For those of you shopping around for a car within the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class range, you might want to know that Volvo Car Malaysia is expected launch the all-new S90 very soon.
Images of a black test car wearing Swedish registration plates (JPJ trade plates are visible on the parcel shelf) have been making their rounds on the Internet.
The all-new S90 will take over from the discontinued S80. It is built on Volvo’s latest Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and will be powered by a new range of Volvo-developed Drive-E engines (previous Volvo engines were shared with Ford).
While Volvos have in the past not seen as a credible alternative to the established German trio of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the recent shakeup in Malaysia competitive landscape due to the excise duty exemptions for locally-assembled hybrids/plug-in hybrids have allowed Volvo to leapfrog ahead.
The strong response to the all-new Volvo XC90 T8, and how nearly it decimated the Audi Q7 and giving a good run to the BMW X5 xDrive40e is a good indicator that after many years of being in the sidelines, Volvo is now back in the game.
Like the all-new XC90, the S90 is expected to be assembled locally at the Swedish Motor Assemblies plant in Shah Alam.
Prices have not been confirmed yet, but it should be – and the operative word here is ‘should’ - cheaper than the locally-assembled seven-seater XC90 T8’s RM403,888 price (excluding insurance).
Currently S90 T8 has yet to be launched even in Volvo’s home market in Sweden, so it’s difficult to even give an indicative pricing. Only the T5 and T6 petrol, and the D4 and D5 diesel engines are available at the moment. Due to the nature of our auto industry policy, it would we be more expensive for Volvo to introduce a regular T5 and T6 engine-powered S90 than the duty exempted T8 plug-in hybrid.
How it compares against the F10 Generation 5 Series and W213 E-Class?
At 4,963 mm long, the S90 is a huge car. The Volvo is actually 40 mm longer than the E-Class, 56 mm longer than the 5 Series.
Its 2,941 mm wheelbase puts it between the E-Class’s 2,939 mm and the 5 Series’s 2,968 mm.
The list of features available in the Malaysian market S90 have yet to be made official so it’s not possible to compare it against the German offerings yet, but globally, the S90 is available with the optional Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving feature.
It works quite similar to the Drive Pilot feature in the E-Class, but unlike the system used by Daimler, Volvo’s solution does not require the S90 to follow another car in front. The system is able to independently control the throttle and provide gentle steering inputs to keep the car properly aligned within lane markings up to highway speeds of around 130 km/h. For legal reasons, the driver still needs to keep his/her hands on the steering wheel for the function to work.
When will it be launched in Malaysia?
Volvo Car Malaysia is understandably mum on the S90’s launch timing, but we think it’s prudent to expect the S90 to make its local debut sometime between late-2016 and early-2017.
Our friends at Evo Malaysia were privileged enough to be given the opportunity to sample a pre-production version of the S90.
Evo’s review singed out the S90 for having the best interior in the segment, as well as the best four cylinder engines. However they also noted that the car would benefit from having a pair of paddle shifters.
Read the full review at EvoMalaysia.com.