The Peter Horbury-designed shape of the Volvo S80 will surely go down in the history books as one of the least evolved cars. Not that it needed much evolution.

It was, and remains, a handsome car, dominated by the waterfall-effect styling on the bonnet and bootlid, which hides much of the bulk at the front and rear of the car.

With a drag figure of 0.29, the S80 is pretty slippery

That line continues along the side, which makes the car appear lower. The result is a surprisingly sleek saloon that marked Volvo’s first move away from boxy design, but is one of the last to be brought in line with the latest Volvo design language.

Volvo buyers are usually after a slightly left-field choice, so don’t expect stacks of chrome bling, massive grilles or 20-inch alloy wheels; the exterior design echoes the car’s unflustered demeanour. There’s an understated appeal that’s missing from the S80’s German rivals in particular. If you’re looking for a car that will go about its business without shouting about it, the Volvo S80 is a worthy contender for your pounds, over the more predictable BMW 5 Series, Audi A6s and Mercedes-Benz E-Classes of the world

R-Design models feature additional design details for a slightly sportier look, and recent changes across the range include LED indicators integrated into the door mirrors and redesigned headlights.

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