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Performance Specialists Since 1963

Volvo S90 (P5)

2017-2024 - P5 Platform

The global financial crisis in 2008 brought difficult times for the automotive industry, as cash-tight and credit-strapped customers bought dramatically fewer cars. Collapsing sales triggered a wave of bankruptcies, sales, and consolidations, with many old nameplates like Pontiac and Saab disappearing forever. Volvo, under Ford ownership, was seeing strong new product launches with its P1 compact and P3 mid- and full-size platforms, but even they saw sales shrink, becoming a liability for their corporate parent. In 2009, Ford thus sold Volvo to Geely Automotive, with the deal finalized and completed by 2010. 

By this time, Volvo had begun initial development of its next common car platform: "Scalable Product Architecture" or SPA. Designed for mid-to-full-size cars, this new platform (also sometimes called "P5") would be paired with new "Volvo Engine Architecture" VEA four cylinder engines, making all new Volvos constructed from the same building blocks.

With the specter of climate change and resource scarcity looming on the horizon, SPA and VEA were designed from the outset to support easy electrification. The "spine" of the car can mount a high capacity battery pack, and there's baked-in support for engine start-stop with an integrated starter/generator, hybrid and full electric drive, and plug-in, high voltage charging.

After the launch of the next generation of their bread-and-butter XC90 3-row crossover SUV, Volvo turned their attention to their large sedan, the S80, and large wagon, the V70. Building on the success of the new XC90, Volvo's revived the S90 and V90 nameplates in 2017 for their large sedan and wagon flagships. Like the XC90, these featured a host of advanced new technologies: Sensus touchscreen infotainment and navigation, "Thor's Hammer" headlights, automatic braking, self-driving features like lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control, BLIS blind spot monitoring, and hybrid electric drive on T8 models.

As with all SPA cars in the USA, the XC90 is exclusively powered by VEA (also sometimes badged "DRIVe", pronounced "drive eee") 2.0L inline four engines paired with Aisin-Warner TG-81 8-speed automatic transmissions, either in turbocharged "T5" or twin-charged (turbo- and supercharged) "T6" trims. From 2022, mild hybrid B5 and B6 models with a 48-volt electrical system and integrated starter/generator replace the T5 and T6 models, making all S90s from 2022 hybrids.

In the range-topping "T8", the twin-charged four cylinder is paired with hybrid electric drive to bring overall power output to over 400hp. Besides the brisk pace, this hybrid drive also serves as the S90's AWD system, with the electric motor on the rear axle taking the place of the T5 and T6's Haldex-derived AWD driveshaft and AOC to drive the rear wheels under heavy acceleration or when front wheel slip is detected.

As the S90 is Volvo's flagship sedan, it devotes a lot of attention to rear passenger space and comfort. Rear heated and ventilated seats are options, and from 2018 onwards the S90 in the US rides on a special long wheelbase, adding 4.5 inches of rear legroom compared to the SWB S90.

Despite the little 2-liter VEA engine being a "highly stressed" unit (producing as much as 360hp in some forms!), we've found the complete powertrain package of SPA cars like the XC90 to be pretty dependable in service, provided scheduled maintenance items like the timing belt are replaced at the proper interval and using the proper tools. Early SPA cars had some electrical and software gremlins with accessories and advanced systems like the self-driving technologies and infotainment, but newer cars and cars that have seen dealer service to iron out the kinks have matured nicely.

  • Second-generation S90
  • Large 4-door sedan based on the Volvo P5 (also called "SPA") platform
  • Sold in the USA from the 2017 model year to present
  • Available in the USA with 2.0L inline four "VEA" or "modular" engines
    • T5 models (turbocharged):
      • 2017-2021: B4204T23
    • T6 models ("twin-charged", turbo- and supercharged):
      • 2017-2021: B4204T27
    • T8 models (twin-charged plug-in hybrid):
      • 2017-2021: B4204T28
  • From 2022 and up, updated engines and new mild-hybrid models replace the prior T5, T6, and T8
    • B6 models (turbocharged, mild hybrid):
      • 2022-present: B420T
    • T8 models (turbocharged, plug-in hybrid)
      • B4204T57
  • Aisin-Warner TG-81 8-speed automatic transmission on all models
    • B6 models have a special TG-81 variant called the AWF8G55, with an integrated electric assist motor
  • Available AWD on all models, standard on B6, T6 and T8:
    • Haldex-derived AWD available on T5, B6, and T6 models
    • "Through the road hybrid" AWD on T8 models, with the electric motor driving the rear wheels and the gasoline engine driving the front wheels
  • Available R-Design, Inscription, and Momentum trim and appearance packages
  • T8 Recharge models are plug-in hybrids, able to charge the onboard hybrid battery via a charging socket and drive 20-40 miles on electric power alone

Model information is based on the USA vehicle market. Other model variations may exist outside the USA.

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