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First Pictures: 2007 Volvo S80

Worldwide Introduction Set for Geneva
The aging Volvo S80 gets a major update for the 2007MY, and Volvo has released some initial data ahead of its auto show introductions in Geneva (March) and New York (April). Sales in the States don’t begin until the end of 2006. Though AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents won’t have the opportunity to get our hands on the updated S80 for several months, we do have some first impressions to share.
The original S80 established the modern Volvo design motif that has evolved through the lineup from S80 down to the upcoming C30. Elegant and expressive, the Volvo cues have given the cars an at-a-glance identity. The new S80 is clearly a Volvo, but may be too close in execution to its smaller stablemate the S60. Volvos are known as practical, safe, family cars and to the extent they vary from that formula, Volvo risks abandoning its heritage… an all to common occurance these days.
Handsome as the new S80 is, the very fast windshield, fast backlite and swoopy roofline promise more restricted interior roominess and headroom. While very tastefully done, we can’t help but wonder if a more practical execution wouldn’t be better accepted. Of course, the sales of the original S80 have stagnated towards nothingness, so any refresh probably will generate improved sales.

Improved Engine Lineup, But Will It Be Enough?
S80 launches in the States with an all-new 232HP DOHC 24v I6 and the 311HP 4.4L DOHC 32v V8 available in the XC90. While the S80 will be offered in front- or all-wheel-drive versions as is true of the current generation, only the V8 gets AWD at launch. Though the 2007MY V8 is an improvement over the 208HP I5 for 2006MY and the defunct 272HP turbo I6, it is not enough to bring it to the head of the class. S80 also launches with a weak six-cylinder option compared with the much of the competition. On the other hand, outright power is not the primary appeal to a Volvo owner and the powertrain improvements at least give the S80 a fighting chance.
Scandinavian Luxury
The S80 is being launched with a theme Volvo calls Scandinavian Luxury and defines as clean, elegant lines and intelligent functionality designed with the user’s well-being in mind. According to Volvo, Scandinavian Luxury different from traditional luxury in its focus on combining aesthetics and technology in an inviting way. This as opposed to the appeal of elitism, expense, and exclusivity that Volvo says define traditional luxury.
With the 2006 NAIAS so fresh in mind and Ford’s emphasis on American Innovation and other American themes for American brands, we wonder if describing Ford Motor Company owned brands in nationalistic terms will become more common going forward or if this is just coincidence.
Evolutionary Design
Though we have yet to see the S80 in the tin, expected evolutionary design comes offer well. Only one shot of the interior is available so far, but as we’re fans of the Volvo floating center console that carries into the S80 and of the clean look and nice feel of Volvo interiors in general, we have high hopes that this will be another success for Volvo’s interior designers.
Platform Shared with Lincoln MKS
Among the reasons to closely watch the Volvo S80 is that its platform, and likely drivetrain, will be shared with an upcoming Lincoln sedan. The Lincoln product was previewed by the 2006 NAIAS concept MKS. Based on the MKS concept, the Lincoln would get a unique interior appropriate to the Lincoln brand. Exterior styling will not be identical, but there are some elements (like the shape of the hood) where the family relationship will be visible.

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