With Volvo’s introduction of the £500 R-Design interior pack on the S80 executive saloon, it is testing customers’ reaction before it announces a full-blown, standalone version.
The R-Design traditionally includes tweaked suspension, body styling and a sports interior. Volvo has given the R-Design treatment to the other models in the range but it has not done so for the S80.
If there is enough interest in a sports-themed S80, Volvo will create a bodykit, with downforce-inducing rear spoiler, a deeper, more aggressive front bumper, and possibly sculpted side sills.
The S80 range has recently been treated to a “lowered dynamic’ chassis which would negate the need for an R-Design suspension.
Product manager Chris Wailes said that start/stop, which has recently been introduced to a number of Volvo models including the C30 and S40, can be fitted to the S80. He also said that Volvo needs to assess the cost of rewiring the S80 and whether customers would want to pay more for the car.
An economy DRIVe version of the XC90 is unlikely because only sub-160g/km Volvos can be badged DRIVe.
Without fitting a new engine to the SUV this would be incredibly difficult to achieve. Included in Volvo’s plans are hybrids in the range by 2012 that the carmaker is working on to be more efficient that Toyota’s and Honda’s current models.