What is it?
It is an attempt by Volvo to move the S80 out of the “quirky alternative” category and closer to its mainstream German rivals. To achieve this the big Swede has been treated to a reworked suspension to make it a more engaging and sporting drive.
All versions, except the Executive, now get a “Lowered Dynamic Chassis”, with shortened coil springs (lowered 20 mm front, 15 mm rear) and higher spring rates. The shocks have an improved damping ability on both extension and compression, while the sub-frame mountings have harder bushes and the anti-roll bars have been strengthened.
To match the tweaked suspension Volvo has also introduced more powerful uprated engines, including the company’s new D5 diesel unit. Twin turbochargers of differing sizes (low and high pressure) replace a single blower on the old D5, increasing power by 20bhp, and giving 310lb ft of torque.
CO2 drops from 169g/km to 164g/km and ceramic glow plugs, which warm up to 1000deg C in a couple of seconds, improve start-ups and efficiency at low revs.
What’s it like?
The D5 makes an inspiring five-pot burble and is a punchy unit in the low and mid-range. There is a healthy plateau of torque between 1500-3250rpm, making for smooth effortless urge until the power starts to tail off around 4000rpm.