- Sunroof - $2150 - why not!
- Active Cruise Control, $2950 - worth it
- Clean Zone Interior Package, $250 - worth it
- Metallic Paint, $1350 - needs to be standard
- Volvo SatNav, $3590 - a little expensive.
- BLIS, $1200 - worth it
Picking up the Volvo S80, I couldn't help but to feel as though I was going to have a boring and slow week, sure Volvo had booked me into the top of the range 4.4-litre V8 All-Wheel-Drive variant, but still, it's a Volvo, how much fun can it be?
Thankfully, that small part was quickly put to death by the sound of the Yamaha built V8 and Volvo's latest weapon in the fight against soccer mums, bling wheels.
Honestly, there are no words that can capture the feeling of driving a V8 S80, but imagine this, cream leather seats with a beautifully crafted interior that give everything you could ask for, coupled to Volvo's relentless quest for the latest in-car technology and occupant safety... attached to a jet engine.
It's hard to imagine that a big Volvo sedan can accelerate so hard that it can leave you with neck pain, but the S80 does just that.
In my entire week with the S80, I only turned on the stereo once to test the sound system, why? Because the sound of the V8 is truly mesmerising, with 232kW and 440Nm, it sounds more like an Aston Martin V8 Vantage than an HSV R8, but best of all, it goes like a rocket.
The S80 offers three different settings:
- COMFORT – sedate, comfortable ride quality
- SPORT – controlled body movements, faster steering response
- ADVANCED – firm damper control, maximum road holding
I headed up my usual mountain road to put the S80 through its work out. As per usual, the winding roads were full of AWD turbos and bikes, and having seen the Volvo badge, many were quick to overtake me (safely), anticipating my slow climb up the mountain.
Of course they were too busy making Volvo jokes to see the small AWD V8 badges, but it only took a few minutes before they realised this Volvo was not on its way to pick up the kids.
My favourite is Volvo's Personal Car Communicator (PCC). Instead of your usual remote central locking, the S80 comes with a slightly larger remote control that can do a whole variety of truly amazing things.
Walk away a few meters and if you're unsure about the car, just have a look at the key, the LEDs will tell you if it's locked or not.
But wait, there is more, a whole lot more, you can press a button on the remote control and the S80 will switch on all of it's exterior and interior lights.
If you're paranoid, you can find out from a distance of up to 100 meters whether or not the car is locked, unlocked, broken into, and best of all, using an internal heartbeat sensor, you can find out if someone is hiding in your car! (The PCC will flash red). James Bond technology in a Volvo!
Then there is Volvo's $2,950 optional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which uses a radar sensor to help the driver maintain the distance to the vehicle in front. For example, on a long trip you can program the S80 to keep 10 meters away from the car in front and you can pretty much forget about touching the brake and accelerator pedals. Extremely useful.
- ABS anti-locking brakes with EBD, EBA
- Driver and passenger dual-stage front airbags
- Inflatable Curtain (IC) front, rear seats
- Side Impact Protection System (SIPS)
- SIPS airbags, front seats, protect head and chest
- Front safety belts, automatic height adjustment and belt tensioner
- Three-point pyrotechnic pretensioner seatbelts, head restraints (all seats)
- Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS)
- Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC) w/yaw sensor w/yaw sensor
For an extra $250 you can opt out for the Clean Zone Interior Package (CZIP), an advanced system that automatically ventilates the passenger compartment for about a minute once the car is unlocked.
Safety and air quality systems aside, you really have to admire what Volvo has achieved with the interior of the S80, from exquisite leather seats to a practical and useful layout of all the controls, plus an absolutely superb 12-speaker stereo system, you have to force yourself to find a fault.
Comparing the interior to a German car, I actually managed to turn on the stereo, program the cruise control and activate a variety of the car's gadgets without consulting the manual.
In fact, my only issue with the S80 was the six-speed automatic transmission, leave it in D and it goes like a rocket, but push the gear stick to the left for some manual shifting and the party is spoiled. Once instructed, it takes nearly a second for the car to change gears and you really feel as though you can do it faster manually!