New Volvo S80 takes on the Germans

30 January 2006

Volvo will launch its new S80 executive contender in the UK this summer.

The new BMW Series-rivalling S80 will go on sale in June or July, with prices likely to start in the region of £24,000.

A pair of new petrol engines will be available – a 315bhp V8 matched to all-wheel drive and a 235bhp 3.2-litre V6. The existing 200bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol motor will also be on offer, while diesel buyers are catered for with the latest 185bhp version of the company's D5 engine.

All the S80's engines are coupled to a new six-speed automatic transmission, while the V8's all-wheel-drive system will eventually be offered in cars with other engines.

It will interesting to see how big a step forward Volvo has managed to take in terms of ride and handling, because the existing S80 failed to match the likes of the BMW 5 Series in this department.

Volvo reckons it has created the best cabin of any in the class, with carefully chosen materials and colour schemes, and a premium-quality Dolby Surround Sound stereo. The thin 'floating' centre console, first seen in the S40, makes an appearance, too.

New technology includes adaptive cruise control and a collision warning system: close too quickly on the car in front, and the S80 sounds an audible alert. Further warnings are given to the driver through a head-up display, and the system also primes the brakes for optimum stopping power.

A Personal Car Communicator provides keyless start-up, but it even makes sure that the car is locked when not in use, alerts you if the alarm is triggered and can detect heartbeats to let you know if there's an intruder inside.

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