo went back to the drawing board and came up with a rather convincing solution.  This ladies and gentleman is the 2017 Volvo S90, and boy is it something else.  Allow me to shine some light on the car’s rather odd trim levels.

First, is the T5 FWD Momentum.  Move up one level and you’re greeted with the T5 FWD Inscription.  Then you have the T6 AWD Momentum and finally the T6 AWD Inscription.  A bit different taste over the common numbers and letters alone, isn’t it? Clearly Volvo is a creative Swedish meatball.  

The S90 is priced much more modestly than other players in this market, with a base MSRP of $46,950 and configurations topping out at about $68,000.  

The Exterior:

The new S90 is sharp.  It has a prominent nose and a chic, cool attitude.  Volvo’s new styling cues are riddled all over the car with the T-shaped LED lamps and crisp lines.  The face is a lot more aggressive than the usual curvy, peppy Volvo we see on the S60 or the bland old “I don’t want to be seen” Volvo we’ve seen in previous years.  The whole S90 is wrapped up in a sophisticated and I-have-something-to-prove fashion.  It’s a refreshing style for the brand and segment, and works very well.

The Interior:

Yes this is a Volvo, yes this is real, yes this is the S90, no you are not dreaming.  The 2017 Volvo S90 has an excellent interior.  Pure and simple. This simplified work of art from Thomas Ingenlath’s team is one of the best looking automotive interiors out there, hands down.  The combination of the aluminum mesh for the sound system, the brilliant wood accent and ultra-modern shapes (not to mention the iPad in the dashboard) is nothing short of winning.  The simplicity and elegance of the center dashboard and infotainment system make the entire interior easy on the eyes.  You can also see the clever touch screen for the rear seat climate controls.  This is 21st century automotive elegance.  

You can chose three colors of nappa leather for the seating and “upholstery”, and each adds a different element and feel to the interior the white puts you in this euphoria of luxury where you feel as though you should take off your shoes and wash your hands before having a seat.  The amber option makes the interior look straight out of a modern art gallery, and the classic black leather with wood accents looks as classic and upscale as ever.

The host of options on the interior are common among this class of car.  Including heated rear seats, blind-spot monitoring and a marvelous $3,200 optional sound system from Bowers & Wilkins.  

The Performance:

The base S90 T5’s aren’t incredibly impressive on the power front.  Outputting 250 HP and 258 Lb-Ft of torque, the turbocharged four cylinder is a small and rare option against the S90’s rivals.  The T6 model range offers a four cylinder still, but outputs a much more suitable 316 HP and 295 Lb-Ft of torque with the aid of a larger turbocharger and a supercharger.

Compound forced-induction is definitely rare and difficult from an engineering standpoint to nail down, but the advantageous choice from Volvo works out well enough. The T6 range can push 0-60 MPH in  5.7 seconds, and that is where a number of test drives say that the S90 doesn’t exactly keep up.  

While there is a definite learning curve for the tablet on the inside of the vehicle,  it is tough to get around the fact that cars that are much heavier than the S90 will embarrass it in performance tests.  But I know what you’re thinking: “It’s a luxury car! LOOK AT THAT INTERIOR.”  But, the car comes with summer spec tires and Volvo engineers made the steering heavy to accommodate for “sporty” driving.  The steering weight however feels unnaturally heavy with very slight movements in the wheel, and bumps disrupt the ride a bit more than others in its class.  It does seem the split personality does hurt the car a bit as well as the S90’s consumer base.

The Specs:

Vehicle Type: Full Size Sedan
Powertrain: 2.0L Turbo 4-Cyl / 2.0L T/SC 4-cyl
Gearbox: 8-speed dual Geartronic automatic
Power: 250 HP (T5), 316 HP (T6)
MPG: 34 Highway/23 City (T5) , 31 Highway/22 City (T6)
Torque: 258 Lb-Ft. (T5) , 295 Lb-Ft. (T6)
Length: 195.4 Inches (4.96 Meters)
Width: 79.4 Inches (2.01 Meters)
Height: 56.8 Inches (1.43 Meters)
Top Speed: 130 MPH (209 KPH)
Seating: 5
Wheelbase: 115.8 Inches (2.9 Meters)
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): 6.5 Sec. (T5) , 5.7 Sec. (T6)
Base Price: $49,650 – $55,450


To Sum It Up:

The 2017 Volvo S90  is an ambitious change for the Volvo brand.  It reminds me much of the Cadillac CT6.  An incredible first installment to a drastic change that just needs a bit of refinement to make it a real ground breaker.  And by refinement, I mean the chassis and performance for the S90.  The interior is beautiful and any change to the inside would most likely make it look overworked.  But in the end, the S90 is a great foreshadow of what is yet to come from the Great Swedish Meatball. Check out this link for more pictures and insight on this luxury sedan! 


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