The new Volvo S90 oozes Scandinavian cool

The S90 plays the crucial role of the disrupter in an already crowded segment that contains the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and E-Class Mercedes.

Damien Reid February 19, 2017

The mid-size, premium luxury sector is one of the most crowded in the market with no shortage of options from Germany, Japan, the UK and the United States. So when it’s time to upgrade, it’s often too easy to tick the same box and move on. However in this case, it’s worth stepping back and considering one more option, from Sweden.

The Volvo S90 is quirky and different enough to warrant a closer look if you’re looking for something fresh and unique.

Its styling is subtle, yet distinctive, being dominated by the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ signature in the headlights and the full width taillight treatment across the rear. It’s a look that polarises opinion and even after a few days with the car I still couldn’t convince myself to like the tail, yet others loved it.

The clean-cut look extends to the interior which is a much lighter place than most of its competitors thanks to the use of both light and dark leather, matte finished, open-pore wood trim and polished aluminium that gives off an understated Scandinavian feel.

The dash layout is sparse with simple, easy to read dials while nearly all other functions are locked away in the vertically stacked, 9-inch LCD infotainment display. 

With a mix of scroll, swipe options both left and right, up and down, it took some navigating to find simple procedures such as air-conditioning. I’m sure it will become second nature after a bit more familiarisation.

Volvo’s current mandate of being the four-cylinder car company means this comes with one engine only, the two-litre turbo and supercharged four-cylinder that develops an impressive 316bhp and 400Nm of torque.

It’s smooth but noisy as the four is naturally more vocal than six or eight cylinder alternatives, which brings a bit of vibration at higher rpm. Its smoothness however, comes from the standard eight-speed automatic that seamlessly shifts it through the rev range.


  • Engine: 2.0-litre, turbo & supercharged 4-cylinder
  • Power: 316bhp @5700rpm
  • Torque: 400Nm @ 2200rpm
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic
  • 0-100kmh: 5.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 264kmh
  • Price: AED 179,900

My only issue with the box was on the hilly drive program, when it had a tendency to keep hunting for a better gear and kicking down frequently which diluted the relaxed Swedish sauna feel given off by the blonde timbers inside. Space, however, is not an issue with plenty of room that is right at home against its competitors like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, E-Class Mercedes, Jaguar XF and Cadillac XTS.

The S90 plays the crucial role of the disrupter in this segment and is a worthy player that warrants close consideration.