Volvo has made the S80's major controls light and easy to use. Step-off from a standstill is soft, and there’s a set of progressive brakes. In town, the ride is reasonably absorbent, though you’re not quite as isolated from sharp ridges as you could be.
At motorway speeds the ride is very good, straight-line stability is beyond question and noise levels are low. Add in those luscious seats and you have a car whose touring range will be limited more by the capacity of your bladder than that of the fuel tank.
So, comfy and spacious on the long haul, which means it’s rubbish on the twisties, right? Not entirely – well, as far as R-Design models go. Strangely, the more you put in, the more you get back. At four or five-tenths the S80 R-Design is fairly uninvolving.
The steering offers little feedback, the gearbox still isn’t listening and those comfy seats do little to hold you in place. But ask more serious questions of the chassis’ ability and it turns out that it does have most of the answers.
Body movements are very tightly controlled; it’s more agile than you’d ever give it credit for, and grips strongly.
The story is a little squidgier for non-R-Design models, but there’s an unexpected amount of poise and body control. It’s never going to match a rear-drive Jaguar XF or BMW for entertainment, but the S80 is actually a relatively fun way to attack a B-road.