Regardless of the effort Volvo made to bring its S80 up to mark with the latest sedans, the fact remains that the car is strongly reminiscent of older-generation Volvos. Though the flagship sedan sports the latest high-tech safety and luxury features expected from a car of its class, the 2011 Volvo S80 falls short of the sophisticated character of most of its competitors and peers.
Still, anyone looking for a midsize luxury sedan that meets the basic requirements of such a vehicle might opt for the 2011 Volvo S80. Experts, however, recommend the T6 variant, as the 3.2 lacks the premium character expected of a car in this class. The former also generates a somewhat snappy turbocharged thrust and equips the car with enough power to swiftly cruise along, and for merging and passing.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.2-liter 240-hp V-6, 3.2-liter 230-hp V-6, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: Volvo S80 3.2, Volvo S80 T6 AWD
Volvo has dropped the V-8 AWD drive version of the S80 for 2011.
The 2011 S80 sports a curvier, sleeker exterior than the classic stereotype of the boxy Volvo. While still unmistakably a Volvo, the S80 has a sporty profile and is available with either 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels. (The 3.2 variant comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels.)
The T6 AWD comprises all the standard components of the basic T6 trim, but has a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, a sunroof (optional in the 3.2 variant), and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Dynamic package is only applicable in this variant, which equips the car with a sport-tuned suspension.
Of note about the 2011 Volvo S80 is that most of the available options are bundled in packages for both trims. The Climate package has heated rear and front seats, automatic wipers and headlight washers, and heated windshield-washer nozzles.
Standalone options include adaptive xenon headlights, rear/front parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, and keyless entry/ignition.
The interior of the S80 features the carmaker’s trademark ""floating panel"" center stack and a sleek control panel suspended between the dashboard and the center console. The styling of the car looks clean, albeit a bit dull compared to similar designs found in two other Volvo models, the XC60 and the S40. The controls of the 2011 Volvo S80 feel truly intuitive. The navigation system has a quirky interface that can be controlled with any of the two buttons and the joystick placed behind the steering wheel.
The front seats of the car are typical of Volvo and supportive enough. The cabin falls short of Volvo’s competitors, though there’s ample legroom for passengers at the back. The rear seat can be folded to increase the cargo capacity, which reaches a maximum of 14.9 cubic feet.
The 3.2 variant of the 2011 Volvo S80 comes with eight-way power front seats, driver memory function, leather upholstery, tilt-and-telescopic steering, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, a six-CD changer, a USB/iPod audio interface, an auxiliary audio input jack, and HD and satellite radio.
The Multimedia package comes with a DVD-based vehicle navigation system offering traffic updates, a 12-speaker Dynaudio surround-sound music system, and rear headphone controls and jacks.
The Technology package consists of a collision warning alert, adaptive cruise control, driver-fatigue alert, distance alert, and lane-departure warning.
The Inscription package has ventilated front seats, upgraded leather upholstery, and real-wood accents all across the cabin that also includes the gear selector and the steering.
Other standalone options for the 2011 Volvo S80 include rear-seat dual-screen DVD entertainment.
Performance & Handling
The 2011 Volvo S80 3.2 variant is a front-drive car that can generate 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque with the 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine.
The all-wheel-drive T6 version, on the other hand, uses a three-liter, six-cylinder engine that can produce 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque.
The 2011 Volvo S80 incorporates several modern safety features. These include front-seat airbags that have separate chambers for hip and chest protection, anti-lock disc brakes, and side-curtain airbags.
In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2011 Volvo S80 earns a top-ranked ""Good"" rating for side collision and frontal-offset protection. In the case of brake tests, the car stopped to zero from 60 mph in 118 feet. This marks an above-average performance for a car in its class.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volvo S80: 18/26 mpg city/highway
- Impressive array of safety features
- Comfortable ride quality and seating
- Stylish yet functional interior
- Well-equipped overall
You Won't Like
- Unimpressive base engine
- Awkward interface for navigation system
- Not the most memorable model to drive
More sensible than some other luxury sedans, however its underwhelming looks and less-than-memorable driving experience make it easy to overlook.
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