Pictures: Volvo South Africa.
Pictures: Volvo South Africa.

Johannesburg - The Volvo S90, which made its debut in South Africa in January 2017, is now available in more athletic R-Design guise.

Available in four engine derivatives, the new R-Design models are honed with some visual venom and sportier suspension. 

Visually, R-Design models are distinguishable by a deeper front bumper with aggressive air dams and a glossy new R-Design radiator grille with satin chrome accenting. The flanks are enhanced by a satin chrome glasshouse surround and distinctive matt-silver mirror caps. At the rear, the rhomboid tail pipes are embedded into a sportier bumper with a colour-coded diffuser plate. Striking 19-inch alloy wheels complete the sportier look as standard, with 20- and 21-inch upgrades available for extra visual oomph.

Accessories are available to add further sportiness, including side sills, a subtle chin spoiler for the front bumper, a boot spoiler and split-integrated tail pipes.

On the inside, charcoal sports-contoured seats finished in fine Nappa leather with Nubuck inners provide support and grip. A sports steering wheel with perforated leather inserts and an R-Design badge further revs up the interior's athleticism, accented by the perforated leather gear lever and accentuated contrast stitching. Aluminium sports pedals and gearshift paddles feature as standard as well, alongside unique floor mats and illuminated "R-Design" door sills.

R-Design models are available in nine exterior colours, with the dynamic Bursting Blue and striking Passion Red being available exclusively to these more athletic derivatives.

The chassis has been uprated for sportier driving, with tauter springs than the comfort-oriented chassis seen in regular S90 models. Air suspension is not available on R-Design models, in keeping with their more dynamic vibe.

Equipment and safety

R-Design models retain the S90's generous list of features including 'Thor's Hammer' full-LED automatic headlights with Active Bending and Active High Beam, LED front fog lights with cornering functionality, rear parking sensors, and automatic 'wet arm' wipers. Inside, the occupants are pampered with items like a 31cm digital instrument cluster, 23cm Sensus Connect touch screen interface, automatic dual-zone climate control, electric front seats with memory, 10-speaker high-end audio system, and satellite navigation with free map updates for life.

As with the rest of the S90 range, the R-Design models get standard semi-autonomous driving features including Pilot Assist, an extension of Adaptive Cruise Control which is able to control acceleration, braking and steering up to 130 km/h, provided there are clear lane markings on both sides. 

All of Volvo's available safety systems are fitted as standard to all S90 models, including ABS brakes, stability control, six airbags, City Safey (Volvo's autonomous emergency braking system) and IntelliSafe (which includes a Lane Keeping Aid and Lane Departure Warning). Earlier this year the Volvo S90, V90 and XC90 were named the three safest cars yet tested by Euro NCAP. 


Optional equipment is shared with other S90 derivatives, with highlights including heated seats, a powered tailgate with hands-free access, electric-folding rear seats and head rests, rear window sun blinds, a tailored dashboard, 4-zone automatic climate control, a graphical head-up display (HUD),  carbon fibre interior décor panels, the Park Assist Pilot for semi-autonomous parallel and perpendicular parking with a Park Out function, smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto1), a 360-degree visual parking camera system and 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system. Blind spot information (BLIS) and Cross Traffic Alert are available as optional equipment as well.


Engines include two petrols and two diesels - all of which displace 2.0 litres, feature forced induction, and are available with either front- or all-wheel drive. All engines are mated to the 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.

The twin-turbo D4 diesel, with front-wheel drive, offers 140 kW and 400 Nm, with claimed fuel economy of just 4.4 litres per 100 km. The twin-turbo D5, with all-wheel drive and PowerPulse technology to effectively mitigate turbo lag, pushes out 173 kW and 480 Nm, but sips fuel at the rate of 4.8 litres per 100 km.

Petrol power is provided by either the high-pressure, single-turbo T5 with front-wheel drive (187 kW and 350 Nm; 6.5-litres per 100 km) or the range-topping T6 AWD. This twin-charged petrol engine, which features a supercharger and a turbocharger, produces 235 kW and 400 Nm - good for 0-100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds - while maintaining a claimed 7.2 litres per 100 km.


T5 FWD R-Design Geartronic    R718 300
D4 FWD R-Design Geartronic    R742 200
D5 AWD R-Design Geartronic R822 900
T6 AWD R-Design Geartronic R874 600

All derivatives come with Volvo's five-year or 100 000km full maintenance plan and warranty, Tracker Connect and laminated glass.

IOL Motoring

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