Even before safety was such a critical part of the buying process, Volvo had pushed the envelope by offering cutting-edge technology and cold, hard steel to protect its vehicles' occupants. Today, everything from luxury BMWs to basic Hyundais have five star crash protection, but Volvo is doing what it can to raise the safety bar even higher. The new-for-2007 Volvo S80 is the Swedish automaker's flagship sedan, with amenities like a V8 engine, all-wheel drive, an upscale interior, and classy yet understated looks. Where the S80 really makes its impression with Volvo faithful, however, is how far the automaker has gone to make its full-size sedan a safety flagship. Volvo has billed the S80 as having the latest safety advancements, while also packing the luxury amenities customers want, so we decided to put the S80 through the wringer in the Autoblog Garage. Hit the jump for impressions from our one-week test of the 2007 Volvo S80 V8 AWD. %Gallery-6399% click on any image to enlarge On our first day with the S80, we had the type of experience that nobody wants to have, especially with kids in the car. On a rainy summer afternoon, we took the kids out for GameWorks and a movie. We were accelerating down an on-ramp and about to merge into traffic when an oncoming truck hit one of the ever-present orange construction barrels. The barrel banked off the cement barrier to our right, and settled directly in front of my intended path. We banked hard to the right at about 45 mph and then immediately back to the left, missing both the barrel and the barrier by no more than 18 inches. To complicate things, the pickup truck didn't slow down and was fish-tailing, so I slammed down on the throttle, and the Yamaha-sourced V8 engine accelerated the Shunk clan out of harms way. In some other cars without the added traction of AWD or a well-tuned suspension, we'd have hit the barrel, the wall, or both. That's a good starting point for any review, and we didn't experience too many downers from there. At first glance, the S80's design is an evolutionary step from its predecessor, but the aesthetic similarities tell very little of the story. The new S80 has more refined lines than the previous generation, and it's underpinned by the all-new EUCD platform that is shared with the Ford Mondeo and Land Rover LR2. Power comes from either Volvo's new 3.2L inline six (with our without turbocharging), or the transversely-mounted 4.4L V8 engine that was delivered with our tester. Our car also had the Haldex AWD system, which is standard on the V8 and T6, and optional with the base, non-turbo in-line six. The exterior is largely based on the previous generation S80 penned by the Jan Wilsgaard/Peter Horbury design squad. Lines have been softened in most places, with brightwork and lights coming off much more high-end. The headlights, for example, are bi-Xenon, but their design is clean, without the busy jewel …
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|MPG||17 City / 25 Hwy|
|Power||311 @ 5950 rpm|
|Drivetrain||Instant Traction(TM) all wheel|
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