Volvo S80 is First Produced
The Volvo S80 is a mid-size executive sedan from Swedish automaker Volvo and was introduced in 1998 as a replacement for the rear-wheel drive Volvo 960/S90 sedan.
The Volvo S80 was built at the Torslanda Plant (Torslandaverken) in Gothenburg, Sweden. Unlike most Volvo models, it did not have a station wagon version for its first generation. Now, the third generation V70 wagon is marketed as the estate version for the second generation S80 sedan. This is a part of a major product overhaul at Volvo, including a most luxurious large estate and sedan.
The first generation was notable for being one of the first Volvos to depart from the company's traditionally boxy, conservative styling. The S80's styling, with its pronounced beltlines and tail lights that narrow and go from curves to points as they go up, was later adopted throughout the Volvo line, especially on the S60 and S40 sedans.
The Volvo S80 engines have developed a reputation for reliability and excellent performance, proving a match for BMW, Mercedes Benz and other comparable executive car manufacturers.
The first generation Volvo S80 had one of the highest crash test ratings in the world for five years. The second generation Volvo S80 in June 2007 scored the highest "good" rating in the IIHS crash test performance for frontal, side, and rear impacts, continuing in the success of the first S80 sedan, earning it the IIHS Top Safety Pick. The second generation S80 is better engineered than the previous model, in part due to a stiffer more rigid chassis.
The generation S80is based on the Ford D3 platform. More than 368,000 first generation S80s were built before the introduction of the new model. The all-new S80's styling, with its pronounced beltlines and tail lights that narrow and go from curves to points as they go up, is often jokingly referred to as "In S80, S stands for Sexy".
This S80 sedan being Volvo's flagship model was heavily equipped with numerous safety systems to ensure all occupants safety, including SIPS and WHIPS.
The S80 has three firsts for passenger cars. The first was the use of a built-in, fully integrated GSM phone, complete with both a hands free function and a lift-up hand-set. The second was the fitment of the straight six engine in a transverse mounting. Volvo claims to be the first manufacturer to succeed in mass producing this configuration "in modern time", although this is quite false, since British Leyland produced passenger cars using the E6 engine from 1970 to 1981 in cars such as the Austin Kimberley and Austin Princess. No existing manual gearbox would fit in the engine bay with the six cylinder engine, so Volvo had to develop their own, claimed to be the world's smallest manual gearbox, the M65. The previous record holder was also a Volvo gearbox, the M56 developed to fit the wide 5 cylinder transverse engine first used in the 850 series cars. Thirdly, the S80 was the world's first car with an environmental specification, covering aspects such as those directly relating to the car such as allergens from textiles and fuel economy and the life cycle of the car from production to dismantling.
For Volvo, the S80 was a major step forward into the age of modern car design, particularly with the use of multiplex wiring. It is said that the S80 has more than 40 onboard computers, with at least one in every door. A popular expression says there's more electronics in the S80 than in the F15 fighter.
The S80 was initially available with four different engines. Starting the range was a detuned 2.4-litre 140 hp 5-cylinder. This was also available as a CNG and as an LPG version. The fully tuned version produced 170 PS (125 kW). Next up was a 2.9 L 196 PS (144 kW) 6-cylinder, then 272 PS (200 kW) T6 and finally, the 140 PS (102 kW) 2.5 L TDI (diesel). The 2.9 has a Straight-6 engine while the T6 was powered by a destroked twin-turbocharged version. In 2000 there was the addition of the 200 hp (149 kW) 2.5T, available with standard all-wheel drive. The 2.5T model featured a light-pressure turbocharger. Late 2001 introduced the 163 PS (120 kW) 5 cylinder common rail diesel D5, detuned to 130 PS (96 kW) and sold as 2.4D in some markets. In some European countries the entry level S80 came with a 2.0 litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 182 PS. These were sold in countries where larger capacity engines were penalized by heavy taxes. Minor exterior design changes occurred between 2003 and 2004 versions, notably front grille styling (in pre-2004 version (pictured above), it has vertical metallic pattern - herited from 960 series - , while in 2004 (pictured right) a gray plastic brick-wall pattern was introduced).
On January 31, 2006, Volvo released the first pictures of the second generation S80 and the car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on February 28, with sales beginning in June 2006. Generally all features of the car were upgraded substantially. The new S80 features a new 3.2 L straight-6 or 4.4 L V8 engine in combination with available four-wheel drive. The second-generation S80 is the first Volvo saloon model to become available with Volvo's compact, transversely fitted V8 with a power output of 315 PS (232 kW; 311 hp) and 440 N·m (320 lb·ft) of torque developed jointly by Volvo Cars engine unit Skövde and Yamaha but built by Yamaha of Japan. With four catalytic converters and advanced electronics, this engine, which was first introduced in the Volvo XC90, is one of the cleanest V8s on the market. The exterior is similar to that of the first generation but is greatly improved with more high strength boron steel in the body for safety. The interior is seen as one of the most comfortable in the automotive industry.
