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The Volvo S90 debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (Paul Sancya/AP)
The Volvo S90 debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (Paul Sancya/AP)

Detroit Auto Show

Quick Spin: Volvo S90 builds on the brand resurgence Add to ...

What is it?

For a long time, Volvo had been considered “kind of premium, but not quite”. A step above mainstream, but no real flash. Then came the XC90 crossover last year – which, by the way, won truck of the year at the North American International Auto Show on Monday. The XC90 brought a level of luxury not before seen with the Swedish brand and, now, Volvo has debuted its flagship S90 sedan in Detroit with the same level of opulence and features as its crossover sibling. As the second model in a brand redesign since being purchased by Chinese company Geely, the S90 is building on this brand resurgence.

Signature feature

While the interior is a classic Scandinavian minimal design, this is no Ikea setup. In fact, the combination and implementation of rich metals, raw-feel wood, sumptuous leather and quality plastics make this interior one of the more lush on the luxury market. Some metal switchgear sport diamond-cut textures, while a chrome accent “spine” runs along the bottom of the dash to tie it together. Add to that the unique, vertical Sensus touchscreen that dominates the centre dash and controls infotainment, navigation, climate and other features, which is also one of the easiest systems to navigate.

What else is new?

The S90 continues Volvo’s resurgence of exterior design, with a subtle, elegant body capped with a chrome, concave grille at the front. Being a Volvo, safety is paramount, so the sedan will be available with City Safety, which can detect larger animals and will automatically brake the car when a live obstacle is detected. Standard on every S90 will be the IntelliSafe Assist, which includes adaptive cruise control, distance alert and a semi-autonomous driving feature.

Under the hood

While the 2.0-litre turbocharged-and-supercharged inline four-cylinder is similar to that of the XC90, this iteration develops 320 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. There will be a hybrid version that, combined with the electric motor, will produce more than 400 horsepower. Diesel versions will also be available, though likely not for the Canadian market.

When can we buy it, and for how much?

While no prices have yet been released (they’ll be out next month), expect the S90 to be on par with its German and Asian counterparts, considering the competitiveness of the XC90 in its own market. The sedan will hit dealerships this summer.

Cool quotient

4 stars (out of 5).

According to Volvo officials, the company will have reinvented its entire lineup by 2020. If these cars and SUVs have the same level of quality, craftsmanship and design as the S90 – and if they drive as well as the XC90 does – then BMW and Audi will have a serious competitor on their hands.

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