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2018 Volvo S90

The 2018 Volvo S90 is a mid-size luxury sedan with just a little bit more for the new model year—well, actually, quite a bit more. After debuting as an all-new model last year, the S90 grows several inches for 2018, with all of that extra girth directly benefiting rear-seat passengers.

It’s an unusual move, but one that makes business sense for Volvo. The 2018 S90 squares off against cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series both here and abroad, but the S90’s story now begins in China. It’s in that market that buyers prefer to be chauffeured; accordingly, many automakers created extended-wheelbase versions that pamper second row passengers specifically for the massive Asian market.

The too long, didn’t read version? Last year’s S90 came from Sweden and this year’s is actually built in China. But that’s not the only news: the S90 finally gets its third powertrain, a new, 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid badged the T8.

More about the 2018 Volvo S90

With its Scandinavian-chic style, the S90 remains striking both for its balance and for its beautiful detailing. Its wide grille recalls Volvos of yore without feeling contrived, while its fastback-esque shape draws viewers in from the side. At the back, thin tail lamps curve around the edges of the rear fascia. They look almost as though they’re itching to meet at the top of the trunk lid, like outstretched arms. Even the base S90 is beautifully-wrought outside, but we do really like the optional 20-inch alloy wheels, even if they firm up the ride a bit too much for our tastes. Vanity or practicality? Your choice.

The high-zoot 2018 Volvo S90 Inscription shares the Momentum model’s body but peppers in hints of chrome for a more upscale look. 

The 2018 S90 stretches four inches longer than before, with every inch of that going to the space between its front seats and the rear bench. Accordingly, the S90’s rear doors are now four inches longer than before, which may make them slightly annoying to open in a crowded parking lot or urban setting. 

But once those doors are opened, they reveal an interior as subtle and restrained as the S90’s exterior. Front and center sits Volvo’s Sensus Touch infotainment screen with its display oriented vertically. It absorbs most buttons and knobs, but it also operates more like a tablet than the complicated systems on most rivals.

Front seat passengers are treated to a terrific view out and some of the most comfortable seats in the business. Materials throughout are top notch with organic contours and a choice of real metal and wood panels delivering a look certainly in line with the S90’s price tag. The rear seat is now the place to be, however. It pampers passengers with a massive fold-down armrest adorned with wood trim that matches the rest of the cabin, and the S90 keeps the sun’s rays (and the paparazzi) at bay with standard electric rear and side sunshades. Additionally, a large panoramic sunroof is standard on all models for 2018.

Other updates for 2018 include a revised infotainment interface and active lane control that can automatically nudge a drifting vehicle back into its own lane if it detects an impending accident with oncoming traffic. Those join an optional suite of features that can help the S90 motor along on its own with limited driver intervention. It’s not quite self-driving, but it’s a big step in that direction. 

There are a trio of underhood choices to make: a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the S90 T5, making 250 horsepower; a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the S90 T6, producing 316 hp; and a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 working with an electric drive system in a range-topping, and new-for-2018 S90 T8 Twin Engine. The T8 model is rated at 400 hp and should provide massive thrust, although we’ve not yet driven one. All three powertrains work through a stellar 8-speed automatic transmission. T5 models have front-wheel drive, while T6 and T8 versions get all-wheel drive.

Predictably, Volvo has upped the S90’s price tag by $1,105 to $49,095 for the entry-level 2018 T5, while the more powerful, all-wheel drive T6 comes in at $55,095. The range-topping T8 plug-in hybrid runs $64,645. All of those figures include a mandatory $995 destination charge.

Volvo hasn’t announced fuel economy figures for the 2018 S90. 

Volvo considerably streamlined the S90’s optional equipment for 2018. Most models only have a couple of option packages to choose from, including a fantastic Bowers & Wilkins audio system. At $3,200, it’s an extravagance, but its mode tuned to emulate the opera house in Volvo’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden, makes it worth every penny. 

It’s unclear when the 2018 Volvo S90 will go on sale, although the automaker’s online configurator for the new model is now live.

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