In October 2016, Volvo Cars India will launch the S90 premium luxury sedan in the country. The S90 will primarily compete with Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. In fact, so confident Volvo Cars is about the S90 that it has claimed it will “shake up the premium sedan segment.”
Tom von Bonsdorff, the MD of Volvo Auto India, believes that after the success of the XC90, the S90 too will capture the imagination of the discerning luxury car customer in India.
Globally, the S90 is powered by both petrol and diesel engines, but we expect the India-specific S90 to be launched only in the company’s tried-and-tested 1,969cc diesel engine. It could also be offered in a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Like the XC90—which was launched last year—the S90 too is based on Volvo’s new and highly flexible Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA). Therefore, the S90 shares its front design language with the XC90, including the signature Volvo grille, stylish headlamp cluster with projector units, large air intakes on both sides, a wide air dam below it, and Thor’s Hammer-style LED daytime running lights.
Similarly, the cabin of the S90 shares materials and design cues with the XC90. So expect the interiors to be luxurious and well-appointed. Because the S90 is a very long vehicle—it’s 4,963mm long and has a wheelbase of 2,941mm—there is a lot of space both at the front and back. In addition, like in the XC90, most functions are controlled by the touchscreen placed at the centre of the dashboard, so there are few switches to confuse the driver.
The S90 is equipped with a host of new technologies, ranging from cutting-edge safety to cloud-based apps and services. It will also come with the company’s advanced semi-autonomous drive feature called Pilot Assist. The system gives gentle steering inputs to keep the car properly aligned within lane markings up to speeds of around 130kph and doesn’t need to follow another car. In fact, Pilot Assist is a step towards the full autonomous drive Volvo Cars is aiming for in the long run.
The S90 introduces a world-first function to its City Safety feature—it’s called Large Animal Detection. This system, the company claims, is capable of detecting large animals such as elk, horses or moose, night or day. The technology offers an intuitive warning and brake support to help avoid a collision.
It remains to be seen which all technologies make way to India-specific models.
Volvo Cars currently sells six luxury vehicles in India: S60, S80, V40, V40 Cross Country, XC60 and XC90. The S90 will be the seventh model. We expect Volvo to price it close to the Rs 50 lakh mark for the base version, ex-showroom. And if Volvo is able to price the car that competitively and market it effectively, the S90 might just crash the premium luxury sedan party currently dominated by the E-Class, A6 and 5 Series.