View Full Version : 2007 Volvo S80: The doctor's car

Valentine One Radar Detector

04-07-2007, 09:17 AM
Volvos are upmarket -- but not ostentatious.

Consider the S80 sedan. It competes in the same league (price-wise, features-wise, even power/performance-wise) as BMWs, Audis and Benzes -- but more discretely. Very much in the same manner that Buicks once did relative to Cadillacs. "Doctor's cars" for buyers who could certainly afford a Caddy -- and who wanted the same level of comfort, power and amenities -- but preferred not to wear their affluence on their sleeves.

In top-of-the-line trim, the S80's every inch a fifty-thousand-dollar luxury sedan -- with a 311 horsepower V-8, standard all-wheel-drive and available features like a dual-screen entertainment system, GPS, adaptive cruise control and a Personal Car Communicator that can hip you to the car's security status from a distance (along with remote starter function).

But it doesn't scream "I'm rich! Check me out!" in the way a loaded-up E-Class Benz or BMW 540 does. Either of those two, nice as they are to drive, one would be hesitant to leave parked on the street for fear of thieves -- or even vandals resentful of its well-heeled owner. The S80, on the other hand, doesn't call attention to itself at all -- even though it's just as expensive and just as fancy, in terms of what's inside.

Sometimes, a Plain Brown Wrapper's ok.

The S80's blue chip in other ways, too.

For one, Volvos tend to hold their value pretty well -- especially relative to other premium cars, some of which depreciate faster than Enron or WorldCom stock the moment you leave the dealer's lot.

Two, Volvo (like Jaguar) tends to stick with a styling "look" for a long time before making a radical change. That helps the cars wear well, so that eight or ten years down the road, your Volvo will still look enough like the new Volvos that it doesn't look old -- even if it is. The current (2007) S80 is actually heavily revised relative to to the original S80 -- but the exterior tweaks are extremely subtle and the new car's silhouette (like that of the Jag XJ-Series) remains close to that of the very first S80, which came out almost ten years ago (in 1999).

Three, the S80 comes in a more economical six-cylinder/FWD version that's about ten grand less expensive than the V-8/AWD version ($38,705 vs. $47,350). Yet you still get the same-sized car and even most of the same amenities. Both versions come standard with leather and wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium stereo rig with MP3 and Bluetooth, 17-inch rims, sunroof, full-length curtain air bags, side-impact air bags, ABS, traction control and stability control.

The 3.2 liter straight six (transversely mounted) offers 235 horsepower -- which is enough to get the S80 to 60 mph in about 7.4 seconds. Not super speedy, but not slow, either -- and absolutely sufficient for comfortable-margin merging and passing. If you need more, the 311 horsepower V-8 cuts down the 0-60 time by almost 1.5 seconds -- to about six seconds flat. That's fierce performance -- but maybe you don't need to be king of the Stoplight Grand Prix and would rather have the extra nine or tend grand in your bank account instead. Either way, it's nice to have the choice.

Both engines are teamed with six-speed automatics. In the S80 3.2, there's not enough excess power on tap to create any torque steer (or even wheelspin) on dry pavement; in S80s with the V-8, power goes to all four wheels through the standard AWD system -- muting any potential torque-steer issues that way.

Two neat features that can be ordered with either the S80 3.2 or the S80 V-8 are the Blind Spot Information System and the Personal Car Communicator. The Blind Spot Information System does what the name implies -- it alerts the driver (using external cameras and warning lamps mounted near the rearview mirrors) if another vehicle is in the S80's blind spot. If you drive in an area with lots of motorcycle traffic especially, this system could save you some body damage -- and a biker's life. The Personal Car Communicator, meanwhile, uses a heartbeat sensor in the car to let you know whether someone's in inside who shouldn't be -- from a distance. The system uses a special key fob/transmitter that also serves for the remote-start/keyless entry system, which is integrated into the unit.

Also available are high-end/luxury features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (it adjust the car's speed in relation to the traffic around it -- and prepares the braking system if an imminent crash is detected by snugging the brake pads close to the rotors so that braking action is enhanced when the driver hits the pedal), plus rain-sensing wipers (with heated washer nozzles), dual-screen rear entertainment system and an ultra-premium audio system with 12 speakers and satellite radio hook-up.

The bottom line on the S80 is it's got the goods, even the power -- just not the outsized personality -- of the typical $40-$50k luxury sedan. That makes it a car to consider for someone with the means and desire to acquire a premium vehicle -- but who isn't interested in broadcasting his choice to the rest of the world.


04-07-2007, 08:19 PM
The doctor's car

Perfect description! :)

04-08-2007, 07:02 AM
The doctor's car

Perfect description! :)


I try to look at these things from the standpoint of the likely buyer. I would never buy a car like the S80 myself - but that doesn't mean that others might not like what it has to offer... .