in 2009 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $13,391 - $17,534
Original MSRP: $39,600 - $51,850
MPG: 16 City / 25 Hwy
Search Used Listings:

2009 Volvo S80 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most large luxury sedans have some sporting pretensions. This one doesn't. The automotive press is almost unanimous in saying that the S80 is a fine commuter and a comfortable car for long trips, but it simply isn't built for enthusiast driving the way similar cars from BMW and Mercedes are.

  • "This voluminous Volvo's natural habitat is the interstate, not the winding back road." -- Edmunds
  • "Absolutely grounded. A fine highway companion." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Comfortable and composed." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Volvo S80 is available with three engine options: The base 3.2-liter 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 311 hp. The base engine is generally considered too weak for the class. The V8 is the first Volvo has ever built, but reviewers generally agree that the turbocharged inline six-cylinder model is the best value. 3.2 models come only as front-wheel-drive cars, with AWD available on upper trims. All S80s use a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates that FWD models should get 16/25 mpg and V8 AWD versions 15/22 mpg.

  • "Sure, the true enthusiast's Volvo S80 may be the one with the big V8 under the hood. But this turbo six is up to the job. It's not going to slam you back in the seat and make your eyeballs bleed, but it packs enough punch to get this two-ton sedan smartly and silently up to speed in a few seconds." -- AutoWeek
  • "From a driving-thrills standpoint, there's no reason for anyone to move up to the V-8. Not only is the T6 $7,000 less than the V-8, it's just a better driving car." -- Cars.com
  • "The 2009 Volvo S80 3.2 provides adequate power for most situations, though it sounds a bit coarse. We'd recommend opting for the T6 or V8, as the 3.2 just doesn't have the premium character we expect in a midsize luxury sedan. The T6 offers snappy turbocharged thrust, while the V8 is impressively smooth and powerful" -- Edmunds
  • "The 3.2's smooth 6-cylinder provides adequate power but lacks punch compared to V6-powered class rivals and even cars costing thousands less. T6 versions are a bit docile from a start but deliver willing power appropriate for the class. The transmission shifts seamlessly." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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." -- Automotive.com

Handling and Braking

The automotive press is unanimous in saying that the S80 handles comfortably in everyday driving situations, but it's never going to compete with the sport sedans that fill the top of this class. Its brakes are generally strong -- a Volvo trait for decades. All-wheel-drive models generally impresses reviewers.

  • "The all-wheel drive does a great job of getting the power to the road and helping to keep the car on-track regardless of conditions." -- AutoWeek
  • "Like most Volvos, the S80's steering is still floaty compared to almost every other luxury car on the market, and even with all-wheel drive this thing doesn't take tightly curved off-ramps like a sports sedan." -- Cars.com
  • "The S80's ride is appropriately supple and isolated, but handling is rather ponderous." -- Edmunds
  • "S80 never feels sporty, but handles with controlled competence. Nice, tight turning radius. AWD adds a measure of security in slippery conditions but isn't available on 3.2 models. Braking is worry-free, but one test model suffered from a slightly mushy pedal." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A fine highway companion...accelerates with gusto for passing and can be driven for hours on end with little fatigue." -- Cars.com