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

Available with all four available engines, the new R-Design models add a more dynamic level of appeal to the thus-far svelte and elegant S90 line-up. Fulfilling both visual and dynamic roles, R-Design models don’t only look sportier but also feature honed chassis dynamics for a more engaging drive.


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″ alloy wheels complete the sportier look as standard, with 20- and 21″ upgrades available for extra visual oomph.

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On the inside, charcoal sports-contoured seats finished in fine Nappa leather with Nubuck inners provide support and grip while maintaining Volvo’s legendary seat comfort, even in this sportier guise. A sports steering wheel with perforated leather inserts and an R-Design badge imparts the sportier feel even further, 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.

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The chassis has been uprated for sportier driving, Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) employing a tauter setup which has been optimised for enhanced dynamics as opposed to the comfort-oriented chassis seen in other S90 models. Thanks to the standard double wishbone and coil front suspension, and integral axle with transverse composite leaf spring at the rear, ride quality is not only supple but also composed and communicative, in keeping with the S90’s comfortable undertones but the more dynamic feel of the R-Design package. Air suspension is not available on R-Design models, in keeping with their more dynamic attitude.


Naturally, R-Design models retain the S90’s high, range-wide standard specifications. Standard equipment on all R-Design models includes ‘Thor’s Hammer’ full-LED automatic headlights with Active Bending and Active High Beam, LED front fog lights with cornering functionality, rear parking sensors, automatic ‘wet arm’ wipers, automatic windows all-round with laminated glass, a 12.3″ digital instrument cluster, 9″ Sensus Connect touch screen interface, automatic dual-zone climate control now featuring the CleanZone air quality system as standard, electric front seats with memory, a Drive Mode selector, Volvo’s 10-speaker high-end audio system with USB, Bluetooth and aux input, Internet connectivity with downloadable apps (external Wi-Fi network or mobile hotspot-dependent), and satellite navigation with free map updates for life.

As with the rest of the S90 range, as well as Volvo’s other 90-cluster cars, S90 R-Design models are all semi-autonomous as standard. Pilot Assist, an extension of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), is able to control acceleration, braking and steering up to 130 km/h, provided there are clear lane markings on both sides of the S90. Designed as an assistance system and not for fully-autonomous driving, the ‘driver-in-the-loop’ system requires the driver to maintain attention on the road and remain in control of driving the car at all times, but affords a new level of relaxation and serenity behind the wheel – ideal for highway commutes and traffic jams, but equally capable on inner-city roads.

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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), genuine 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 Auto), a 360-degree visual parking camera system and the now-famous 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system. Blind spot information (BLIS) and Cross Traffic Alert are available as optional equipment as well.

As with all Volvo models, optional equipment ‘packs’ have been created with added value in mind – a collection of optional equipment available in one package at a reduced price when compared to the same single options if ordered individually. For R-Design models, an exclusive option pack is available, which enhances the driving and comfort experience while retaining the value proposition so boldly exhibited by the entire S90 range against its competitors.


Naturally, all of Volvo’s available safety systems are fitted as standard to all models. Earlier in 2017, the Volvo S90, V90 and XC90 were named the three safest cars ever tested by Euro NCAP, and S90 R-Design models are not exceptions to the achievement. Standard safety equipment includes the likes of ABS, EBD, BAS, HAS and ESC, along with six airbags, ISOFIX and Volvo’s patented safety cage. City Safety and IntelliSafe supplement these now-obvious systems with Volvo’s unique and advanced take on safety.

City Safety, Volvo’s pioneering autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system, includes forward collision warning and full auto braking with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection as standard (day and night), while IntelliSafe adds more advanced system to the mix. These include Run-off-road Mitigation and Protection with impact-absorbing seats, auto braking at intersections for oncoming traffic, Lane Keeping Aid and Lane Departure Warning with Driver Alert Control, and active Road Sign Information.


Engines include two petrols and two diesels – all of which displace 2.0 litres, feature forced induction, are available with either front- or all-wheel drive, and are part of Volvo’s latest-generation Drive-E family. All engines are mated to the 8-speed Geartronic transmission.

The twin-turbo D4 diesel, with front-wheel drive, offers 140 kW and 400 Nm, with average fuel economy of just 4.4-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions of 116 g/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 maintains low fuel consumption of 4.8-litres per 100 km and 127 g/km on the CO2 front.

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 and 149 g/km) or the range-topping T6 AWD. This twin-charged petrol engine, which features a supercharger for low-down torque and a turbocharger when power is demanded higher in the rev range, produces 235 kW and 400 Nm – good for 0-100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds – while maintaining an achievable 7.2-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions of 165 g/km.


Pricing remains assertive, with value remaining a key factor across the S90 range. The new R-Design models offer a smart combination of sporty comfort, agile handling and a still-relaxing drive. All derivatives come as standard with Volvo’s five-year or 100 000 km full maintenance plan and warranty, Tracker Connect and laminated glass.

Volvo S90 T5 FWD R-Design Geartronic                    R718 300

Volvo S90 D4 FWD R-Design Geartronic                   R742 200

Volvo S90 D5 AWD R-Design Geartronic                   R822 900

Volvo S90 T6 AWD R-Design Geartronic                   R874 600


Coinciding with the launch of the S90 in South Africa at the end of January 2017, Volvo Versatility Finance was launched as an in-house finance product of Volvo Car Financial Services. The guaranteed future value scheme was constructed in order to make buying a new Volvo easier and with enhanced peace of mind.

Since the launch of Volvo Versatility Finance, Volvo Car South Africa has proudly offered best-in-class residual values across its entire range of cars, and the addition of R-Design models to the S90 range maintains this scenario. In July 2017, Volvo Versatility Finance was expanded to include 24- and 48-month options, in addition to the original 36-month option.

Further to this, fully comprehensive insurance on all S90 models is still available for just R999 per month, through Volvo Car Insurance.

In other Volvo related news, the Swedish company recently revealed that personalisation will be at the core of the colourful new Volvo XC40, Volvo Cars’ first-ever entry in the compact premium SUV segment and that it will build its first fully-electric car in China.

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