This second generation S80 is no exception to Volvo's on going improvements and inventions of safety. The second generation S80 has been given the IIHS 2007 Top Safety Pick Award in overall safety protection. Also again in November the IIHS awarded the 2008 Volvo S80 with Top Safety Award. This S80 performed outstandingly above its German and Japanese rivals. Scores were perfect for frontal, side, and rear impacts. The new S80 is based on the Ford EUCD platform (called P24 by Volvo), also used for vehicles including Ford's S-MAX, Mondeo and Galaxy large MPVs. Some of these Ford vehicles, whilst sharing this platform, and some parts, are distincly different from each other as they compete in different auto market segments. Volvo vehicles on this platform tend to use more high tech parts and more expensive underpinnings.
Volvo's Personal Car Communicator (PCC) remote control will also be an optional feature with the new S80. This feature is fairly new to the automotive industry. Before a driver gets to their car, they are able to review the security level and know whether they have set the alarm and if the car is locked. Additionally, there is a heartbeat sensor that warns if someone is hiding inside the car.
Blind spot detector on side mirrors.
The all new S80 is the first Volvo model to feature Adaptive cruise control (ACC) with Collision Warning and Brake Support (CWBS). Adaptive cruise control helps ensure comfort and relaxed driving by letting the driver select the desired speed and the minimum time gap to the vehicle in front of them. When a radar sensor detects a slower vehicle in front of them, Adaptive Cruise Control adapts to that vehicle by applying the brakes as necessary. As the Collision Warning System senses an impending collision, it alerts with a flashing light on the windshield and an audible alarm. Meanwhile Brake Support offers additional assistance by preparing the braking system so that the car can begin stopping faster and avoid a potentially dangerous situation before it happens. Volvo S80 is also available with a new safety innovation called Blind Spot Information System (BLIS, first seen in Volvo S40) which senses when a person enters the drivers blind spot and Active Bi-Xenon Lights (ABL) to illuminate around curves in the dark. Volvo is known for making historic strides in the production of intuitive new safety systems. BLIS system has been recently introduced at Mercedes-Benz's higher specification cars, nearly two years after Volvo. The second generation Volvo S80 is much more luxurious than the previous generation, and it flaunts its "Scandinavian Luxury" design language. The second generation S80 has already won awards in best mid size luxury sedan interior.
New features include a choice of 5-cylinder 2.4L D5 twin turbo diesel, 2.4L diesel, or 1.6L diesel engine. Also the 2.5T and 2.5FT were modified to produce more power and have a lower fuel consumption. The car's exterior was modified to give the S80 a lower, longer and wider stance. More chrome trim were added to the front, the rear end the doors to look like the S80 Executive. The 2010 Volvo S80 facelift also comes with a choice between a comfort-enhancing standard chassis or a sport one that offers better handling dynamics. The 2010 S80 will be available with a S80 R-design interior package to give the inside a sportier look. The interior package contains a new sports steering wheel, sports pedals, Dynamic leather seats, sports gearshift knob and a new combi instrument with blue background.
Among luxury sedans, the Volvo S80 has always been something of an alternative choice. Through two generations, Volvo's largest sedan has spurned outright luxury and serious performance in favor of cutting-edge safety features and in-cabin technology. And, in a class dominated by rear-drive sedans, Volvo continues to tout the virtues of front-wheel drive, while offering all-wheel drive as an option.
There are plenty of premium-brand sedans that feel more upscale than the S80. There are just as many that surpass its balance and grip on a winding back road. Yet the Volvo S80 is certainly one of the safest four-door conveyances money can buy. It also boasts some of the industry's most supportive seats.
For luxury sedan buyers whose tastes diverge from the mainstream, the Volvo S80 is an interesting car to consider. And with a price tag that undercuts many European and Japanese-brand competitors, it can be a sensible option as well.
Current Volvo S80
The Volvo S80 is only midsize in dimensions, which means it can seat four adults comfortably but doesn't have yards of legroom to spare. It has about the same footprint as the Acura RL, the competitor it most closely resembles in personality and performance.
Volvo sells three versions of the S80. The entry-level S80 3.2 is front-wheel drive and is motivated by a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder rated for 235 horsepower. Drawing upon the services of a six-speed automatic transmission, the 3.2 moves the S80 along adequately in most situations.
However, buyers seeking a more authentic luxury experience will undoubtedly prefer either the midrange S80 T6 or the high-line S80 V8. The T6 model uses a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 281 hp. It uses the same transmission as the base S80, but power goes to all four wheels via a standard all-wheel-drive system. True to its name, the S80 V8 has a 311-hp 4.4-liter V8. As on the T6, the six-speed automatic drives all four wheels. This is a potent combination, even in a car that weighs more than 2 tons; we've timed the S80 V8 at 5.9 seconds for the 0-60-mph run.
