Volvo is considering introducing R-Design and stop/start versions of the S80 executive saloon by next year.
Unlike most other models in the range, Volvo has avoided giving the S80 the R-Design treatment, which traditionally includes tweaked suspension, body styling and a sports interior.
But product manager Chris Wailes told Autocar the introduction of the £500 R-Design interior pack on the car was to test customers’ reaction to a full-blown, standalone version.
If there is enough interest in a sports-themed S80 Volvo will create a bodykit, with downforce-inducing rear spoiler, a deeper, more aggressive front bumper, and possibly sculpted side sills.
The S80 range has recently been treated to a “lowered dynamic’ chassis which would negate the need for an R-Design suspension.
“We will gauge reaction before we bring out a full R-Design for the S80,” said Wailes.
Start/stop has recently been introduced to a number of Volvo models, including the C30 and S40, and Wailes says it is possible to fit the system to the S80.
However Volvo now needs to assess the cost of rewiring the S80 and whether customers would want to pay more for the car.
There is unlikely to be an economy DRIVe version of the XC90, added Wailes, because only sub-160g/km Volvos can be badged DRIVe.
Without fitting a new engine to the SUV this would be incredibly difficult to achieve.
Wailes confirmed that hybrids are to appear in the Volvo range by 2012 - and added that they will be more efficient than the current models on offer from Toyota and Honda.
“Before we bring out a hybrid we will concentrate on making the engine as efficient as possible, then work on the hybrid element,” said Wailes.