Volvo Motors India are having a gala time as of now with all those Volvo XC60s alloted for India already booked. This too even without any publicity or brand ambassador. But then it seems to be working for the company. Volvo Motors India have actually not done any sort of huge advertising for this car as any new automobile company in India would do. But then if the strategy is working for them, it would work for us automobile aficionados. It has got a new owner, namely Geely automobiles from China. As of now, none of the Volvo products are made in China and imported to India. Rather products are still Sweden made and imported to India. Volvo Motors India are now ramping up their dealerships and service outlets so that the prospective customers aren’t disappointed with this aspect of the company. Automobile journalists world over praise Volvo for building good cars but then they don’t praise them for their marketing acumen. Aneways, the topic of my discussion today is the Volvo S80 in India. It is Volvo’s flagship car for the Indian customers. Sighting a Volvo car in India is as rare as finding Kim Kardashian in Indian streets with a bikini. Okay, the latter one is possible but then what about the former. I am sure, people in Thane would have been treated to sounds of a Volvo S80 roaring down the streets. Folks, well it was your truly. So here, we have not the test drive but the review of the Volvo S80.
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Will I call this car modern by its looks? Not by any chance. It has got that long hood which is typical of old cars. It somehow feels like a man with his mouth full of pan and ready to spit on anybody interested. It has got an Audi type grille but then there is a big intersection in the middle and above that is the Volvo logo. The head lamps flanking the grille are also old shaped. A strange thing is that below the head lamp is a tow hook. Now, tell me when was the last time you saw one on a car and that too just below the head lamps? The fog lamps are small units and not aligned to be in a straight line. Infact they are been angled a bit outwards in order to provide for maximum vision in foggy conditions. The Alloy Wheels size is 7″x17″ Michelin Tyres and w225/50 R17. They fill the wheel arches well and no complaints in this regard. The outside rear view mirrors are body colored and have turn indicators embedded in them. The rear of this car looks like the old Mitsubishi Lancer. Infact there is nothing spectacular to talk about. There is another tow hook at the rear. For the Volvo S80 D5, the tail pipe isn’t visible but if you opt for the Volvo S80 V8 AWD, then you will find twin tail pipe units.
If you are looking for German flair here, then you are sadly mistaken. The interiors give one sense of restrained luxury. Unlike the Germans which are its prime competition, the Volvo S80 in India gets somewhat flimsy buttons that take a bit of time getting used to. Power windows switches would have to be searched with a microscope. Well, I was exaggerating there but seriously, there seems to be a lot of things that Volvo needs to rectify in its flagship. The car feels solidly built but just a wee bit that of the Germans. No, I am not a German pugilist but then I have been fed on a strict diet of German cars, so much so that I can be called as Herr Lijo. Front seats, yes, they are very comfortable and more in the league of the BMW 5 series. Well, they are leather as well with cooling and heating facilities for you bums. Well, since we are talking Volvo here, the seat construction also speaks of safety. They are concave in nature to ensure minimum passenger injury when a collision occurs. The 4 spoke oyster colored, leather rimmed steering wheel has all the required controls on its like audio, Bluetooth and also cruise controls. Speaking of audio, this car boasts one of the best Dynaudio system in its category and maybe one above. The steering wheel is a part wooden one on the Volvo S80 V8 AWD. There was a 3.2 liter petrol Volvo S80 earlier but as of now, it has been discontinued. The special stitchings for the car’s seats are a revelation in themselves. The rear seat has, dare I can say, much more comfort than even an E-class. Moreover, you get DVD screens as standard at the back of the front seat headrests. This is something which the Merc offers as a paid option. There is enough of under seat squab to support even Yokozuna. Being a 6 footer, I found the back seat to have a perfect angle of back rest and other things that we usually lookout for an executive class sedan.
The rear also features twin blowers for the climatronic aircon unit. The rear seats also split 60:40 and this aids in sufficiently loading the 470 liters boot space. The loading aperture however is narrow and this somewhat hampers smooth loading. There is a boot light as well something which some of its competition lacks. There is no Idrive like BMW or COMAND system like Mercedes but a small touch screen system which actually relays all the necessary information. The meter dials also look very cool and are a class apart from the Germans. Well, there is also a sunroof as standard feature on these cars. Storage spaces in and around the cabin are plenty. Infact the door map pockets is the biggest that I have seen in this class of cars.
