Volvo S90 in classy competition

The new Volvo S90 is the star in a blue-and-gold setting. (Bud Wells photo)

The new Volvo S90 is the star in a blue-and-gold setting. (Bud Wells photo)

No need, to this point, to fear the consequences of the Chinese ownership of Volvo.

Right out of Gothenberg, Sweden, comes Volvo’s newest product, the S90 sedan rolling smoothly into the luxury territory dominated by the German automakers. Watch out Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

The new one is filled with Volvo style and quality; no hint of diminishment from Zhejiang Geely holding company, the Chinese firm which has owned Volvo since 2010.

The S90 replaces the S80 as flagship in Volvo’s lineup; it is 4 inches longer and noticeably wider. Its stylish exterior, luxurious interior and highway performance make it, perhaps, the finest four-door sedan I’ve driven this year.

The 2017 S90 T6 Inscription with all-wheel drive was the review model, powered by a 4-cylinder engine both turbocharged and supercharged, with 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. torque.

We drove it to Parker for the second birthday celebration of Tessa, daughter of Daniel and Kara Hansen. Before departing the party, the new S90 drew the attention of sons Kurt and Dale Wells. Kurt drives a Lincoln MKS, an American competitor of the Volvo. The S90, though 3 inches longer in wheelbase than the Lincoln, is 10 inches shorter in overall length, 195.4 to 205.6. Trunk space is considerably smaller in the Volvo; its fuel-mileage rating is higher, 22/31 for the Volvo and 17/24 for the Lincoln. The Lincoln is 150 pounds heavier.

Highlighting the S90’s sleek exterior are T-shaped accent headlights, referred to by Volvo as Thor’s Hammer, bookends to a waterfall grille somewhat similar to that used on the 1972 Volvo P1800. The hood is long, the top is low and the rear deck is short, finished in mussel blue.

The Volvo offers luxurious interior.  (Volvo)

The Volvo offers luxurious interior. (Volvo)

Dressing up the interior are perforated leather seating and woodgrain trim on the dash and doors. Added pleasure from the Inscription trim level are the 13-speaker sound system of Bowers & Wilkins, navigation, digital instrument cluster and chilled glove box.

The 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine delivers adequate power to the 4,000-pound sedan with both instant boost and midrange thrust from the supercharger/turbocharger combination. The AWD will split power 50/50 front to rear as necessary in adverse conditions. The smaller powerplant and 8-speed automatic transmission lift the Volvo’s highway fuel-mileage estimate to 31 miles per gallon. My overall average was 27.9. The S90 rides on very-low-profile tires from Pirelli (255/35R20).

A Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system aids the S90’s operator with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping for maintaining proper road position in highway travel.

The S90, with sticker price of $66,105, will compete with the Audi A6 and A7, the BMW 5 series and 6 series and Mercedes-Benz E Class.

In addition to the all-wheel-drive T6, Volvo offers an S90 T5 with front-wheel drive. A T8 plug-in hybrid is expected to be introduced in the near future.