Out goes the S80 and in comes the S90, Volvo’s brand-new flagship sedan. Paired with the XC90 SUV atop the Swedish factory’s lineup, the new car is designed to compete for the affections of executive fleet managers against such midsize luminaries as the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Depending on one’s aesthetic sensibilities, the S90 may already have won the design category.

Based on the Concept Coupe, a prototype based on the 1960s-era P1800, the new car’s elegant exterior features an upright, concave grille and a distinctly coupe-like raked windshield and low-slung roofline. There are some flashy touches, including Volvo’s signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights, but the sheet metal is an exercise in restraint.

Specs for 2017 Volvo S90.

Specs for 2017 Volvo S90.

In the cabin (marketed as a “Scandinavian Sanctuary”), high-quality wood and metal accents adorn a clean, sophisticated cockpit built around a vertically oriented 9-inch LED infotainment display. The layout, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Tesla Model S, leaves only a thin strip of manual controls on the console. The instrument cluster is represented by a second screen behind the wheel that can also display phone, sound system, and navigation between the tachometer and speeometer.

Unlike most of its competitors, the entire S90 lineup is powered by four-cylinder engines. The front-wheel-drive T5 editions are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four that delivers 250 horsepower (hp) and 258 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque.

All-wheel-drive T6s get a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0 that levels the S90 up to 316 hp and 295 lb.-ft.; both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that offers Comfort, Eco, and Sport drive modes. Fuel economy is enviable for the class, with a combined score of 27 miles per gallon (mpg) and 25 mpg for the T5 and T6, respectively.

Standard equipment includes Volvo’s “Pilot Assist” semiautonomous driving feature, powered adjustable front seats, power sunroof, and navigation. Available option packages add such uptown features as a powered, hands-free trunk lid, parking assist, four-zone climate control, and blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts.

The 2017 Volvo S90 sedan is in showrooms now with sticker prices that start at $46,950 and inch closer to the $60,000 mark as trim levels and option packages escalate. A V90 wagon, T8 plug-in hybrid, and super-sporty Polestar edition are expected to join the lineup.

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Tariq Kamal

Tariq Kamal

Contributing Editor

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