Redesigned Volvo S80: Luxury and Performance

By: Glady Reign

This year was quite a tough time for Volvo. Other than Ford Motor Corp.'s reported plan to have Volvo sold along with Jaguar and Land Rover in order to raise cash, the sales of most of the Volvo models dropped. Its overall U.S. sales swooped by 9.9% in the first nine months of this year, at 80,991 units. Despite this however, Volvo was able to almost double its sales of S80 at 9,963 units in the first three quarters of 2007.

The competition in the market for performance-oriented luxury sedans becomes crucial as automakers continue to crowd the segment. Volvo, as a second-tier brand, holds up with its redesigned S80 luxury sedan. The vehicle equipped with a powerful optional V-8 engine and other more pleasant features that made Volvo's S80 competitive enough with popular luxury models from Infiniti, BMW, and Audi. The big difference is that the S80 comes at a lower price along with a cool, minimalist Scandinavian interior styling.

Though the speed of the S80 sedan barely matches the BMW 535i's, it has the sporty feel comparable with Honda's Acura RL.

The 2007 redesigned Volvo S80 has been largely carried over for 2008 model year. Volvo has only added a third optional engine to the lineup. The front-wheel-drive base model can now be powered with a 3.2 L, 235 hp inline six-cylinder engine, priced at $39,450. And, the new T6, an all-wheel-drive version, can be powered by a turbocharged 3.0 L, 281 hp inline six-cylinder engine, priced at $43,790.

Even if the S80 is equipped with the V-8 engine and all-wheel-drive, and packed with several options, it is considerably cheaper compared with the V-8-powered versions of its rivals: Audi A6, BMW 535i, Infiniti M45, and Cadillac STS. It even outwits the Acura RL that comes with a 3.5 L V-6 engine priced at $47,000 to $54,500. In addition, the T6 is seven grand less than the S80 with V-8 engine.

The Sport Package worth $2,495 is offered as an optional on all versions of the S80. It has included 18-inch alloy wheels and Pirelli high-performance tires, bi-Xenon headlamps, speed-sensitive power steering, and ventilated front seats. It also comes with an electronic chassis control system that permits the alteration of suspension through a touch of a button.

The S80 also offers fair fuel economy. The 2008 model has been rated with 16 miles per gallon in city driving and 24 on the highway, whereas the all-wheel-drive models were rated 15 in the city and 23 in highway driving.

Volvo, struggling to survive, will also be releasing three new models, including the XC70 crossover vehicle, the boldly designed C30 hatchback, and the V70 wagon, in the next six months. All will be equipped with quality and other parts for optimum safety and performance.

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