Volvo is rightly proud of the cabin on its XC90 SUV - and it’s hoping that the same level of quality and integration can score a hit against the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 with the new S90, unveiled today in Gothenburg.
The S90 uses a version of the SPA platform that underpins the large SUV - but not with the same wheelbase, interestingly. It feels comfortable enough in the rear, though, helped by the same slim-backed front seats as the XC90. They’re compact to start with, and then the hard back is scalloped in the right places to allow a 6ft-plus adult decent legroom. The bracing in the S90’s roof is far enough forwards, too, to allow excellent headroom.
Up front, the S90 builds on the XC90’s neatly integrated infotainment screen, with minimal use of chrome and yet further evidence that the Swedes really know what to do with a bit of dashboard wood. The 5 Series, A6 and E-Class face a battle to look anything more than generic by comparison - even if their respective materials are probably a match.
Could it go further? That was the question being asked around the presentation hall a few minutes after the cover came off. Volvo’s Chinese owner will undoubtedly want something stretched for its home market - an S100, if you like - and it seems inevitable. But talk to well-placed sources in the S90’s team and they’ll tell you that there is still plenty of scope for upgrades in materials without an increase in wheelbase.
Look at it this way: I asked one of the team if they’ve considered a more exclusive rear cabin layout with two reclining seats instead of the three-seat bench. “We’re not allowed to talk about future product today,” he replied. And giggled. I'd take that as a given, then - wouldn't you?