What's it like?
Apart from being obviously big, the S90 LWB is refined and comfortable; but, unlike some of its rivals, it lacks sporting credentials. The T5’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit pumps out a very respectable 254bhp and, on paper, Volvo claims a 0-62mph time of 7.2sec. However, in real life, it just never seems that quick. Unlike BMW models, the Eco and Comfort modes on the eight-speed automatic transmission make little discernable difference and it is only really when you select Dynamic that the car ups its game. Even then, you have to push the pedal hard to get much build-up in speed. While there is a semi-manual mode on the gearbox, unlike its German rivals, there are no paddle shifts.
It is not poised in the way of a BMW or Jaguar and is more akin to a non-RS spec Audi. The steering is light with very little feedback. While road holding is reasonable, the car screams comfort over thrills, as evidenced by the ride, which tends to soak up most ruts in the road.
The front of the passenger compartment is largely the same as the Swedish-built examples, although the car is 11mm narrower. Our car had a darker brown Nappa leather trim that nicely matched the opulent walnut veneer. Despite the high level of material finish, the leather seemed to mark easily. With higher driving positions, the top of the head-up display became difficult to see.
For the full chauffeur-driven experience, you need to move to the rear right passenger seat. Mounted on the door handle is an array of controls. These allow the user to move the front passenger seat and control the panoramic sunroof and blinds on the rear passenger and back windows. Mounted on the back of the centre tunnel console are controls for the heating and cooling of the rear seats along with a 220V standard power socket. While the front seats get a massage function, given the target market this is surprisingly absent from the rear.
Should I buy one?
The S90 LWB looks more balanced than the standard model and has top-notch quality. A thorough examination of the interior only revealed a troublesome catch on the rear armrest. However, the navigation system also seems slow to recognise addresses. For passengers, it is a comfortable, cosseting environment, but for the driver it fails to excite. Fuel economy is also terrible; the best we achieved was 21mpg; although, admittedly, much of the driving was on inner-city highways in very hot weather.
However, while some standard S90s are being built in China for the European market, Volvo has not announced plans to bring the LWB version over to Europe. For now, it is only available in China and, from 2018, in the US.
Volvo S90 LWB T5 Inscription
Location Shanghai; On Sale Now (China); Price RMB551,800 (£62,705); Engine 4 cyls in line, 1969cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 254bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 350Nm at 1500-4800rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1771kg; 0-62mph 7.2sec; Top speed 144mph; Economy 40mpg (7.1l/100km); CO2 and tax band unknown