Volvo S80 T4 Review
Does size really matter?

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
17 May 2011

Volvo further downsizes the S80 by introducing a new 1.6-litre T4 version. Is it an extreme case of downsizing or a masterstroke in exploiting the COE system?

Introduction, styling

Besides the physical size of a car, downsizing in automotive terms can also mean reduction in engine sizes. Now, you might think that a smaller engine means less power and hence a recipe for pathetic performance but I can tell you that you can't be no wrong.

In recent years, the car makers have faced big pressure to lower their cars' fuel consumption numbers as well as their CO2 emissions figures thanks to high fuel prices and environmental concerns. While this can be achieved in European markets by introducing more new generation clean diesel models, Asia's non-acceptance of the oil burner means the car brands have to pursue continuous developments in petrol engines.

The result - the downsizing of petrol engines for better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions but with no reduction in terms of power output. How is this possible then? How can a smaller engine make as much power as that of a much larger one? The answer is charging - supercharging, turbocharging or twincharging.

Volkswagen is one of the pioneers of engine downsizing with its TSI engines and the effects of it are evident in its strong sales in recent times. Other brands that have joined Volkswagen in downsizing their petrol engines include Audi and Mercedes-Benz while the latest to join the list is Swedish marque Volvo.

Volvo's sales in Singapore have always been hampered by the lack of small capacity engines in its line-up. Models like the C30, S40, V50 and XC60 among others used to be available with engines that were more than 2,000cc in size but Volvo has been slowly introducing 2-litre engines in recent times to widen their appeal. It's the same with the brand's S80 flagship saloon model. The second generation S80 was introduced in 2006 initially with either a 3.2-litre straight-six or a 2.5T 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged lump. The turbocharged 3-litre T6 then replaced the 3.2 range topping model and last year, the range was finally joined by a tax-friendly 2-litre 2.0T model.

Just when you thought that a 2-litre motor was as small an engine ought to be in a large executive like the S80, Volvo takes the art of engine downsizing a step further by launching a 1.6-litre turbocharged S80 variant dubbed the T4, thus putting the S80 in the slightly more affordable Cat A COE class and making the fairly sized S80 the largest saloon model in Cat A. With the T4, Volvo has discontinued the 2.5T model with its charismatic in-line five motor - the S80 range now consisting of the T6, 2.0T and the new T4.

On the outside, the new T4 variant can be differentiated from the 2.0T only by the ‘T4' badge on the boot lid instead of ‘2.0T'. Everything else on the exterior, including the design of the alloy wheels are similar to the 2.0T's. Overall styling of the five-year old S80 though, is starting to look aged, especially when it is parked next to newer and sleeker Volvos like the S60 and V60.

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Engine Capacity 1595cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (79 x 81.4)mm
Power 180bhp @ 5700rpm
Torque 240Nm @ 1600rpm
Power to Weight 110.6 bhp per ton


Acceleration 9.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 220 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Powershift
Drive Type FF


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4851 x 1861 x 1493) mm
Wheelbase 2835 mm
Turning Circle 11.7 metres
Kerb Weight 1627 kg
Boot Capacity 480 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs