Given the strong likelihood of a Volvo S80 spending its days hacking along the nation’s motorways, it is surprising how wide the choice of petrol engines is.

The T4 is a punchy 1.6-litre four-pot that produces 180bhp at 5700rpm and 178lb ft, with overboost taking this figure to 199lb ft. Performance figures for this engine are equally impressive, with an 8.5sec 0-62mph and a 137mph top speed.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The S80 is particularly adept at racking up big miles in big comfort

The smooth 2.0-litre T5 cuts the acceleration time to 7.5sec and raises the top speed to 143mph, thanks to 240bhp and 236lb ft, while the 304bhp, 324lb ft T6 offers up 6.7sec and 155mph benchmarks.

Impressive stuff, but it’s the diesels that are the important engines here. The range kicks off with a 1.6-litre DRIVe model. While down on power and torque on many of its competitors (113bhp and 199lb ft), it is happy at motorway speeds, even if it takes a while to get there. More importantly, its 119g/km CO2 emissions rating has some very positive effects on tax.

The D3 is the low-power version of the D5’s 2.5-litre unit and is the big seller across most of Volvo’s models. It’s a respectable performer, and because it’s a five-cylinder unit it makes a nice noise, even if there is often too much of it.

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Rounding out the engine line-up is the D5, which is punchy at low revs and in the mid-range. There is a healthy plateau of torque from 1500-3250rpm, making for smooth, effortless urge until the power starts to tail off around 4000rpm.

With any engine, the S80’s performance is perfectly adequate for the kind of driving it’s designed for. It impresses, without shouting, even if you’ll rarely feel like you’re making rapid progress.

If you are after a petrol option in the S90 then be prepared for a disappointment, with Volvo opting for a range of four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesels which may be followed by a hybrid unit.

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