2017 Volvo V90 D5

Quick Review | Volvo V90 D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design

Yes, it’s a huge diesel estate on EngageSportMode. It’s also one of the best cars we’ve driven this year, and we’re not ashamed to admit it.

2017 Volvo V90 D5

When we recently wrote about Volvo’s new electrification strategy, we mentioned how we’d been somewhat seduced by an experience with their product range. This particular V90 is the one which lured us in, and we’re still pining for it now to be honest.

2017 Volvo V90 D5

But why? Well, the way it looks for a start. For a giant station wagon, the V90 is a genuinely beautiful thing. Volvo’s new corporate style certainly helps, with distinctive grille and headlights much of the appeal. R-Design specification adds a different front-end, with a unique bumper featuring integrated fog lights but, to be honest, the V90 actually works best in standard trim. The pointed estate rear is far more successful than the truncated S90 saloon, and also creates a distinctive side profile.

2017 Volvo V90 D5


Editorial | Volvo – fully switched on from 2019?

If you’ve read the news lately, you could be forgiven for thinking that Volvo has killed the combustion engine. No, not quite, but you can’t blame the company for blowing its own trumpet a little. 

Volvo T8 Twin Engine Range

Given the past year, and the risk of being labelled a traitor or enemy of the people, we’d wonder if any organisation would be truly happy about making the front cover of the Daily Mail. But that’s exactly what Volvo got on Thursday, along with sizeable coverage in the The Times and The Guardian. The reaction on social media was slightly more mixed, with many pointing out that the newspapers and other had massively misunderstood the announcement by Volvo. This wasn’t ‘pure electric cars only’ as a strategy, and manufacturers like Lexus already offer hybrids across their model range.

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

Perhaps there was a, justifiable, element of resentment from other brands, that Volvo has stolen so much of the headlines with this announcement. For a carmaker to be on the front page of multiple newspapers and not to have done something wrong – Volkswagen – is rather rare. But that is exactly what Volvo achieved yesterday. Granted many mainstream journalists got completely the wrong end of the stick, and believed Volvo would banish the internal combustion engine completely by 2019. However, we imagine Volvo’s PR department were still rather pleased with the coverage all the same.

Volvo S90 T8 Twin-Engine

The truth is virtually all major manufacturers are going to need to further embrace hybrid and electric vehicles, in order to meet the EU’s 2021 target of fleet CO2 emissions averaging no more than 95g/km. That’s quite a tall order, and therefore the more ultra-low and zero-emissions cars a manufacturer has, the lower their overall fleet CO2 average. This is why Volvo is not dispensing with internal combustion in 2019, but merely ensuring it becomes a smaller part of their model range and, where still offered, includes some form of hybrid system to further reduce CO2 outputs. (more…)

Volvo Polestar Racing V8 Supercar Engine – Video

A little while ago we brought you news that Volvo was set to enter the Australian V8 Supercar series for 2014, making use of the S60. Now Polestar Racing has unleashed a video showing off the unique noise of its beautifully crafted 5 litre V8 engine packing 650 bhp.

2014 Volvo Polestar

Volvo could have chosen the easy route and picked an engine supplied from the USA, as both Ford and Holden do, but instead decided to go their own route and have Polestar specifically develop one of their road car engines into a racer. Taking the 4.4 litre V8 usually found in the S80 saloon or XC90 SUV, Polestar have bored it out to 5.0 litres, added some lovely individual carbon fibre throttle bodies for each cylinder and swapped it from its usual transverse mounting to longitudinal. Oh, and more than doubled the horsepower; taking it from 311 bhp to a massive 650 bhp instead, with torque rising from 325 lb-ft to a thumping 487 lb-ft in the S60 racer.

With a 7,500 rpm rev limit, the Polestar V8 is also rather more rev hungry that the stock engine, but also has a rather special sound compared to others in the Aussie Supercar field. Most competition V8s run a 90-degree angle between the two banks of cylinders. Volvo’s unit is more compact, with a narrower 60-degree angle. The result is a noise more howling than the usual rumble, but still enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! If you don’t believe us, have a listen here. Make sure you turn the volume up first):


2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Photo Highlights

EngageSportMode couldn’t be at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show but, fortunately, it knows some people who are. So with the press days now out of the way, what are some of the highlights from the 2013 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung?

Below are some of the stand out new cars announced at this year’s show. Some are purely concept cars to set new directions and garner interest, whilst others are production ready. Click the photo for bigger images.


Could Volvo Return to the BTCC?

This week Volvo Australia announced it would be unleashing the S60 Polestar on the V8 Supercar series, in a tie up with the respected Garry Rodgers Motorsport team, to see them on the grid for 2014.

This is actually the Polestar S60 from the Swedish TTA series, but you get the idea.

This is actually the Polestar S60 from the Swedish TTA series, but you get the idea.

Volvo has a history of competing Down Under; the company won the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship using the 240T and later found victory at Bathurst with a Supertouring specification S40 in 1998. The V8 Supercar Championship is seemingly going from strength to strength with Volvo’s news meaning they will bring the total of manufacturers on the grid to five for next year.

But why does this mean a potential return for Volvo to the British Touring Car Championship? Well, the announcement of Volvo heading to the V8 Supercar Championship was noted by Volvo UK on Twitter with this:


So, EngageSportMode asked this slightly provocative question:


To which Volvo came back with this intriguingly worded message:


Interesting, eh? Granted it isn’t a fully fledged “yes we will be back in the BTCC next year” but, at the same time, it isn’t a “no, definitely not, stop asking these questions” answer. I think the use of “future projects” and “watch this space” all lean towards a suggestion we could see Sweden’s finest back on the grid in the UK. If it’s true, just remember you read it here first.

Thinking about it further, it’s fair to say the time is probably right for Volvo to take on the BTCC again. Recent Polestar concepts such as the 451 bhp C30 PCP and latterly the S60 clearly show that someone in Gothenberg has a performance mindset at the moment. Coupled with the success of the BTCC’s adoption of NGTC in making racing more affordable, myself and ESM’s BTCC correspondent would not be surprised if we saw some Swedish metal on track next season. Although whatever vehicle they use, it’d never be as cool as this:

So remember, if a Volvo materialises in the BTCC next year, were first with the news!

I Could Afford That / Classified Dreaming #5

It’s been a while since EngageSportMode browsed the adverts in search of possible used car bargains and beauties. Well, that’s a lie; ESM is always checking the classifieds, just in case, you know? Anyway, after that brief spell of good weather the other week, ICAT/CD’s attention has been turned towards convertibles this time. For some, bizarre, reason the UK remains once of the biggest drop-top markets in Europe. Perhaps it’s that classic British sense of optimism, or humour, that leads us to buy so many roofless roadsters? Either way, here is a selection of vehicles at both ends of the unlimited headroom scale.

I Could Afford That

2000 Toyota MR2 1.8 VVTi – £2,495