- Lusty V-8 power
- Great brakes
- Safety measures above and beyond
- Distant steering
- Subtle approach to luxury
- Styling plays it a little too safe
The 2008 Volvo S80 is one of the safety luxury sedans on the planet, and in V-8 form it’s an enthusiastic performer.
The 2008 Volvo S80 is a conservatively styled flagship sedan, with a hint of soul from a powerful V-8 engine and an overwhelming package of standard and optional safety features.
The Volvo S80 appeared new in the 2007 model year, with the same staid style it brings for the latest model year. Even though the platform is extensively different and about the same size as the last version, the new car looks a bit smaller and pretty familiar. While there aren't many dramatic changes outside, the Volvo S80's interior borrows the center stack from the smaller S40--it looks like a high-end audio system, and behind the thin panel of audio and climate controls, there's storage for smaller items.
The ultimate power, for now, in the 2008 Volvo S80 is a 311-horsepower V-8. With it and a six-speed automatic, the 2008 Volvo S80 accelerates to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds and treats your ears with a rip-roaring growl. The base Volvo S80 is powered by a 235-hp, 3.2-liter six-cylinder model with front-wheel drive. It's peppy, with plenty of power and a nice, slightly sporty sound, but it's not the jolt of java that the V-8 is. Later in 2008, a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine will push out 285 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. The existing six-cylinder gets 16/24 mpg; the V-8, 15/23 mpg.
An all-wheel-drive system is standard on the 2008 Volvo S80 V-8 and available with the six-cylinder engine. It sends nearly all torque to the front wheels during normal driving but can reapportion up to 50 percent to the rear wheels as needed. There's also available variable-assist power steering, which ranges from light to firm steering, and a Four-C active-suspension system that continually adjusts the S80's shocks from Comfort, Sport, and Advanced. Even in Advanced mode, the Volvo S80 could use tighter suspension.
Seating is still a strong point. The front seats have been reapportioned, with perforated, heated and cooled, fan-driven ventilated upholstery now optional. The nicely contoured backseat is large enough for three petite folks or two American-sized adults, and the climate-control system has vents built into the B-pillars for better comfort in back.
Safety is outstanding. Front, side, and curtain airbags, as well as anti-lock brakes and stability control, are standard. The 2008 Volvo S80 gets "good" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and is named a Top Safety Pick. Among the options, a new system primes the brakes before an accident; blind-spot detectors send audible alerts; and a keyfob connected to an in-car sensor lets the driver know if the security system has been breached--and if it senses a heartbeat in the car.
Other features include run-flat tires, a navigation system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a Dynaudio sound system.