After further study of customers in the premium sedan segment, the vehicle development group at Volvo Car Corporation gave the 2010 S80 some styling and engineering changes to refresh the exterior and interior of the vehicle and two new chassis options to offer customers a distinct driving experience.
"We are ready to give the competition a tough match," says Volvo Cars President and CEO Stephen Odell. "With the new S80, we're placing the bar at the very highest level when it comes to exclusiveness, quality and driving properties."
The refreshed Volvo S80 will be first shown at the Geneva Motor Show March 5-15, 2009. Pricing will be announced closer to on-sale in the second half of 2009.
"From the outside, the refreshed S80 looks both larger and more elegant," explains Volvo Cars Design Director Steve Mattin. "But we've also given it a tougher face. In Germany, they talk about the ‘böser blick', that is to say the front of the car should look rather menacing when it fills the rear-view mirror of the car in front. However, the refreshed S80 should not just be seen, it has to be experienced. The atmosphere inside is both more comfortable and luxurious, with an increased aura of craftsmanship. We've also made the interior more driver-oriented, not least with a new steering wheel and upgraded instruments. Our chassis and engine experts have made sure the driving experience is as exclusively attractive as the interior is."
Detail precision and quality materials
Mattin and his team have given the S80 a new grille featuring the larger iron mark logo, which is part of the more extrovert DNA of recent Volvo vehicle models. There is also new bright work on the air intakes, lower part of the doors and under the tail lamps.
Inside the car the spotlight is on increased exclusivity and comfort. The soft, sumptuous leather seats with their matching stitching are accompanied by door panels echoing the same trim. The super-slim floating centre stack is upgraded with a silk metal frame that emphasises its original design and enhances its exclusive feel, while simultaneously creating a design link to the recently launched Volvo XC60.
The instruments in the refreshed Volvo S80 get exclusive aluminum dials and Volvo Cars is also launching a new generation of steering wheels. The décor trim with silk matte metal-effect finish on the four-spoke steering wheel is also found in the gear selector and around the starter button.
"It is the combination of a number of carefully thought-out details that together creates the overall aura. The seats are a good example. Here we have focused on comfort by creating unbeatable seating and side support, accentuated further by the superb quality of the soft Scandinavian hide," says Mattin.
New chassis alternatives
When it comes to the chassis, Volvo Cars has developed two distinct alternatives - one with the cosseting feeling of supreme comfort and one truly dynamic for driving pleasure. The comfort chassis will be offered as standard and the lowered sport chassis is offered as an option.
The sport chassis features a number of changes to support a more enthusiastic driving style. While the chassis has improved rigidity, it has also been lowered by 20 millimetres in the front and 15 millimetres in the rear. Shorter, firmer springs, shock absorbers with greater damping ability, firmer anti-roll bars and harder bushings combine to deliver crisp feel and control of the car's movements. The steering system has also been adjusted for quicker response and increased feel. The company's automatic levelling system is standard, adjusting the suspension electronically to help keep the car's body parallel with the road surface regardless of the vehicle's on board load.
"The new sports chassis provides plenty of driving pleasure," says Stefan Sällqvist, section manager for vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars. "The car has a whole new character and it feels far more compact than it actually is. At the same time, however, we haven't had to sacrifice much in the way of comfort. The passengers still ride in great style but for those interested solely in a smoother ride, we have a special variant dedicated entirely to providing sumptuous ride comfort."
The standard chassis has been given a distinctly more comfortable nature than before, with somewhat softer springs and less damping. It is designed to offer long-distance ride comfort, with attention focused on rear seat ride comfort.
"One chassis has now become two," says Sällqvist. "This means we do not have to compromise, while at the same time giving our customers added choice. We have one chassis for those who really enjoy an active driving style and another for those who simply enjoy a sumptuous ride. Having said all this, however, it's really difficult to do the technology justice just by talking about it. It's all about feel. And that has to be experienced out on the road."
Hard to beat offer
The Volvo S80 competes in a segment that is dominated by male customers with considerable interest in cars and with very firm expectations regarding exclusiveness, driving properties and brand image. The choice of car is often based on the individual's personal tastes and preferences, but it also has to serve as a family car.
"Customers in this segment are often very brand-loyal," says Odell. "In order to appear on the radar of customers currently driving competitor cars, we have to offer something that is truly extra. We do this by offering exclusiveness, comfort and driving properties of absolute top level. In combination with world-leading safety, this makes the refreshed S80 very hard to beat. A true lifestyle product. I would like to give those who know about the Volvo S80 but who have never driven one, a sound piece of advice. Take a closer look at this car and take it out for a thorough test drive. You'll be amazed at what we have achieved."
Volvo Cars of Canada Corp. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 41 Volvo automobile retailers across the country. The company's product range includes the stylish and sporty C30, the elegant C70 hardtop convertible, the compact S40 sedan, the S60 sport sedan, the S80 flagship sedan and the versatile V50 and V70 wagon. For customers looking for a Volvo vehicle with all-road capability, the company offers the versatile XC70 and XC90. Volvo Canada is also expanding its line-up with the introduction of the new XC60, a crossover with the award-winning City Safety system on the standard equipment list.
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