Just when you thought Volvo was done with the long-term launch of its new XC90, it adds another model to the range. The top-end XC90 Excellence will debut at the Shanghai International Auto Show, and in addition to a list of impressive safety and economy claims, it will be the "most luxurious vehicle" the Swedish brand says it has ever built.
In its climb up the luxury ladder, the seven-seater XC90 has become a strict four-seater, as Volvo attempts to create extra space for the individual reclining seats that sit in place of the rear bench. After a stressful day of doing business, rear passengers in the XC90 Excellence are treated to massage and ventilation functions, and can control proceedings through a retracting touchscreen.
Continuing the questionable tradition of combining high-end luxury cars with alcohol, the XC90 Excellence is fitted with a special refrigerator that is designed to hold bottles and the special handmade Orrefors crystal glasses included in the purchase price – after all, what drive is complete without a glass of chilled champagne from a specially-designed Swedish glass?
Continuing the business jet theme, Volvo's flagship offers footrests for its passengers, although practical considerations like an illuminated storage area, extra sound deadening and a luggage-dividing screen are all touches that focus on the practical considerations necessary in a car.
Due to the focus on rear-seat passengers, the XC90's Bowers & Wilkins audio system adds an extra speaker to the 19-speaker system in standard cars for improved sound reproduction and surround-sound effect in the reclining rear-seats. In the quest for a unique luxury experience, Volvo has even tried to recreate the feeling of fresh outdoor air with its ionic air cleaner, that cuts down on airborne dust particles by positively charging them.
If owners don't fancy the chauffeur-driven backseat lifestyle, they can enjoy the Excellence's contrast-stitched leather instrument panel, and passers-by can tell the Excellence apart from standard XC90s by its Excellence badging, chrome highlights and the relaxed look from the rear-seat passenger as they're electronically massaged by the inbuilt Swedish masseuse.
The XC90 Excellence will be available globally later this year, when some markets will be able to purchase their cars via "digital commerce".