Volvo focuses on discerning backseat executives
Volvo is on the comeback trail at the moment, propelled by an injection of cash from its new Chinese owners. The XC90 is an efficient, capable alternative to the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE, and the S90 is a uniquely Swedish take on the luxury midsize sedan. For some though, that unique take won't be quite luxurious enough, so Volvo has created the S90 Excellence.
The main touch making the S90 Excellence more, well, excellent than the regular S90 sedan is a revised version of the Lounge Console Concept shown off in Shanghai last year. Instead of fitting a passenger seat, which eats into precious rear-seat legroom, Volvo has slotted a multi-purpose footrest into the space next to the driver. As well as freeing up enough legroom to make first-class airline flyers jealous, it turns the rear seat into a multi-use space for picky passengers.
In workspace mode, passengers are able to use the fold-out table and pop-up screen to run their laptop. Swapping to entertainment mode puts video content on the screen, with audio streaming through the wireless Bowers & Wilkins headphones. When that's too much, the screen can be folded away in relaxation mode.
Along with its fancy Lounge Console, the S90 Excellence is fitted with a set of ultra-luxurious reclining massage seats in the back. There's even a drinks cooler and storage for crystal glasses, just in case the urge to drink champagne becomes overwhelming between the office and airport.
Although this car is aimed squarely at executive passengers, Volvo has still put some thought into the driving experience, too. Power comes from the brand's hybrid T8 powertrain, blending a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a rear wheel-mounted electric motor, and the front infotainment system is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The S90 Excellence also comes with Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous cruise-control system allowing drivers to hand control of the steering, acceleration and braking over to the car at up to 130 km/h (81 mph). Although it's similar to the semi-automous Tesla Autopilot driver assist system, Volvo goes out of its way to say it's still a hands-on-the-wheel proposition.