Handling and ride quality
The Volvo S80 in India gets McPherson strut springs in the front whereas the rear boasts of a multi link suspension. The S80 is softly sprung so as to provide for a good ride quality and boy does it impress. It has got a very pliant ride quality at low speeds that the Germans lack. Moreover, even though it is softly sprung, the rear didn’t bottom out even when fully loaded. Good that Chinese influence hasn’t set in yet for this Swedish company. NVH is amongst the lowest in its class and almost at par with the E-class. Infact, in a comparison test, I am sure that the Volvo would edge out the Merc E-class to the second spot as far as NVH is concerned. Its only when the V8 motor is revved hard that it actually displays some NVH but it is far too less to be intrusive. Roll down the windows and you would be greeted with the V8 wail that you have been waiting for.
The steering is ultra light and makes for a good companion in the city. Unlike the BMW 5 series, this car doesn’t shrink around the driver and while in traffic, I could feel the car’s girth. Go around fastly in corners and even with the AWD in action, the car doesn’t seem to inspire as much as confidence as say the Bavarian. So BMW is still on top as far as handling goes. That saying, the Volvo S80 in India would rank just above the Jaguar XF in the handling stakes.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
Earlier there were two petrol engines and one diesel engine for the Volvo S80’s portfolio in India. But now, the smaller of the petrol engines has been put to oblivion. So for the Volvo S80 in India, there are now only two engine options. One top of the line, Front, transverse, all–wheel drive, 4414 cc twin turbo petrol motor. It is a believe it or not, Yamaha sourced unit. It makes 315 Bhp @ 5900 rpm whereas the peak torque of 440 Nm is delivered at a low 3900 rpm. It is mated to a 6 speed automatic. It is actually triptronic in nature. The downshifts though a bit slow, make this car easy to live with in the city as well as on highway. It has got an almost flat torque curve. This helps in giving it instant acceleration. The naught to 100 kmph is achieved in a lightning fast 8.1 seconds. The way my neck snapped while the car was in acceleration is proof enough that this car is short tempered. Keep the right foot pinned and the car can go beyond 200 kmph onto its electronically limited top speed of 235 kmph.
The diesel engine is a 2.4 liter 5 cylinder Turbocharged unit which has twin turbo sequential tuning for good effect. This motor makes 185 Bhp of peak power at 4100 rpm whereas the peak torque of 400 Nm is developed between 2000-2700 rpm. This transmission is also mated to a 6 speed automatic option. The 0-100 kmph figure is achieved in 9.5 seconds whereas the top speed is 203 kmph. This motor is a bit raucous as compared to its German compatriots but then none of the sound percolates inside. The best thing is that both the engines love to be revved and are an enthusiasts delight.
Discs at front and at the rear help shave off speed faster than one can think of. There is no pitching or heaving even under heavy braking duress. Moreover, the electronic nannies like ABS, EBD, ESP, ready brake alert, hydraulic brake assist and also traction control ensure that the things don’t get out of hand. Are you kidding me in asking about the safety features of a Volvo? Noways, I am not lured into the trap. Go check the internet or Volvo’s website for more information about the safety features. I can assure you one thing. This car is loaded to the gills with safety features and many, which you wouldn’t have even heard of. Fuel efficiency is on the weaker side with the Volvo S80 V8 AWD struggling to return 7.1 kmpl in city and 10.2 kmpl on the highway. The Volvo S80 D5 on the other hand delivers 9.3 kmpl in city and 11.4 kmpl on the highway.
The Volvo S80 in India is an understated animal. Yes, think of it, you are getting M version performance with the V8 engine. Maybe, I am overdoing it but this is my way of getting back at the Germans. Both the engines available are high end ones. But then the question remains as to who would buy this car amongst the horde of established Germans out there. The same thing happens with the the cat, Jaguar. If you are a safety geek and obsessed with performance, then you would look no further than the Volvo S80 in India. Lookwise, it wouldn’t announce to people that you have got lots of money but then if it was you coming out alive out a crash, more so when the car would try its level best to stop it in the first place, then it would be your turn of turning the tables at those flashy Mercs, Audis and Bimmers. For starters, the Volvo S80 price in India for V8 AWD is Rs 46.08 lakhs (On-road price Mumbai) whereas the 2.4 Liter D5 variant retails at Rs 40.22 lakhs (On-road price Mumbai). Unfortunately the Volvo S80 3.2 petrol as also the Volvo S80 3.2 AWD variants are no longer available.