Best bits

The S80 has been blessed with powerful, prominent looks that endow it with the kind of road presence so desired by upwardly mobile business executives. It isn’t as showy as some of its other Continental rivals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean quality has taken a hit either.

The new car’s contours have been rounded and the bonnet boasts an aggressive, raised profile. The earlier S80 was criticised for its prominent shoulder haunches, which gave superstitious local buyers an impression of a traditional Chinese coffin. The new car features equally prominent flanks, but the rising belt-line conveys an impression of dynamism and modernity.

Cabin-wise, the materials used and the levels of fit and finish are on par with the more familiar premium brands. There’s an elegant quality about the dash architecture that many would have been hard-pressed to associate with Volvo cars from ten years ago, but this doesn’t mean that the brand has given up on its "safety philosophy" either.

A raft of active and passive safety systems cover the bases for both preventive and protective safety. Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Driver Alert Control (DAC) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) are just three of the high-tech systems that prompt and alert the dozing driver. DAC helps combat driver fatigue by sounding an alert when it detects erratic driving, while the LDW senses when the car crosses over the lane markings without the use of the indicators. BLIS alerts the driver by flashing orange in the event that there is a vehicle in the S80’s blind-spot.

With its current crop of offerings, Volvo has proven to the world that it’s possible to be both "safe and sexy" at the same time. The wonderfully sculpted seats provide a snug support while driving. Like the S40/V50, the S80 features the "floating-effect" centre console, albeit tweaked a little to suit the car’s more sober and grown-up character.



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