Saturday, August 18, 2007

Full Test: 2007 Volvo S80

Volvo S80

Leonard Shelby would love the 2007 Volvo S80 AWD. As the protagonist of the film Memento, Leonard was afflicted with a condition that prevented him from forming new memories. Brief conversations were fine, but 10 minutes later he'd have no idea with whom he was talking.

Just like us, when Leonard would approach this S80 for the first time, the V8 badge would arouse his anticipation of the drive to come. But thanks to his unfortunate condition, Leonard would be among the few to feel this eagerness on subsequent occasions.

Since we're burdened with the curse of memory, our many drives in the 2007 Volvo S80 AWD have led us to learn that it takes more than a purring power plant to lead the way in the luxury-sedan segment. It takes that little something extra, a certain je ne sais quoi, for a fine luxury sedan to become a truly memorable driving experience.

It's Like Waking; Like You Just Woke Up
The S80's woofly V8-ness is totally out of character with Volvos as we've come to know them. And we mean that in the best sense. At part-throttle, the S80's 4.4-liter DOHC V8 is subdued, but when you give it the wood, it pumps up the burbling, mellifluous intake notes that only a V8 can deliver.

The S80 is reminiscent of those engine swaps into older Volvos popular among Q-ship lovers, those staid, boxy 1980s Volvos with the unexpected gurgle of a domestic V8 under the hood. The same goes with the S80, but the difference is that the modern V8 in the curvaceous S80 is far more refined and more powerful than those found in any FrankenVolvo.

Distantly related to the 60-degree V8 in the last Ford Taurus SHO, the S80's V8 heart transplant is certainly the highlight of this luxurious Swedish sedan. This is the same power plant found in the Volvo XC90, and it's a cube compact enough to be mounted transversely under the S80's hood.

All-wheel drive helps funnel all the V8's 311-horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque to the pavement, so there's no time-wasting wheelspin at the launch for the quarter-mile, resulting in a sprint of 14.4 seconds with a trap speed of 97.1 mph. This efficient launch helps deliver the S80 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is a solid 0.7 second quicker than the factory claims. Remember when a 0-60 time of less than 6 seconds was considered Mustang territory?

Of course, perhaps the engine's aggressive sound signature is indirectly responsible for the 17.6 mpg we averaged over 781 miles, a result at the low end of the S80's 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway EPA rating.
Source: edmunds

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