Avg. Price Paid:$10,256 - $13,596
Original MSRP: $38,705 - $49,210
MPG: 16 City / 24 Hwy
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2008 Volvo S80 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Volvo S80 was new.

On balance, test drivers find the S80 to be an adequate performer, with competent but not outstanding engine power, a comfortable but not sporty ride, and as you would expect from a Volvo -- very good braking.

Kelley Blue Book finds the S80 to be "absolutely grounded," and a "fine highway companion." For 2008, Volvo added a new S80 engine option, a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 calls the T6, with all-wheel drive.

The 2008 Volvo S80 is seen by almost all critics as a marginal improvement in almost all aspects over the prior S80, including the new 3.2L inline six cylinder engine. While the optional 4.4L V8 provides more power, Edmunds calls the base engine "adequate", while saying that the V8 provides points in the S80s favor.

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Volvo S80 also comes with three engine options:  The base 3.2L inline six cylinder engine delivers 235 horsepower while an optional 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 makes 281 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.  The top-of-the-line 4.4-liter V8 puts out 281 hp. Although the S80 V8 in itself is big news, the 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine is "the largest inline-6 Volvo has ever built," according to Automotive.com.

The S80 3.2 features a 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine and is available only in front-wheel drive. Consumer Guide calls the six-cylinder engine "adequate" but "lacking punch" compared to other V6 powered class rivals. The 2008 Volvo S80 V6 has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

Most reviewers haven't had a chance to test the new T6 engine, but according to the EPA, it gets 15 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway.

The high-end S80 AWD features a 4.4-liter engine which delivers power through Volvo's Instant Traction all-wheel drive (AWD). The S80 AWD has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.  According to Automotive.com, it is a "giant leap for Swedish automotive history with its first V8-powered luxury sedan" adding, "This V8 is a "real performer," as the AWD delivers power to the road with the proven Volvo Haldex computer controlled all-wheel drive system. Consumer Guide finds the V8 "smoother and though docile from the start, delivers willing power appropriate for the class." And lastly, a number of test drives note the not-so-subtle sound that the Volvo V8 delivers, with Cars.com noting its "healthy little growl" and Auto Mall USA, observing the sound is like a Corvette V8. Motor Trend, however, was only partially complimentary, reporting that the V8 "provides satisfying grunts, although the engine noise is high and whiny for a V-8."

Handling and Braking

From a ride and handling standpoint, the S80 is focused on comfort and cruising, not handling and sportiness like some of its competition. Consumer Guide notes, though, that the Volvo "handles with controlled competence." However, some critics do note the limits of the S80, such as Car and Driver, which observes the car "lacks the brilliant accuracy and communication" of some competitors.

The Los Angeles Times calls the S80 suspension "tight" and considers the overall ride to be comfortable. The S80 can be equipped with an adaptive chassis that automatically softens or stiffens depending on the road condition. The adjustable suspension, according to the Orlando Sentinel, offers an "excellent ride and beyond-competent handling", however The Boston Globe states that something is "lost in translation" between light steering and vague front wheel response, and Car and Driver observes that none of the S80 settings, even with the Sport Package, feel "lively or excited."

The long drive seems to be where most test drivers find the S80 really delivers, with Cars.com perhaps summing up the thoughts of many, noting that the S80 is a "fine highway companion," as it "accelerates with gusto for passing and can be driven for hours on end with little fatigue."

According to critics, the S80 has confident brakes, providing certain stops that most driver expect for Volvo, a company known for building safe vehicles. The S80, according to Edmunds, has "agile and quick" braking, and although not "brutishly fast", the pedal was firm and responsive and almost "intuitive, bringing the car to on-spot to slowing and stopping. The brakes "generated our confidence," the test driver adds, and Consumer Guide agrees, calling the S80's braking "worry-free."

Performance Options

S80 3.2

The S80 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine is available as front-wheel drive and delivers 235 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

S80 T6

The S80 T6 performance option comes with an in-line V6 engine with all-wheel drive and delivers 281 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

S80 V8

The S80 V8 has standard all-wheel drive and a V8 engine, delivering 311 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque.

Review Last Updated: 7/10/08

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