Reviews

2012 Volvo S80 Walk Around

The Volvo S80 is a handsome sedan with distinctive styling; though it's getting a bit long in the tooth, especially when viewed next to Volvo's smaller, but more recently restyled S60. The two models do maintain a family resemblance, especially in their semi-fastback profiles.

The S80 is comparable in size to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac CTS, and Lexus GS.

The new-for 2012 wheels on the S80 3.2 are a 17-inch design Volvo calls Regor, featuring a very simple and sturdy-looking 16-spoke pattern. They are a no-cost option for the T6, also. The 2012 T6 comes with a new 18-inch wheel Volvo calls Magni: nine curved spokes seem to flow tangentially from the hub and expand as they reach the rim; a dizzying illusion of motion even when they're standing still. But the S80's premium wheel is still the racy-looking 18-inch Fortuna Diamond Cut, whose seven spokes have machined surfaces that play dramatically with reflected light; it's a stand-alone option for the 3.2, and comes with the Dynamic Package for the T6.

The Personal Car Communicator is an electronic key fob that can lock or unlock the S80 from distances up to 110 yards, and can tell you what state the locks are in. It can activate the alarm, and can sense the presence of a human heartbeat inside the car.

Interior

The sumptuous surroundings in the S80 are amplified by the wonderfully comfortable seats and the generous front and rear legroom that helps to put the S80 squarely in the luxury class. The seats are available plain, heated, or heated and cooled. And Volvo offers a nice selection of leather colors, including two-tone combinations, some bold, others oh-so-subtle.

The upper instrument panel has been completely redesigned for 2012 to accommodate the standard-equipment Sensus system, which manages the audio unit, navigation system (if equipped) and other functions, while displaying information on a seven-inch high-definition color monitor. While the old navigation system popped up out of the top of the dashboard, Sensus is housed in a fixed center binnacle that stands higher than the rest of the dash panel. Volvo says the screen is positioned high to make it easier for drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

Pressing the My Car button in the center stack offers access to a range of settings for the City Safety, Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection, Driver Alert System, and Active Cruise Control functions, plus, lighting, door mirrors, climate, central locking and audi. In fact, all Sensus functions can be operated via buttons on the steering wheel or located just below the screen.

The remaining switches, controls and instruments follow traditional Volvo themes, but everything is contemporary. Volvo's watch dial instrument faces are standard on all S80 models.

The freestanding center stack that connects the dashboard to the console is a key design element. It's been re-styled for 2012, with silk metal framing the now-standard Classic Walnut Wood inlays. New ambient lighting from behind the console emphasizes the free-floating illusion.

The 160-watt, eight-speaker sound system will play MP3 files and has an auxiliary input for iPods and other players. Sirius Satellite Radio is standard. A USB port is provided. Standard on the flagship T6 AWD Platinum is a five-channel, 12-speaker Dolby Pro Logic II surround-sound system developed with Dynaudio.

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