in 2012 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $22,672 - $26,185
Original MSRP: $37,950 - $45,650
MPG: 20 City / 29 Hwy
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2012 Volvo S80 Performance

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

Volvo is content to let the S80 compete with its peers on safety and comfort, leaving sporty handling and pulse-pounding acceleration to other cars. The S80 is competent, reviewers say, but also one of the most unexciting drives in the luxury large car class. Those interested in safety but still craving some athleticism should consider the Infiniti M or Audi A6.

  • "Both 6-cylinder engines growl under acceleration. There's little wind noise, but tire thrum is noticeable on some coarse surfaces." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The … 3.2 provides decent power for most situations, though it sounds a bit coarse. We'd recommend opting for the T6, as the 3.2 just doesn't have the premium character we expect in a midsize luxury sedan." -- Edmunds 

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Volvo S80 comes in two trim levels. The base S80 3.2 is powered by a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower. In 3.2 models, power is put to the ground by a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. If you’re looking for more power, Volvo offers the S80 T6, which features a 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

While the turbocharged six-cylinder offers competitive power, many reviewers complain that the base 3.2-liter engine is underpowered for the class. If you want performance that matches other six-cylinder luxury large cars, go for the 3.0-liter turbocharged engine.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel drive S80 3.2 gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, while the more-powerful S80 T6 gets 18/26 mpg city/highway.

  • "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 
  • "The T6 offers snappy turbocharged thrust that gives the car plenty of power for swift freeway passing and merging." -- Edmunds 

Handling and Braking

The Volvo S80 is one of the most sedate handlers in the luxury large car class. Reviewers say it will do fine as a daily commuter. But in a class filled with athletic cars like the Infiniti M and BMW 5-Series, the Volvo S80 can’t compete. 

  • "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 
  • "The S80's ride is appropriately supple and isolated, but handling is rather ponderous unless you opt for the sport-tuned suspension." -- Edmunds