The Volvo S80 is a premium luxury sedan that sells for a relatively affordable cost. Competing with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz is difficult, but Volvo manages to produce stately vehicles with a restrained class and dignity that's almost too modest for its own good.
The S80 offers a choice between two engines: a somewhat staid 3.2 liter inline-6 that produces 240 horsepower in the 3.2 model, and a more impressive 300-horsepower turbocharged 3-liter six-cylinder in the T6. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on both models. The 3.2 has front-wheel drive, while the T6 features all-wheel drive.
Power in the 3.2 is sufficient, but it lacks the aggressive punch found in most V6 models from other manufacturers. The turbocharged T6 is a significant upgrade in this respect. It's powerful and sharp, and the increased torque is especially welcome. Both the 3.2 and the T6 offer smooth rides, but we prefer the sportier suspension in the T6. For those wanting a more performance-oriented driving experience, the T6 is the only choice.
The S80's interior is more restrained than most luxury sedans on the market. The layout of the dash is almost simple, and controls are easy to use. The back seat will accommodate two adults with ease, but three will feel cramped.
The S80 truly shines in the safety department. It's equipped with an array of airbags, and optional features abound: a blind-spot monitor, a lane-departure warning system, an impressive driver fatigue monitor, and collision and pedestrian warning systems that include automatic braking. As expected, the Volvo S80 rates near the top of the class in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests.
The Volvo S80 separates itself from other luxury sedans by offering a quiet, refined sense of class, a thoughtful interior, a pleasant driving experience, and top-of-the-line safety features. Other luxury sedans are more fun to drive, and offer a more stylish exterior, but few can match the high-standards of Volvo safety.