Four years have passed since the V90 was first revealed, but it remains as striking and handsome as it was back in 2016. Nevertheless, Volvo has subjected its flagship estate (as well as its S90 saloon sibling) to the mildest of mid-life facelifts for 2021.
The tail-lights, foglights and lower bumper have all been tweaked, but really a refresh as reserved as this is testament to the success of Thomas Ingenlath’s original design. And given that the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 have both entered entirely new model generations since the V90 came on sale, its evergreen aesthetic only becomes more laudable.
Much is familiar beneath it all, too. The V90 continues to sit on the Scalable Product Architecture that underpins all large Volvos and is itself the product of billions of pounds of investment from Geely. Suspension comes by way of double wishbones at the front and multiple links at the rear, with passive dampers all round.
As before, however, customers have a choice of sticking with the standard-fit composite rear leaf springs or swapping these out for optional air springs. Our test car had the latter, which meant it also gained adaptive dampers. Being an R-Design model, its ride height is lowered by 20mm. Where things begin to differ, however, is the engine line-up.
It’s still based on a tight line-up of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants, but each now offers a varying degree of electric assistance. The recently introduced ‘B’ series of engines all feature 48V mild-hybrid technology, while our T6 test car replaces the old T8 Twin Engine as the current range-topper and sits within Volvo’s newly rebranded Recharge family of plug-in vehicles.
Unlike those ‘twin-charged’ T8 models that employ both a supercharger and a turbocharger, the T6’s 250bhp petrol engine does without the former. It drives the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, while an 86bhp electric motor mounted at the rear axle imparts the V90 with four-wheel-drive capability.
An 11.6kWh drive battery is housed beneath the centre console, providing an electric range of 36 miles under WLTP conditions. Hook it up to a home-charging wallbox and it will be topped up in a couple of hours.