Like the closely related XC90, the S90 exemplifies Volvo’s new design language, the upright grille and ‘Thor’s hammer’ headlights characterising a confident, expansive front end, while the broad shoulder line hints at the Peter Horbury-designed models of the recent past.
The car is based on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), a modular and head-spinningly expensive piece of tech intended (like its rivals’ equivalents) to underpin a range of differently sized cars.
The first, and largest, was the XC90. The S90 and its estate sibling, the V90, are the second. The S90 is significantly longer and wider than its S80 predecessor and shares its wheelbase with the seven-seat XC90.
Despite the size difference, the new model’s weight gain is negligible, thanks to smaller engines and the much more sophisticated mixture of aluminium and high-strength steel in the SPA’s monocoque.
As with the XC90, the S90’s chassis has double wishbones at the front and an integral link at the rear that is distinguished by the choice of a standard composite leaf spring or the option (fitted to our test car) of air springs – a self-levelling asset likely to appeal to those with towing in mind.