Volvo Cars is introducing a sports chassis that is a more dynamic alternative for the refreshed Volvo S80. It offers both increased driving pleasure and crisper response.
At the same time, the comfort-enhancing standard chassis comes with even more limousine ride comfort. Customers thus have the opportunity to tailor their cars to suit their wishes - for inspired and enthusiastic driving or relaxed long-distance comfort.
"For some customers, the driving experience is what is most important, while others prioritise ride comfort," says Stefan Sällqvist, section manager for vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars. "We've thoroughly analysed what it is that characterises the different needs and accordingly designed two alternative chassis with entirely different natures."
Lower and more rigid chassis gives a sporty profile
In order to meet the wishes of S80 customers more interested in an enthusiastic driving style, Volvo has made the chassis far more rigid than before. The car has been lowered 20 millimetres at the front and 15 millimetres at the rear. This not only results in a more stable chassis, it also carves out a more powerful and compact visual profile for the car.
The springs are shorter and firmer. The shock absorbers have greater damping ability, on both compression and extension strokes. All the mountings on the sub-frame have harder bushings. The anti-roll bars have also been made firmer to give increased side stability in curves. This results in crisp steering feel and good control, particularly in more active driving. This is further aided by the steering gear which has been tailored to provide quicker response and increased feel, giving more direct contact with the tyres and road surface.
In order to provide additional stability, the sports chassis is fitted with automatic levelling as standard. It keeps the car's body parallel with the road surface whatever the driving conditions, both when fully loaded and with only the driver on board.
"The new sports chassis provides plenty of driving pleasure," says Stefan Sällqvist. "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."
Comfort chassis with enhanced limousine feel
In parallel with the development of the new sports chassis, 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 of absolute limousine quality, not least in the rear seat.
"One chassis has now become two," says Stefan 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."
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