There’s no question in my mind that if The Saint ever needed a car for an elegant evening on the town, he would have chosen the 2017 Volvo S90.
OK, stick with me on this one.
The Saint was a TV show back in the 60s starring Roger Moore who played a thief who robbed from the really bad guys. He drove a Volvo P1800 which was a nice sporty-looking two-seater that, frankly, was more show than go. When The Saint was remade into a movie with Val Kilmer in 1997, he used a Volvo C70 coupe. Both great cars, but hardly something that would impress the valet at an upscale restaurant.
The Volvo S90 could do just that. It’s brand new for 2017 and elegant from stem to stern. The clean body lines are only upstaged by the beautiful interior. Volvo claims it has invested $11 billion dollars over the last five years in developing its latest line of cars. One drive in the S90, and you’ll think it was money well spent.
Let’s start with the outside. It has clean, simple lines that just exude style. To be honest, the pictures you see don’t really even do the car justice. In person, it just looks better. The grille is typical Volvo styling flanked by a pair of headlights that Volvo refers to as “Thor’s Hammer”. The body has a slight rake that gives it just a hint of aggression. Volvo didn’t take the S90’s styling in a different direction than other luxury sedans, it just nailed the elegance of simplicity.
I’m already gushing and I haven’t gotten to my favorite part: the interior. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful passenger compartment in any car. The top of the dash has a leather folio look with the perfect edge. My test car had wood trim on the dash and side panels. The seats were more than just comfortable, they were artistically sculpted. The center console is narrow without being too thin. It moves towards the dash where you’ll find a perfectly placed display interface.
That display is also interesting. It works like an iPad. You swipe between three screens. In the center is a list of your active apps, navigation and entertainment. Swipe to the left and you have all of the car’s functions, swipe to the right and you’ll find the audio controls. My test car had the Bowers and Wilkins sound system. It actually lets you choose what type of audio you’d like to hear. You can opt for studio, individual stage or concert hall. It really does make a difference. You can also tune it to sound best for the driver, or all the passengers. Of course it’s a $2,650 option, but if you’re an audiophile you won’t be able to resist. To be totally honest, there were a few times when I found the display just a little glitchy. But overall it worked well.
Up-front in my test car was the 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 316 horsepower. Think about that for a moment. Four cylinders in less than 122 cubic inches with more than 300 horses. It’s mated up to an 8-speed transmission. It uses it’s power carefully. You’re not going to squeal away from the curbs but you’ll definitely get up to speed quickly. You can also opt for a 250 horsepower engine if you want to save some money. A hybrid gas/electric engine combo coming later this year is supposed to pump out closer to 400 horses.
It’s probably not a surprise that Volvo is embracing the car’s safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane keeper assist that gently nudges you back into your lean. Volvo proudly calls the S90 “semi-autonomous”. Best of all, this suite of safety features is standard. You even get Volvo’s City Safety technology that detects and warns the driver not just about other vehicles, but pedestrians and bicycles the occasional large animal as well to avoid a collision.
My test car was the S90 T6 All Wheel Drive model. The sticker started at $52,950 and went out the door at $66,105. While it’s pricy, it’s not bad compared with BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It’s definitely a worthy option for anyone wanting something elegant that is also slightly different.
After all, if it’s good enough for The Saint, it will fit you just fine.