The S80 is a midsize four-door executive sedan made by the Swedish automaker, Volvo. Production of the S80 began in 1998, when it replaced the Volvo S90. The first generation, spanning models produced from 1998 through 2006, offered a range of engines starting with a two-liter and increasing in power to a 2.9-liter six-cylinder or a 2.5-liter Turbo Diesel. The second generation models, which include the 2008 S80, began production in 1996. These models get a significant increase in power—up to a 4.4-liter V-8. They also receive a smoother and more conventional body design.
Despite the exterior redesign, these models and much of the Volvo lineup continued to receive criticism for what was perceived as very plain designs, often with oddly-placed curves and lines throughout. The car maker and the S80 in particular received its share of accolades in areas of luxury, new technologies, and perhaps most of all, safety.
The 2008 S80 fits well within the brand's overall reputation. It marks well in safety, luxury, technology, and to a lesser extent but still notable, performance, while falling short in the area of general style.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.2-liter six-cylinder, 3.0-liter six-cylinder, 4.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed automatic with overdrive and auto-manual
Models: Volvo S80 3.2, Volvo S80 T6, Volvo S80 V-8
The 2008 Volvo S80 undergoes a handful of significant changes between the 2007 and 2008 models. The turbocharged, six-cylinder engine is new to the lineup as is an available V-8 with all-wheel drive. A number of safety features are added to the 2008 models, like the Personal Car Communicator, which is now standard on the V-8 model. The Personal Car Communicator is similar to a pager and can relay information like if the door is locked, or if the alarm sounds. It can also let you know if someone is in the car through a heartbeat detector.
The 2008 S80 replaces its traditionally boxy look with a new, smoother look that receives more positive feedback. Compared to last model year, the change that stands out the most perhaps is the change in the headlights, which are now lower and curving around the side of the vehicle and up. The Volvo diagonal label across the grille is now larger as well. Though the same length as previous modes, the 2008 S80 is given a wider stance. 17-inch wheels are standard and 18-inch wheels are optional.
The inside of the 2008 Volvo S80 has always been roomy, and this model actually increases leg room even further in the front and in the back. The S80’s control cluster is centrally located on a metal plate. Some of the available features include standard dual zone automatic climate control, an auxiliary input on the stereo for MP3 players and other devices, standard leather upholstery, standard moonroof, standard eight-way power seats, and an optional, upgraded Dolby Pro Logic surround-sound system.
Performance & Handling
One of the most significant improvements to the 2008 models is the addition of a powerful, 311-hp V-8. The S80 still has its base 235-hp, six-cylinder engine, but there is now a turbocharged six-cylinder, which can get up to 281 hp. All of the engines take premium gasoline only and run on a six-speed automatic transmission with Geartronic sequential shifting. The two larger engines come with all-wheel drive, while the 235-hp engine has front-wheel drive. Acceleration is quick, but still comfortable and smooth. The Volvo S80 handles very well all together, performing a bit above average within its class, with a more luxurious ride than most vehicles within its class.
With a reputation in safety as part of the brand image, Volvo offers more safety features to the 2008 S80. This year’s S80 has a full compliment of airbags, powerful anti-lock brakes, Volvo’s Whiplash Protection System, and the advanced-for-its-time PCC, or Personal Car Communicator, which communicates information about the car via a device similar to a pager.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volvo S80 3.2: 16/24 mpg city/highway
Volvo S80 T6, V8: 15/23 mpg city/highway
- AWD options
- Luxurious interior
- Transmission shifts smoothly
You Won't Like
- Trunk space
- Exterior is a little boring
Well suited for families looking for safety and original technologies integrated into their vehicle.
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