Volvo’s replacement for the current S80 will be “more distinctive than XC90” and rival top-end models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar.
Volvo confirmed the unveiling for its new range-topping saloon – which will rival the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar XF – as part of a wider announcement about its collaboration with Microsoft in developing next-generation technologies, including holographic imaging.
The Swedish manufacturer says it has been working with Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses to develop ways for customers to configure cars in three dimensions, but also to give drivers a sneak-peek at new models. Journalists using the HoloLens technology were able to see parts of the new S90 as a 3D hologram months before the car’s unveiling in Detroit.
The new S90 has already been described as being “the real test” for Volvo following the launch of the highly successful XC90 this year. Speaking to Autocar earlier this year, Volvo’s head of research and development Peter Mertens said the S90 and its V90 estate sibling were a “step beyond” what had been achieved with the XC90. “The styling and the interior design will take a substantial step over the XC90. We have made a bigger effort for the sedan,” he said.
The S90’s exterior design has already been leaked via pictures of scale models depicting the car. While Volvo has not confirmed the authenticity of the models, it has said that producing scaled designs to celebrate the launch of a new car is normal practice. The first official teaser pictures for the new car appear to confirm that the models were accurate.
The Volvo S90 and V90 are expected to be offered with the same choice of powertrains as the XC90, with the UK market focusing on the 394bhp T8 ‘Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid and the D4 and D5 diesel engines.
Volvo UK managing director Nick Connor added that the new S90 would also continue to push Volvo down its own, independent path. “Volvo now has the self-confidence to go its own way – we have no interest in copying the German brands,” he said. “There is no point in trying to outhandle the 3 Series or whatever, we have our own values around exterior and interior design, safety, comfort and powertrain advancements that stand out for their own qualities.
“The S90 clearly demonstrates the transition we are going through. I actually think people will be even more surprised when they see it than they were when they saw the new XC90. It really is quite impactful; a car that your eye just keeps getting drawn to. The design and dimensions make it a far more premium looking car than the S80, the interior is an evolution of the XC90’s, but a step up again, and it has a real distinction about0 it.”