Volvo S90: Engine Performance
Globally, Volvo S90 is available with a choice of Petrol (T5 & T6) and Hybrid (T8) versions as well apart from D3 and D5 variant diesel engines. The D4 version that we receive in India is a 2.0L (1969 CC) diesel, four-cylinder in-line motor that produces 190 BHP @ 4250 RPM and torque of 400 Nm @ 1750 RPM. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Needless to say, it’s super-refined although not exactly an enthusiast’s delight, especially if you compare it to a BMW. The specs on paper are similar to that of a BMW 520d or an Audi A6. However, Volvo being substantially heavier (2962 Kgs) results into a power-to-weight ratio of 64 BHP per metric ton opposed to BMW’s 97 BHP per metric ton and Audi’s 120 BHP per metric ton. Switch on the ignition by turning the engine start-stop knob and S90 gracefully comes alive. There’s an initial judder but in a matter of seconds, you’ll find yourself indulged in absolute tranquility.
The TFT LCD instrument cluster performs a clean swipe every time it’s turned on. It’s customizable into different themes (Glass, Minimalist, Performance and Chrome Rings) and is quite intuitive too. Aside from displaying speed in analogue and digital forms, it shows odometer / tripmeter, tachometer according to driving mode, outside temperature, basic car information and GPS with road signs. You get a clear head on view from driver seat. The blind spots which are left out are thankfully compensated with a staggering combination of camera and sensors on each direction, thus, making the task of maneuvering a car of this size a cakewalk. BTW think twice before making those tight U-Turns in congested areas though. This palace on wheels demands a space of its own.
Shift the slick transmission lever to D mode and gently tap on the accelerator. S90 picks up her gown and magnanimously moves forward. Volvo has evidently tuned it to offer maximum comfort and it shows. The front suspension is double wishbone with coil springs while the rear receives a set of air-suspension. It does a neat job of absorbing bumps at lower-speeds though a thud or two could end up making it way on higher speeds. NVH levels are equally well-concealed. Push the power-window button down and then up. You literally feel a vast difference in the noise pollution that filters out. However, on high-speed driving, the wind noise tends to find its way inside the cabin. You have a choice to drive the Volvo S90 in one of the following modes: Eco (re-calibrates the car to deliver optimum mileage), Comfort (optimizes the suspension setup and other functions to suit city driving), Dynamic (stiffens suspension and shifts up at higher RPMs for enhanced driving dynamics).
Note that it’s named Dynamic, not Sports, and rightly so. There’s a perceptible distinction when switching between three modes but in Comfort and Dynamic, it’s no way extraordinary. The S90 is a luxury saloon and best if driven like one. Though it feels at home on high-speeds and enjoys tight cornering but serious driving-enthusiasts will be still disappointed. The eight-speed automatic transmission provides smooth and timely shifts. Steering is ideal for city-driving and there’s a remarkable change in its behavior as soon as there’s prominent speed variation. Lane-assist is a sensible feature but it’s practicality in the Indian road conditions is still questionable. It helps you stay in lane by detecting road-markings. You're instantly informed through mild vibration in steering should the car move off-course.
In the comfort mode, S90 cruises seamlessly on 80 Kmph @ 1500 RPM while in Dynamic mode, the same occurs at about 1800 RPM. Braking ability is superb and you feel absolutely in control at all times. You can vouch for safety and security while sitting in a Volvo and S90 is no exception. The car is equipped to brim with some of the most advanced technologies. I, in fact, had a chance to experience the reversible seatbelt pretensioners in action while climbing up fast from an underpass. The car detected a collision-like situation (which, of course, it wasn’t) and rapidly kept pulling the seatbelts taut. My co-passenger was left in horror for some time. Not because of the incident, but because of the seatbelts.
Other safety features include: six-airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, hill assist, traction control etc to name a few.
For the price tag of Rs.54.5 Lakh, Volvo S90 certainly has a lot going for it. First, it’s a breath of fresh air in the territory which is mostly ruled by three-pointed star, four rings and a propeller. It looks a segment bigger and is bound to make heads turn; it’s also supremely luxurious and well-equipped. The driving performance may not be enthralling but it ain’t a spoilsport either. If you prefer to be chauffeur driven mostly, the S90 presents itself as an excellent proposition.