Volvo Cars North America chose the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit to launch its new signature premium saloon, the S90 in a bid (some say) to recapture and reaffirm its commitment to the market. Apart from the impressive line-up that they already have, Volvo will be adding the very stately S80 successor to their arsenal.
In business, you have to be there at the right time and in the right place and Volvo does well to resonate that thought considering how the brand faired in the previous fiscal year. The Swedes were up by 24.3 percent and, mind you, that’s only in the US. Armed with new hardwares and a billion-dollar cash injection from parent company Geely Holdings, they’re all ready to give the Germans a bloody nose.
In the looks department, sadly this very uniquely individual from the frosty north doesn’t score too well with some people. The styling up front is definitely on point especially with the DRL in the shape of Thor’s Mjölnir, the trouble is when you step towards the back that you’ll discover the rather distinctive rump, for the lack of a better word, which will either be a hit or miss, depending on who you talk to. We think it possesses a cool factor all on its own. If there ever was such a thing as a burgeoning hipster businessmen, this is his ride, without shadow of a doubt.
The interior of this four-door coupe is an exquisite thing of beauty. Supple tanned leather hide for the upholstery, choicest sustainable bark for the dash and a beautifully craved crystal by Orrefors (first seen on the XC90) takes its place as a gearshift selector. The Scandinavians are gunning for premium and are out to deliver just that. The Mercedes W213 E-Class maybe the only one that could give Volvo a run for its money in this respect. Praise doesn’t get any higher than that.
Volvo is slated to release three engine flavours in North America, namely the T5, T6 and the range topping TwinEngine T8 with up to 410hp. Not bad for 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid, however the big news here is that the S90 will introduce a number of segment-first safety and driver assistance technologies, just as you would expect from the brand. Some of these include semi-autonomous drive feature called Pilot Assist which is an adaptive cruise control-type system that can sense and ‘see’ the road infront of you. The marque says that it’s a step forward in the right direction toward autonomous driving capabilities in cars. A goal that Tesla and Google chases with a burning passion.
The S90 also introduces a world-first function to City Safety – large animal detection; a feature capable of detecting large animals such as deer, horses or moose/elk, night or day. The technology offers an intuitive warning and brake support to help avoid or mitigate collisions with large animals (and people). In an urban environment, the system should do well to detect pedestrians, brilliant for city driving.
Volvo North America has yet to release specifics on the S90’s pricing and options. As far as we Malaysians are concerned, the S90 (most likely in T8 flavour) will be making its way here sometime in 2017. The ensuing V90 too, might complete the S90 lineup here in Malaysia by the end of next year. Rumours abound that Polestar is working on a hot version as well. Exciting times ahead for fans of the Iron Mark.