4: Volvo S90/V90 – finally a Swede that can live with its German rivals

Top cars for 2018: R-Design S90 really can keep up with a BMW 5 Series on a twisting road, and (whisper it) the Volvo has the nicer steering

 

It’s hard to see the S90 (saloon) and V90 (estate) as anything but a major breakthrough for Volvo. Yes, the bigger, arguably more fashionable XC90 SUV had laid the groundwork and the upcoming XC40 and V40 are both going to vastly out-sell them, but the S90 and V90 are the closest Volvo has ever come to matching the likes of a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Closest, because they’re not 100 per cent there yet, but they’re very, very close, and more than good enough to stand comparison to the German giants.

The key issue with this Volvo is to go for the 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine (190hp, 400Nm of torque - both more than mple) and then get your S or V in R-Design trim. This does, it must be said, mean that you’ll be looking at a black leather interior, rather than the brighter, lighter Scandi hues of other models, but the extra tautness in the chassis settings, thanks to the R-Design’s lower and stiffer springs is really welcome.

Such a suspension set-up can ruin some cars (indeed it ruins some other Volvo models) but an R-Design S90 really can keep up with a BMW 5 Series on a twisting road, and (whisper it) the Volvo has the nicer steering.

Gorgeous cabin, with its huge (and easy-to-use) central touchscreen hasn’t aged a day since we first saw it, while comfort and quality levels are (mostly) excellent. Estate is gorgeous, but smaller in the back than you’d think. Taller Cross Country four-wheel drive model is a touch pointless.

Best model: S90 D4 R-Design

Prices start from: €44,995

Finance package from: €399

CO2 emissions: 116-139g/km

Sum-up: Sensually Swedish saloon seeks similar suitor