All Volvo S80s come standard with the usual luxury amenities, including xenon headlamps, leather upholstery, wood trim, Bluetooth, power-adjustable seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Major options include Volvo's Four-C adaptive suspension, an excellent 12-speaker Dynaudio sound system, a navigation system, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and a rear-seat refrigerator (V8 models only). Notably, the nav system offers a separate remote control to allow safer operation by the front passenger while the car is in motion.
On the safety front, the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Personal Car Communicator (PCC) and collision warning system (bundled with adaptive cruise control) are worthwhile options for long-distance commuters to consider. One of the first systems of its kind, BLIS uses warning lights mounted on the A-pillars to alert the driver when another vehicle pulls up in the S80's blind spot. Although PCC is basically a glorified security system, its transponder has a heartbeat sensor to let you know if someone is still in your Volvo after the alarm has been activated.
Useful features like these are the main reasons someone might want to buy a Volvo S80. The vigor of the V8 model, the utter comfort of the front seats and a reasonable price tag are additional points in the car's favor. In other respects, though, the Volvo S80 comes across as tepid for a luxury sedan in this class. It rides comfortably, handles predictably and stops short, but otherwise does little to engage its driver. And although its cabin has all the expected amenities, it lacks the unrestrained elegance and exacting quality of competitors' interiors.
Used Volvo S80 Models
The second-generation Volvo S80 debuted for the 2007 model year. Although it didn't change drastically in size or appearance, the S80 moved to an all-new platform and adopted a new pair of engines -- the base inline-6 and the V8 -- not to mention an impressive array of safety technology. Model-year 2008 saw the addition of the turbocharged inline-6. Otherwise, changes to the second-generation S80 have been relatively minor, consisting mostly of additional luxury options. Notably, the S80 did not enjoy standard Bluetooth or xenon headlamps prior to 2009, and the rear-seat refrigerator was unavailable.
If you're shopping for a used Volvo S80, you'll come across many examples from the first generation, sold from 1999-2006. This car was similar in dimensions and focus to today's S80. It heralded a new styling direction for Volvo's sedans, as its curvy body lines were a dramatic break from the company's boxy designs of the '80s and '90s. Even today, the original S80 has a Scandinavian coolness that keeps it from looking dated. However, significant concerns about reliability have driven down its resale value -- good for bargain hunters, but not so much for owners.
Volvo offered the S80 with three different engines, two of them turbocharged. The most interesting of these was the T6, a twin-turbo inline six-cylinder rated for 268 horsepower. (Initially, the T6 displaced 2.8 liters; in 2002, Volvo enlarged it to 2.9 liters with no change in output.) Volvo claimed a 6.8-second 0-60 time for the S80 T6, but even with a standard four-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels, the car felt quicker than that. Serious torque steer was the major knock against the T6 model. Volvo discontinued it after 2005.
From 1999-2004, a naturally aspirated 2.9-liter inline six-cylinder good for 197 hp motivated the base Volvo S80. It, too, was available only with a four-speed automatic and only with front-wheel drive. In 2004, a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder known as the 2.5T joined the lineup. Rated for 208 hp, it offered significantly more torque than the 2.9-liter, while engaging the services of a more sophisticated five-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5T was the only engine that could be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. And in '06, it was the only engine you could get on the S80.
Acceleration was modest with either of the lesser engines, but otherwise the driving experience was agreeable in the S80, with a comfortable ride and sure-footed handling. Those seeking added control should look for an S80 with the Four-C adaptive suspension, which was offered as an option on 2004 and later models. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a CD audio system and a telescoping steering wheel were standard throughout the run. Options ran the gamut in the first-gen Volvo S80. In addition to expected items like a navigation system (DVD-based from '02 onward), a high-quality Dolby sound system and xenon headlamps ('02 and up), Volvo offered a rear-seat refrigerator, a dual-screen entertainment system and even a fax machine ('01 only) in certain high-line T6 models, which were called Executive, Elite or Premier depending on the model year.
Still, the best reason to consider buying a used Volvo S80 is its high level of safety. It earned five stars in all government-administered front- and side-impact crash tests, as well as a "Good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, a full menu of side airbags and dynamic front head restraints were standard throughout its eight-year run. The one feature to pay attention to is stability control: It was standard on T6 models but optional on all other S80s.
The Volvo S80 is a modern, good looking, quick and powerful sedan with a surefooted stance and solid performance. New for 2010 is a 3.2 liter PZEV engine available on the front-wheel drive model and an available dynamic sports chassis on the T6 and V8 all-wheel drive models.
The front-wheel drive S80 is available with a 235-hp 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine or a 225-hp 3.2-liter PZEV engine. The V8 and T6 are available with all-wheel drive and a 311-hp 4.4-liter V8 engine or a 281-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. All engines are matched with a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Safety features include ABS, traction control, stability control, and six airbags. Adaptive cruise control, collision warning system with pre-braking, and blind-spot information system are optional, as well as active bi-xenon headlamps that follow the road around curves. Also included in the safety roster is the Personal Car Communicator, and an electronic key fob.