Volvo's flagship sedan will roll into 2010 with a number of understated but meaningful enhancements aimed at boosting its image and market impact. On the show stand in Geneva and in dealer showrooms here sometime in the last quarter of 2009, the S80 refresh entails both cosmetic and functional tweaks. The most obvious visual change is a restyled grille capped with a bigger "iron mark" logo -- the better to present a more "menacing look in the rearview mirrors of the car ahead, according to Volvo's Design Director, Steve Mattin. The S80's overall brightwork index also has been upped, thanks to new trim on the S80's front air intakes, lower door sills and under its slightly revised tail lamps.
Inside, this sophisticated Swede has a more elegantly appointed cabin, with upgraded leather, more comfortable and supportive bucket seats, a new four-spoke multifunction steering wheel that will be introduced into other Volvo models, and S80-specific aluminum-faced gauges. The automaker's signature "floating" center stack also gets revised, adding a new silk-matte surround element that provides a more direct visual tie to the new S60.
Although the Euro range of S80s adds a trio of new Volvo diesel engines, including the ultra-low emission DRIVe variant, the U.S. contingent will carry on with the existing 235-hp/3.2-liter in-line 6, turbocharged 281-horse 3.0-liter in-line 6 T6 and range-topping 311-horsepower 4.4-liter V8. Both the T6 and V8 will continue to features Volvo's Instant Traction all-wheel drive system. While the S80's standard chassis tuning won't change, a new Dynamic Chassis Suspension upgrade that stiffens the underpinnings by 20 percent, drops the ride height by half an inch and adds self-leveling rear shocks joins the option list, the better to please execu-types with enthusiast leanings. Pricing for the 2010 S80 has not yet been released.