A turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol offers more power and pace than the 140bhp 2.4-litre. The 170bhp 2.4 provides little extra punch and has worse fuel economy. The 2.9 T6, with an auto gearbox, doesn’t deliver the thrills that its 272bhp promises. A 2.4-litre D5 turbodiesel matches 340lb ft of brawn with decent economy.
Volvo S80 ride & handling
The big Volvo majors on comfort, quietness and ease of driving. Its ride is softer than that of the BMW 5 Series and, as could be expected, it doesn’t handle with the same enthusiasm. The power of the T6 can ask too much of the steering and front tyres, however, especially on a damp surface.
Volvo S80 refinement
The S80 is extremely comfortable and refined, and is a superb long-distance cruiser. Its one weakness is its behaviour in heavy traffic, when a jerky clutch take-up and a mottled ride over bumps seem at odds with the car’s overall smoothness, but the optional auto ’box overcomes this handicap.