Volvo S90: 14 things you didn’t know

By Toby Hagon, 16 Oct 2016 Car Reviews

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Volvo S90

The attraction of this Swedish sedan is more than skin deep.

Volvo’s stylish flagship sedan is showcases the company’s finest design and engineering, and a few lesser known achievements.

1. The S90 will spawn a wagon version in 2017. To be called V90 there will also be a Volvo V90 Cross Country, which has a higher ride height for light-duty off-roading.

2. The S90 model range includes the D4, T5, D5, T6 and T8. “D” prefixes denote a diesel engine and “T” prefixes a petrol engine. The higher the number the more power the engine has and, generally, the more expensive it is.

3. Every S90 is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine. However, there will be at least five versions of that same engine. The D4 is a turbo diesel with 140kW of power and 400Nm of torque. The T5 is a turbo petrol engine with 187kW and 350Nm. The D5 is a turbo diesel with the PowerPulse lag reduction system (see below) and makes 173kW/480Nm. The T6 gets a supercharger and turbocharger to make 235kW/400Nm. The T8 will be the performance flagship, teaming an electric motor and battery pack with the supercharged and turbocharged engine of the T6; in total it makes 300kW and 640Nm.

4. The S90 D5 is the first Volvo to feature a system called PowerPulse. Under the bonnet it includes an air compressor and a two-litre air tank to store compressed air. When you accelerate or reapply the throttle it sends some of that compressed air into the exhaust manifold to spin the turbo. That has the effect of reducing turbo lag, which is the time taken for a turbo to reach its optimum operating speed.

Volvo S90

5. Polestar is Volvo’s performance sub-brand and is also involved in developing race cars for the Swedish brand around the world. Polestar offers various performance enhancements to a number of models across the Volvo range. In the S90 range the D5 has a Polestar pack that alters the engine and transmission tuning for better performance. It increases the peak power and torque outputs from 173kW/480Nm to 177kW/500Nm. The claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time is reduced from 7.0 seconds to 6.9 seconds.

6. Pilot Assist is the name given to Volvo’s semi-autonomous driving technology. As well as active cruise control features, which provide steering assistance.

7. The concave chrome grille on the S90 was inspired by that of the classic P1800 from the 1960s. It features 23 vertical ribs, something designers say give it a “proud attitude”.

8. The S90 evolves Volvo’s active safety technology to include “large animal detection”. Large animals are defined as things such as deer, horses and cows, the latter more relevant for Australian drivers. The system now works up to 130km/h, covering most scenarios locally.

9. Apple CarPlay connectivity is part of a Technology Pack option that costs $3000. It also includes digital radio tuning and a head-up display. Android Auto will soon be added to the features, too.

Volvo S90 interior

10. The Volvo S90 has an optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system that has 1400 Watts of power pumping through 18 speakers. Many of the speakers, including those in the doors, have metal grilles that allow you to see the Kevlar speakers behind them.

11. The S90 picks up the distinctive “Thor’s hammer” headlights, named after the weapon of choice used by the mythical Scandinavian god.

12. Volvo distinguishes the S90’s various trim treatments and equipment levels with three names; Momentum, Inscription and R-Design. The R-Design models, which look sportier courtesy of a blacked out grille and large, distinctive alloy wheels, arrive in Australia in 2017.

13. The main infotainment screen in the S90 is 9.0 inches across the diagonal. However, unlike most touchscreens used in cars the Volvo one sits horizontally. It is operated using similar principals to many smart phones and tablets, with pinching and swiping to navigate menus and zoom on maps.

14. Instead of traditional instruments the driver looks at a 12.3-inch customisable display. The speedo and tachometer – as well as the various colours – can be tailored depending on what drive mode has been selected.