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2011 Volvo S80

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2011 Volvo S80 Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/25/2011


Although it doesn't garner the same media spotlight as an Audi A6 or Lexus GS, the 2011 Volvo S80 still merits attention. While it may not have the same eye-popping style as some other luxury cars, it does have a quiet confidence about it. Offering two six-cylinder engines (one naturally aspirated, one turbocharged), front- or all-wheel drive and what may be the most comfortable front seats of any luxury brand, the 2011 Volvo S80 is a solid, safe and reliable bet.

You'll Like This Car If...

Although it may not have the same status as a BMW, Jaguar or Lexus, the 2011 Volvo S80 makes no apologies for placing safety and substance over status and glitz.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If cutting edge design, a high-output V8 engine and complex electronic systems make up your idea of what a luxury performance sedan should be, the 2011 Volvo S80 isn't going to win you over.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2011, the V8 engine is no longer offered in the Volvo S80. Few will miss it because the turbocharged six-cylinder engine in the top-of-the-line 2011 Volvo S80 T6 AWD now makes 300 horsepower, nearly as much as the defunct V8. The non-turbo six-cylinder engine in the base 2011 Volvo S80 3.2 receives a five-horsepower increase. Volvo also dropped the Executive Package and put some of its features in the new Inscription Package.

Driving It Driving Impressions

While the base 2011 Volvo S80 3.2 tends to favor comfort over performance, the turbocharged Volvo S80 T6 AWD seems to have no problem achieving both goals. Both cars exhibit a confident and capable driving character. The driver-selectable Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DTSC) permits modestly energetic cornering before making its presence known and the all-wheel drive in the Volvo S80 T6 AWD does an impressive job of instantly rebalancing the front-to-rear power equation as traction conditions change. While the Volvo S80's naturally-aspirated in-line six-cylinder engine makes the Volvo S80 3.2 fully capable of dealing with daily commutes and cross-country cruises, it's the Volvo S80 T6 AWD's 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque that deliver the kind of thrilling performance expected of a sedan in this price range.

Favorite Features

3.0-liter Turbocharged Engine
Pairing impressive output with a fat, flat torque curve, the 2011 Volvo S80 T6 AWD's turbocharged six is a brilliant piece of work that rivals the defunct V8 for enthusiastic real-world performance.

Multimedia Package
What is a great driver without great tunes and driving directions? In the Volvo S80, the available 650-watt premium audio system pumps your music through 12 speakers, while the DVD navigation can warn of impending traffic delays.

Vehicle Details Interior

Standing in stark contrast to its conservative exterior, the 2011 Volvo S80's interior should be the template for all luxury sedans. Clean, simple and straightforward, but with enough individuality and Scandinavian styling to mark it as a premium luxury car, the Volvo S80's interior delights the senses in a number of ways. The sense of touch is satisfied by soft-touch surfaces, supple leather coverings and Volvo's "ortho-posture" front bucket seats. The sense of hearing is stimulated by the available 650-watt, 12-speaker premium sound system. The sense of sight is treated to lovely interior colors, handsome walnut wood inlays and elegantly simple controls. The Volvo S80 provides comfortable seating for four, or can have its 60/40 split-folding rear seats dropped to increase the trunk's rather small capacity.

Exterior

The 2011 Volvo S80 may not stand out as a metal masterpiece, but its subtle good looks and classic Volvo styling make for a handsome car. Its design will probably withstand the test of time better than some of its more whimsical rivals. A sweeping roofline and purposeful shoulders give the Volvo S80 just a hint of sporty attitude, while tasteful applications of chrome around the grille, tail lights and lower side moldings bespeak of restrained luxury. A few bright colors would help the Volvo S80 make a more visual statement, but Volvo offers only varying degrees of gray, black or sliver (and one dark blue) as paint choices.

Notable Standard Equipment

Highlighting the 2011 Volvo S80's standard features are numerous power assists, a tilt and telescopic steering column and dual-zone climate control. The standard 160-watt, eight-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system also has an auxiliary input and MP3 capability, USB/iPod port and six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. Safety features include active head restraints to prevent whiplash neck injuries and a side-impact system that adds protection in a vulnerable area. The up-level Volvo S80 T6 AWD adds all-wheel drive, a sport suspension, and a power sunroof.

Notable Optional Equipment

The 2011 Volvo S80's options start with five key groups: The Climate Package (heated front and rear seats, heated washer nozzles, rain-sensing windshield wipers and high-pressure headlamp washers); the Technology Package (Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Collision Warning with Auto Brake and Driver Alert Control); the Dynamic Package (18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, sport suspension and Active Bending xenon headlamps); the Multimedia Package (Dynaudio Surround Sound system, DVD navigation, Real Time Traffic and rear camera) and the Inscription Package (ventilated front seats, full Sovereign leather seating and a leather and wood steering wheel). Single options include dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system, front and rear Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System, a power sunroof, and dual xenon headlamps.

Under the Hood

The Volvo S80 engine lineup includes two distinct choices for 2011. The base Volvo S80 3.2 has a naturally-aspirated 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder that reaches peaks of 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The top-of-the-line Volvo S80 T6 AWD has a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder that tops out at 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are backed by an electronically controlled six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission that has a manual-style Sportshift mode. The Volvo S80 3.2 offers performance that is more than capable of merely keeping up with traffic. It, however, cannot match the S80 T6 AWD's thrilling acceleration.

3.2-liter in-line 6
240 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27

3.0-liter in-line 6 turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the base 2011 Volvo S80 3.2 opens at just over $37,500. With every option checked off, the Volvo S80 T6 AWD closes in on $52,000. Pricing like this places the Volvo S80 in a fairly attractive position, particularly when compared against prime German competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The Volvo S80 doesn't hold its value as well as the various German rivals or the Acura TL and Lexus GS. The S80 remains on par with the Cadillac DTS.

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