Skip to content
Volvo models, news & reviews
By Peter Burgess
18 August 2008 13:40
The Volvo S80. There’s a name to conjure with, to roll around your tongue and to savour the depths like a complex Bordeaux. Who are we kidding? The S80 is one of that small clique of large cars that aspire to the premium level but always fall someway short of attaining the necessary desirability. But does that mean the Volvo S80 is a bad car, or even a not-very-good one?
Of course not, as hundreds of chauffeurs and taxi drivers will testify. Sitting in the back of an S80 after a night out is a very pleasant experience, even when sober. But bringing in the punters is still hard work so for 2008 Volvo has introduced new petrol and diesel engines, both four cylinder, both two-litres. The entry-level 2.0 petrol SE is a bargain £23,495.
Sticking a two-litre Mondeo engine into an S40 might sound like a reasonable proposition, but you’ve a right to be concerned about the same 143bhp unit in the bigger, heavier S80. Power isn’t really the issue. The S80 can cruise reasonably well on the motorway, one- or two-up, and at higher revs the engine feels lively and responsive. It may seem unseemly to drive a car like this on the gearbox but it’s a solution some of the time.
Where the S80 stumbles so miserably is in urban conditions. Torque is in short supply at the best of times but at low revs it seems paltry. That leads to some oh-my-God moments pulling out from road junctions where acceleration feels even slower than the 0-60mph time of 11 seconds implies. That’s with just the driver on-board. With a full compliment of passengers it could get scary.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our Volvo S80 2.0 SE first drive
Add your comment
Sign in You must be signed in to submit a comment.
Volvo S80 2.0 SE (2008) CAR review
By submitting your comment, you agree to adhere to the CAR Magazine website
Terms and Conditions
You must be logged in to subscribe to a topic
Login or register now
RE: Volvo S80 2.0 SE CAR review
In Greece, and in some other markets I'm sure, we could have the previous S80 with the 2.0 lit 5 cylinder turbo from the S60 with around 200 bhp, and it was a great big family car in relatively good price. Why don't they do the same now? This 4 cylinder is barely adequate for a S40, never mind a S80...
24 August 2008 16:29
To answer Brand0's question, the Volvo USP which most attracts me are the seats. Now that GM no longer deigns to put proper seats in Saabs, Volvo has the best seats in the business. And the one part of the car used 100% of the time are the seats. Once you are used to the best, anything else becomes offensive. I wish I could speak more directly about the ownership experience in Europe, but in the States, Volvo is one European make with consistently human dealers (unlike the German brands,) and good reliability (unlike Audi, which has many former owners in the States, myself included, who'd never buy another due to inexplicable, out of warranty, catastrophic failures at minimal mileages.) As for looks, once you are in the car, you can't see it, and the interiors are quite pleasant and practical. As a transportation tool, Volvo's have a lot going for them, without insulting your intelligence at any point.
19 August 2008 18:45
Either way you look at it, £25k is a lot of money to spend on a car that won't raise your pulse when you look at it. Volvo's USP of safety may still be good, but the market has caught up sufficiently to render it nothing too special. So what does Volvo represent nowadays?
19 August 2008 11:30
Who called the cops?
19 August 2008 09:53
Hydestein - the S80 is (as far as I know) based on the current Mondeo's platform, while the XF uses the old S-Type's with some XJ components added, so any similarities are incidental. Not a single piece of sheet metal is shared. Gascon - Erika is a true beauty. I'm very, very fond of the Pagode, which is my all-time favourite Merc, together with the W112 Coupé/Convertible. Ah, those were the days, when the likes of Paul Bracq designed absolutely stunning shapes for the three-pointed star... while, just a few minutes ago, I've had to wash my eyes after having a look at what's supposed to be genuine photos of next year's new E-Class. But back to the Pagode (her German name, no spelling mistake)...
19 August 2008 09:41
Upload stories, photos or videos direct to the site, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, call 01733 468 485 (+ 44 1733 468 485)
Seen a secret new car, fabulous exotic or have news we should publish? Then get in touch now.
Advertise with us |
Site map |
About Us |
Contact Us |
© Copyright 2013 Bauer Media Limited - All rights reserved.
Magazine Subscriptions | Motoring Magazine Subscriptions | Car Magazine Subscriptions | FHM | Zoo | Empire | MCN | Parker's | Today's Golfer