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by Matt Brogan

The 2009 Volvo S80 has arrived and is ready to expand its presence in the luxury segment with the introduction of a compact, turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder T6 engine to the range.

 

The new S80 T6 AWD model joins the high-performance S80 V8 AWD, and S80 D5 models to offer a range of sporty and economic cars capable of meeting an array of tastes and needs.

Featuring a 60-degree, 4.4-litre all-alloy V8 – and producing a powerful 232 kW and 440 Nm – the range topping S80 V8 AWD uses a Haldex all-wheel drive system, which employs an electronically controlled hydraulic clutch that constantly balances the power bias between the front and rear wheels to ensure optimal road holding in all situations.

In its latest iteration, the S80’s all-wheel-drive system features Instant Traction, which sets a bias (approximately 1500 Nm) favouring the rear wheels when starting on slippery or loose surfaces. This is also standard on the T6 model.

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The T6 engine, which replaces the previous 3.2-litre powerplant, offers 210kW of power with 400Nm of torque (available from just 1,500rpm).With multi-valve cylinder heads, twin overhead camshafts and a twin-scroll turbcharger, the response and acceleration on offer is said to be exhilarating with 0-100 times under 7 seconds.

For the more frugal among us, the S80 is also available with a 2.4-litre D5 turbo diesel engine developing 136kW of power and 400Nm of torque to provide sports sedan performance and outstanding fuel economy.

To achieve a more compact layout, ancillaries such as the power steering pump and air conditioning compressor have been repositioned behind – rather than in front of – the engine. A direct-drive alternator is fitted to the engine block while the vibration dampener is now integrated inside the engine, saving on valuable longitudinal space.

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Volvo’s ultra-thin Floating Centre Console contributes to a sense of space in the front compartment, while continuing right through to the rear seat.

Large, ergonomic seats provide sumptuous comfort for both front and rear passengers and, at the front, can be specified with an optional ventilation system to provide extra cooling in hot Australian summers. Front seat heaters and electric power adjustment are standard on all S80s.

The S80 has also had refinements made to the sunroof and power window control switches, the audio system, and also includes sun curtains to prevent glare through the rear side windows and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

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The optional Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSE) now gets larger 8-inch screens on the back of the head restraints that have been designed to further improve viewing in daylight conditions, while the High Performance and Premium Sound systems now have a USB port enabling easy connection with an iPod, MP3 player, or even a digital camera. Bluetooth connectivity is standard on all models.

The S80’s Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) remains standard and can also be optioned to include Volvo’s Clean Zone Interior Package (CZIP) – an advanced system approved by the Swedish Association against Asthma and Allergy – that provides healthier air quality inside the passenger compartment. When the car is unlocked via the remote control, the passenger compartment is automatically ventilated for about a minute if the outdoor temperature exceeds 10 degrees Celsius.

S80 is underpinned by an all-independent suspension system using MacPherson struts at the front and a multilink axle at the rear, as well as Volvo’s FOUR-C Active Chassis, which is standard on T6 and V8 models.

This advanced, electronically controlled system adapts instantly and constantly according to driving conditions, combining precise, accurate handling with a smooth, comfortable ride expected by luxury segment customers. The system offers the choice of three settings, Comfort, Sport and Advanced. The S80 is also fitted with Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC).

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Along with a raft of airbags, all S80 models feature Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which advises the driver if another vehicle is travelling behind the B-pillar (or in the ‘blind spot’) along with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), which is equipped with the driver fatigue monitoring system Driver Alert Control (DAC), as part of the new Teknik pack.

All S80s are fitted with active bi-Xenon headlights with washer function as well as Home Safe and Approach lighting systems and 17-inch alloy wheels.




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