We all knew the brand-new Volvo S90 sedan would be a quantum leap ahead of its S60 and S80 predecessors in the luxury segment. We knew this new S90 is the second Volvo since XC90 to be a real class-best achievement in style and safety.
But knowing all this still offers no prep for how absolutely phenomenal the new S90 is inside and on the road. It is so magnificently high-tech, yet grounded in light Swedish leathers and a open-pore walnut woods.
It drives with lightness and agility unlike anything you might expect from a 5 series or E-Class rival.
Knowing the S90 from the inside out even made us fall hard in love with its unusual rear end design. And even this color!
After flinging this 316HP AWD machine around onramps and through twisty corners for a week — it was instantly clear this S90 would be the Best of 2017 Award winner here at Car-Revs-Daily.com. A machine so advanced that its only real rival feels like the Tesla Model S?
A Volvo that is as joyful as any full-size luxury sedan we’ve ever tried.
Let’s prove why this S90 is so amazing via the standard section headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance and Price. We have an ultra short video of the car’s mid-5-second sprint to 60-mph and a few dozen photos to come along for this Swedish joyride.
We genuinely liked how the S90 looked in real life before driving one. But now that Like is a big Love. A big dancing emoji of love!
The S90 is so gorgeous from all angles that it even made us forgive the ancient S80. Clearly, the work on its replacement could not be rushed.
Starting in the nose, the S90 evolves the stunningly sexy slim Thor-Hammer LED daytime running lights from the XC90 SUV. It brings a boxy new grille with concave waterfall details and a slim, wide overall face. Chrome wraps the outside of the grille but the inner elements are matte silver — a brushed nickel look that also shows up on the sill accents.
The S90 looks immensely wide and luxurious from dead ahead. Below the grille and slimline lights are two levels of horizontal air intakes, both with a flipped leading edge for aero smoothness and downforce. Tasteful brightwork in the lower corners forms wraps the LED foglamps down below, before the whole look flows cleanly into the front fenders.
These design details alone are nice, but it is their packaging that makes them eye=popping. The ultra low hood ends with a near 90-degree chop at the top of the grille. A similarly low, long hood look complements the ultra chopped front overhang and big, lux length between the front doors and the front axle. This S90 has the proportions of a top luxury model — and those looks are spellbinding.
Moving more into profile, we see the front windshield and the entire cabin has been shifted rearward. Ready to pounce and certainly slick in the wind tunnel. The windshield rake is fairly fast for a traditional luxury car, but its base is also far rearward. All giving great elegance outside and world-leading visibility inside.
The S90’s doors and bodysides are clean and free of distraction, even as the surface is a graceful wave that is thickest around door handles and carved out a bit down toward the sills.
Inoffensive brightwork wraps the windowline with a slight upkick in the C-pillar — another slim piece of metal that proves how much glass S90 has versus other luxury sedans and their thick metal elements.
Into the tail, the S90’s most controversial angle is its boomerang taillamp graphic. This sharply creased shape grew on us — to the point where it now looks sexy editing the photos.
What the tail proves in this S90 design is the overall blockiness of the overall look. Yes, the corners are rounded off. And yes, the S90 is low and lithe like a Fisker Karma versus any Volvo sedan since the 960.
But at its core, the squared lines right under the alloy bodywork of this Volvo reflect its richly cubed design history. You sense this in the chopped trailing edge of the trunk, and the inverted kink of the metal housing the V-O-L-V-O script on the trunk face. This is a blocky machine that is somehow also smooth and elegant.
A solid A-plus grade for the exterior design of the S90 — enhanced by the 20-inch optional wheels but still gorgeous even on the Inscription’s standard 19’s.
Here is the Volvo S90’s most instagrammed element: its gorgeous cabin! Nothing prepares you for this level of craftsmanship in a $50k-ish sedan. The design is intensely satisfying to look at, and even more-so to touch and live with.
The $3300 Inscription option package really helps up the ante in here, and seems well worth it. (Full sticker below details what is included).
A leather dash, nappa leather for the vented seats, power squab extension, power side bolsters and much more are substantive additions for the Inscription.
It takes a minute for the S90’s cabin brilliance to really sink in. The steering wheel with its squircle shaped central boss is slightly unusual, but is a friendly and unaggressive look that reflects the overall Volvo personality nicely. Things like the LED ambient lights, LED overhead lights and LED sill plates are fairly standard for the luxury segment these days. Same goes for the 9-inch vertical touchscreen in the center stack and the 12-inch TFT display for the virtual gauges.
Fancy wood is obviously nothing new for luxury cars, either. But it is the execution of all of these minute details that captures the heart/soul of this car. The linear walnut elements with their touchable grains are lovely. The door accent piece, for example, is a longcut section of an entire tree trunk — steamed into this shape and absolutely begging to be touched.
The precision-sliced wood cover for the drink holders is far more special than it has to be. This rolls away into the armrest easily, but when extended you can see the actual grains of the wood across the 20 or so sliced segments. Exquisite.
A cooled glovebox is a nice touch, as is the four-zone HVAC of the Inscription package. This adds another touchscreen for the back seaters to control their microclimates.