In 2011, Volvo's premium sedan got completely redesigned from the ground up, with what Volvo says are nearly 700 changes over the 2010 model, making it even safer and more luxurious. The 2012 is pretty much the same as last year's model, with a few tweaks to equipment availability.
The S80 comes in three versions for 2012, starting with the front-wheel drive 3.2L inline 6-powered base model. Buyers can choose to step up to the 3.0L all-wheel-drive version, which features a turbocharged engine that makes 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Volvo's all-wheel drive system includes Instant Traction, which provides excellent grip on both wet and dry pavement. Both variations are available in Premier Plus and Premium trims, both new trims for 2012.
Whether it's front- or all-wheel-drive, all S80s come with a 6-speed "Geartronic" transmission which allows the driver to select fully automatic operation or shift manually on demand. Overall, the new model has a quieter cabin than before, and overall handling has been improved as well, with an optional Four-C suspension that allows smoother handing of bumps and less body roll on hard cornering.
Safety has always been a trademark of Volvo's cars, and the S80 is no different, with high-tech items like a unique collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active bi-xenon headlights, an available blindspot alert system and a body structure with four different grades of steel that was designed at the Volvo Safety Center. Add to that a host of airbags, including front and side curtain units, and the S80 is easily among the safest cars in its class.
With either engine, the S80 comes impressively equipped and includes heated power mirrors, satellite radio, 8-way power-adjustable seats, lots of leather and dual-zone climate control. For 2012, a new Premier Plus trim has been added that brings Keyless Drive, a system that allows 2-way communication so the driver can monitor the vehicle's status remotely as well as interior occupants with a heartbeat sensor. A HomeLink garage door opener is also included, as is front and rear park-assist. The Platinum trim adds on voice-controlled navigation and a rear-view camera.
Several packages are available, including a Dynamic Package on the T6 all-wheel drive that includes a sport-tuned chassis, firmer springs, modified shock settings, stiffer roll bars and subframe bushings, dual xenon headlights with Active Bending Lights and 18-inch "Fortuna" diamond-cut alloy wheels. Volvo Navigation, while standard on the Platinum model, is optional on other S80s, as well as a rear camera, Volvo's Personal Car Communicator system and Volvo's Blind Spot Information System. A new Inscription package includes special Sovereign Hide soft leather seats, a classic walnut steering wheel, ventilated front seats, walnut wood inlays on the dash and door panels, and special doorsill plates and floor mats.