The Straits Times Car of the Year 2016

Swede dream

The Volvo S90 goes from zero to 100kmh in 5.9 seconds and on to a top velocity of 250kmh.
The Volvo S90 goes from zero to 100kmh in 5.9 seconds and on to a top velocity of 250kmh.PHOTO: ST FILE

The new Volvo S90 is the biggest sedan Volvo has ever made. It offers more comfort than a Mercedes- Benz E-class and more power per litre than a BMW M5.

It packs an ensemble of high-tech gadgetry, which hints at Volvo's readiness for the autonomous highway. And it looks the part of a premium executive sedan.

But the thing which impresses most is its immaculate attention to detail, evident in the way the car has been put together inside and out.

The S90's failing, if you can call it that, lies in its wood inlay. It appears too "stick on", missing a fine touch which the preceding S80 had no problem nailing.

Other than that, the new model is a winner. It is a big and spacious carrier - longer, wider and with a slightly more generous wheelbase than the E-class. But in real life, its rear legroom seems to rival that of a standard wheelbase BMW 7-series or Mercedes S-class, even if its headroom and hip room are far less extravagant. Its boot, with hands-free opening and closing, is enormous.

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  • Price: $255, 000 with COE

    Engine: 1,969cc inline-4 supercharged and turbocharged

    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual select

    Power: 320bhp at 5,700rpm

    Torque: 400Nm at 2,200-5,400rpm

    0-100kmh: 5.9 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh

    Fuel consumption: 7.5 litres/100km

    Agent: Wearnes Automotive

Its design is refreshing, with a long and low profile (hence the lower ceiling) that gives the car a regal stance on the road and points to a dynamic spirit. At the helm, few driving enthusiasts will be disappointed. Equipped with a 2-litre engine that is supercharged as well as turbocharged, the S90 has 320bhp and 400Nm to its name.

It goes from zero to 100kmh in 5.9 seconds and on to a top velocity of 250kmh. Acceleration is delivered with certainty and predictability, with a meaty mid-range that is more adequate than anything you will find on this side of an M5.

Throttle response is super light and linear. The car cruises with hardly any effort on the part of your right foot, rendering its adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping function largely redundant.

Power launches, quick overtaking, high-speed cornering and sharp bends are handled with a level of stability and refinement few other cars of its size can match. All-wheel-drive, however, has contributed to the S90's higher- than-average kerb weight of 1.8 tonnes.

But the punchy engine masks the heft well. Its ride quality is superb too, despite the test car wearing 21-inch wheels. All in all, it is a package that is hard to beat.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'Swede dream'. Print Edition | Subscribe