Business Class
Richard Augustin 
A sleek design that sets it apart from the other Volvo cars

The whole Cinderella comeback story accompanying almost every Volvo car story these days is getting a little tired. Yes, its Chinese owners have done wonders. The new design language has worked like a charm. Mechanically, Volvo is giving its European rivals a real run for their money.

After all is said and done, what you are left looking at is still a Volvo, which is why despite all the positive attributes, most drivers still look to Germany for their automotive needs. While that notion may be slowly changing, there is still a lot of persuasion on the part of Volvo.

The efforts have been commendable, especially with enticing new models that continue to nibble, if not devour, at the market share of their European rivals. This brings us to Volvo’s latest certifiable contenders, the S90 T6 R-Design.


Looks that thrill

With bold, muscular lines, the S90 T6 R-Design looks like it means business. Although the design of the executive sedan screams more track than boardroom, there is no denying that this Swedish ride is quite striking. Sporting its signature grille with Thor-hammer headlights, dual exhausts, the striking Bursting Blue coat and sleek 19-inch R-Design alloys, the S90 T6 R-Design looks the part of a track-ready saloon. This Volvo will draw stares just by how different it is in the looks department.


Ready to run

Unlike its sibling, the T8, the S90 T6 R-Design sports a simpler powertrain. Although the T8 boasts a more efficient and powerful hybrid set-up, the T6’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine still packs a hefty punch.

Paired with an eight-speed automatic, the power plant delivers 320 hp and 400 Nm through all four wheels, which is more than enough for a riveting drive. Although it sports a heavy set-up, the T6, with its tuned AWD suspension, is light, nimble and raring to go. This is a car that can be driven hard but it is also tame enough to cruise around at pedestrian speed.


The seats are covered in nappa and nubuck leather

Executive class interior

The S90 T6 R-Design’s interior is both clean and minimalistic with car controls all fitted into the 9-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen display. It is both functional and effective, and more importantly, eliminates clutter within the cabin space. The instrument cluster is also fully digitised with three pre-set themes although frankly, an analogue set-up would have sufficed in this department.

The centre console is where most of the drive dynamic functions are housed. A turn of a knob is all it takes to change the characteristics of the car to what it driver wants and needs.

With this T6 sporting an R-Design badge, there are subtle hints in the cabin such as the carbon fibre trims as well as the nappa and nubuck leather seats that suggest this is a different breed of Volvo.


A good proposition

Priced within the RM450k bracket, the S90 T6 R-Design isn’t exactly cheap, especially when considering the fact that the S90 T8 Twin Engine is sporting a price tag that is about RM85k cheaper.

The safety list, though impressive, reads the same too, with several IntelliSafe features such as Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and City Safety autonomous emergency braking. Except for the R-Design badge, everything about the S90 is standard at least from an aesthetic standpoint.

The higher price point is largely attributed to new design and the way that it drives. Which is why it is ironic that its closest competition comes from the same brand. If it is not a German marquee, which is the most straightforward choice to most, then most drivers would steal glances at the S90 T6 R-Design before opting for the S90 T8, which is actually a smart move.

But if you are an enthusiast who wants a more engaging driving experience, then perhaps that little extra money is worth the expenditure in the long run. Ultimately the S90 T6 R-Design is for the diehard Volvo fan who wants something with a little more bite sitting in their driveway. 



Engine: Inline 4, Supercharged, Turbocharged, Direct Injection Petrol
Capacity: 1969cc
Gearbox: 8-speed Automatic
Drivetrain: AWD
Max power: 320 bhp @ 5700 rpm
Max torque: 4000 Nm @ 2200 Nm
Fuel consumption: 7.2 L/100 km (claimed)
Top speed: 250km/h
0-100 km/h: 5.9 secs
Price: RM453,888 (OTR without insurance)

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 265.