At The Wheel : Performance Sedan
2007 Volvo S80 AWD SR:
V8 Power with BLIS
By Les Jackson CruiseControlRadio.Com
It's all there: the V8 exhaust burble, smooth and rapid acceleration, seamless shifting, plush leather seating, flowing exterior style, 18-inch alloy wheels, 40-series performance tires, bitchin' audio system and ever-so-precise handling. It's got all the stuff an enthusiast would look for in a European sports sedan and it didn't come from Germany or Italy. It's a Volvo!
It is for sure, and it's a supremely well-constructed machine, complete with more than its share of acronyms. There's DSTC, HSS, VIC,SIPS, WHIPS, AQS and BLIS, along with the more familiar ABS (antilock brakes), AWD (all-wheel drive) and all the other safety goodies one expects in a Volvo.
So what do those initials stand for? Well, DSTC is Volvo's name for electronic stability control (Dynamic Stability Traction Control); HSS refers to the unibody construction technique of using high strength steel in the passenger cage; VIC means "Volvo Inflatable Curtain," or side impact head protection – front and rear. SIPS is Volvo's name for side impact airbags, and very sophisticated ones at that. WHIPS means whiplash protection in the front seats; AQS refers to the humidity-sensing interior air quality system and BLIS (my personal favorite!) is Volvo's very clever blind spot information system.
You read that correctly. The S80 has warning lights in the A-pillar to let you know a vehicle (or bicyclist, in one particular case) is moving in your blind spot. It's very effective and I think every vehicle should have the feature. I also think every vehicle should have adaptive cruise control too, wherein the system can be set to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and it will slow down or speed up on its own, even to the point of braking hard if the up-front vehicle suddenly slows down. The S80 has such a system, of course.
My test car was fitted with the Sport ZUBRA Package which consists of 18-inch alloy wheels fitted with 245/40 series tires; ventilated front seats; leather surfaces; Bi-Xenon gas discharge headlamps and 3-mode chassis settings (comfort, sport and "buckboard," if you want such a ride)
A V8 VOLVO
The 4.4 liter, 311 horsepower V8 engine (made in Japan in conjunction with Yamaha) is a piece of sculpture that cranks out a nice exhaust note while it's throwing the car forward at impressive speeds. All the power is handled by a Geartronic 6-speed automatic that shows no sign of hard shifting, and the overall impression is that the engine/transmission were carved out of the same block of aluminum.
Handling is equally impressive thanks to the combination of all-wheel-drive and front/rear independent suspension components that make all road surfaces seem like they
were tuned to the car. This thing is well thought out for sure. The only thing I found lacking was the upward visibility through the highly-slanted windshield. I had to stay well back at stop lights so I could see the overhead signals. The ventilated seats were a delight during some particularly nasty hot days and the SIRIUS-equipped sound system seemed to radiate sound from everywhere.
All this luxury and performance doesn't come for free, and the S80 base price of $47,350 is quickly upped with the addition of the Electric Silver paint ($625); Sport Package ($2,495); BLIS ($595); Climate and audio packages ($2275); Adaptive Cruise Control ($1495) and destination/personal car communicator (remote) charges totaling $1200, the grand total comes to $56,025. Those able to afford one will love it!
Specifications: 2007 Volvo S80 AWD A SR
Mileage on test vehicle: 6250