The 2018 Volvo S90 T8 Inscription: Sophistication and Electrification [Review]

[Photo: Volvo]

From its “Thor’s Hammer” front lighting flanking its grille to the twin rectangular chrome exhaust tips, the 2018 Volvo S90 displays everything that a luxury sedan should, in an elegant package. As Volvo’s flagship sedan, the S90 offers up the best the company has to offer in terms of luxury, features and performance. Its available in five different levels. First, there are two trim levels – Momentum and Inscription. Then, on top of that, there are T5 (Momentum only), T6 and T8 powertrain configurations. I tested the 2018 Volvo S90 T8 eAWD Inscription, the S90’s plug-in hybrid variant.

This car starts at $68,150, but the buck doesn’t stop there, as you can fit a plethora of optional equipment.

This particular 2018 Volvo S90 T8 Inscription racked up a final sticker price of $82,140. Kicking off, the $2,550 Convenience Package a 360-degree camera, Park Pilot Assist, heated washer nozzles, and a power-operated trunk lid. Stepping up a bit, the Luxury Package nets you heated and ventilated rear seats and backrest massagers in the front seats for $3,450. Crystal White Metallic Paint? That will cost you $595.

And it doesn’t stop there. A graphical Heads-Up display costs $900, and a heated steering wheel is $300. If you want premium sound, there’s a $3,200 Bowers and Wilkins system. Finally, 20-inch wheels ($800) and $1,200 air suspension round out the optional equipment. Adding in the destination charge, the price came out to $82,140.

[Photo: Volvo]

WHAT’S NEW

The 2018 Volvo S90 picks up Large Animal Detection and Run-Off Road Mitigation as part of its standard safety suite. Built on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture, the S90 features an elegantly sculpted exterior design. Its equally elegant interior features natural materials with distinctive Scandinavian design influence. Volvo’s Sensus Infotainment technology is available with a 12.3-inch touchscreen as well.

Visually, the Volvo S90 T8 displays a stately elegant form with its long sculpted hood, short rear deck and minimal overhangs. In profile, a long dash-to-axle ratio presents a low, wide and long silhouette. Its greenhouse showcases a graceful arc from the hood base, through the “C”-pillar onto the rear deck.

[Photo: Volvo]

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

The 2018 Volvo S90 T8 Insciription offers up comfort in droves, particularly with the optional air suspension. The materials used throughout the cabin, from the Nappa leather seats to the natural-looking wood trim offer an air of luxury and peace to the car’s occupants. The 9.3-inch Digital Drive Display instrument cluster is sharp and displays information clearly. Even better, that gauge cluster changes around depending which drive mode you select.

The S90 comes standard with a 9.3-inch Sensus Connect infotainment system.  Its patented four-tile homepage keeps navigation, phone, media and applications close to hand. Key features include 4G LTE connectivity with an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as navigation and voice controls.

Safety technology features about – the 2018 Volvo S90 just wouldn’t be a Volvo without them. In addition to all the usual safety features – blind spot monitoring, rearview camera and the like – the most significant feature is the Pilot Assist system. It’s Volvo’s semi-autonomous suite, that adds Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist.

PERFORMANCE

The powertrain in the 2018 Volvo S90 T8 plug-in hybrid is a bit complicated, to say the least. It’s 2.0-liter engine is direct injected, supercharged, and turbocharged. On its own (as in the T6 configuration), it puts out 313 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Could that to a 65 kW (87 horsepower) electric motor, and that output climbs to 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy isn’t bad either, at 26 City/33 Highway MPG. The 2018 Volvo S90 T8 plug-in hybrid and also drive up to 21 miles on electricity alone. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The selectable driving modes include Pure, for the most economical driving, along with a normal Hybrid mode for everyday driving. If you’re in a more spirited mood, there’s a Power mode for sportier driving. The S90 T8 handles well in virtually every driving scenario from narrow, two-lane twisting country roads to freeway travel and urban jaunts. The ride quality is both comfortable and stable even when you do get it in Power mode.

[Photo: Volvo]

TFLCAR’S TAKE

This new 2018 Volvo S90 T8 Inscription is certainly a worthy adversary against its contemporary rivals. Facing off against the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, among others, it comes out swinging in terms of looks, technology, and value. It seats five adults comfortably and is a stellar example of ergonomic Scandinavian design. The interior execution provides sumptuous surroundings that blend harmoniously with its well-sculptured exterior.

If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative, check out our review of the S90 T6 Inscription below. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views, and Swedish luxury sedan reviews!

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Volvo S90 T8 eAWD Plug-in Hybrid

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $68,150
Price as Tested: $82,140
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline four-cylinder

65 kW electric motor

Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely mounted front-engine, all-wheel drive (rear drive comes from electric motor)
Horsepower: Engine: 313 hp @ 6,000 RPM

Electric Motor: 87 hp

Combined Output: 400 hp

Torque: Engine: 295 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 RPM

Electric motor: 177 lb-ft

Combined Output: 472 lb-ft

Transmission: 8-speed geartronic automatic w/ automatic Stop/Start
Suspension: Front: Double wishbone, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar

Rear: Integral axle w/ transverse composite leaf spring, hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar (air suspension optional)

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs w/ ABS, EBD and Brake Assist
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero P245/40 R20 99W
Fuel capacity: 15.9 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 26 City/33 Highway MPG
Drag Coefficient: 0.32

Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 120.5 inches
Length:  200.1 inches
Width: 79.5 inches (including mirrors)
Height:  57.1 inches
Turning Circle: 40.0 feet
Curb Weight: 3,850 pounds
Arv Voss
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.