2009 S80 New Car Test Drive
The Volvo S80 is fast, comfortable and roomy. Big and luxurious, it's Volvo's flagship sedan. It rides nice around town and it's powerful and tracks straight as an arrow at high speeds.
The S80 offers a choice of engines: a powerful V8 and two six-cylinder engines, including a new T6 turbocharged six-cylinder.
Built by Yamaha, the V8 sounds like a Corvette engine when it first starts up then settles to a smooth idle. It's smooth and creamy when cruising and very responsive. At high speeds the S80 is quiet and smooth. Its performance (0-60 in 6.5 seconds) should please most buyers, especially when the weather turns bad and the all-wheel drive can shine.
Steering effort and chassis settings are adjustable, allowing the driver to adjust for smooth, soft sailing or taut control for more responsive handling. We found the car handles quite well for a large luxury car.
Inside is a sumptuous cabin with comfortable seats, Bang and Olufsen audio, and an available navigation system. Adaptive cruise control allows the driver to maintain set following distances with the cars ahead: the system will accelerate or slow the car as needed.
The S80 is loaded with safety equipment, from its protective structure to its state-of-the-art active and passive safety features.
We think the S80 is the best overall car ever to come out of Sweden, slick, modern, pretty but understated, quick and powerful. It's relatively sporty and there aren't any rough edges on this package anywhere.
The 2008 Volvo S80 is available with an inline-six-cylinder engine and front wheel drive ($38,705), a V8 engine and all-wheel-drive ($49,210), or the T6 turbocharged six-cylinder ($42,045)
Option packages for the S80 include the Sport package ($2,495) with 18-inch alloy wheels and 245/40R18 tires and speed-sensitive steering with three-way adjustable steering effort. An audio upgrade includes a six-CD changer, MP3 player, auxiliary input and USB. Other options include satellite navigation with remote control ($2,120), adaptive cruise control ($1,495), front and rear park assist ($495), and dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system ($1,800).
The safety package on the S80 is world-class, from the patented body structure to the ABS, traction control, yaw control; front airbags; the new dual-chamber side airbags, with one chamber for the hips and one for the chest; radar adaptive cruise control that can brake the car without driver action; the collision warning system with pre-braking; and the optional blind-spot information system, or BLIS ($695), that senses vehicles in the right and left blind spots and delivers a warning if there's something there. The headlights are active xenon lamps that follow the road around curves. Also included in the safety roster is the Personal Car Communicator, a new electronic key fob design that can lock or unlock the car from distances up to 110 yards, and can tell you what state the locks are in. It can activate the alarm, and can sense the presence of a human heartbeat inside the car. A traffic distance warning system on top of the dash triggers a flashing red light and an audible warning, both of which can be defeated by the driver if desired. And those are just the highlights.