Since going under the control of China’s Geely, Volvo has been steadily making improvements. We already know all about the new XC90, but at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo showed off a super-luxurious version of the new SUV that it dubbed the XC90 Excellence. With its 2+2 seating and bottle chiller, this Swedish luxo-cruiser looks prepped to take on the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

From its debut in the 2003 model year through 2014, the XC90 remained nearly unchanged, as Volvo’s focus was mostly on making the model as safe as possible. For the 2016 model year, however, the SUV underwent a complete overhaul, making it more luxurious and dynamic than ever before.

Can this decked-out version of Volvo’s largest SUV really make it as a contender to the two stalwarts in the super-luxury segment?

Updated 03/25/2016: Volvo released pricing details for the XC90 Excellence when it debuted at the New York Auto Show. It will be produced in limited numbers, and will have a starting price of $104,900.

Continue reading my full review of the 2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence to find out.

For more information on the standard 2016 Volvo XC90, you can read our full review here.

  • 2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    472
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.9 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    100000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 626527

At first glance, this XC90 may seem like any old model. But there are a few key details setting the XC90 Excellence apart from its less luxurious siblings. The giveaways are the chrome caps on the B- and C-pillars, and the chrome moldings on the lower section of the doors. On the front portion of the moldings on the doors are “Excellence” logos.

Other than the chrome bits and the sound-deadening Pirelli tires, the exterior of the XC90 Excellence is identical to the rest of the XC90 lineup. Not at all a bad thing, as the XC90 is a stunning-looking SUV that uses a simple design with upscale elements, like the Thor’s Hammer LED running lights.

Interior

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence Interior
- image 626523

The cabin is where all the insane luxury really shows up in the XC90 Excellence. It starts with a 2+2 seating arrangement that gives each passenger his own personal space. Given that the standard XC90 seats seven, you can imagine how much room each passenger has. Each seat is wrapped in premium leather and has a massage feature, ventilation, and the ability to recline for optimum comfort.

Also included is a refrigerator to hold your expensive wine or champagne, and to store your special Swedish crystal glasses, which Volvo includes with this model, chilled.

The rear seats also offer the utmost in convenience, as each seat has its own folding tray table and touchscreen. Also included is a refrigerator to hold your expensive wine or champagne, and to store your special Swedish crystal glasses, which Volvo includes with this model, chilled. And don’t forget about the obligatory heated and cooled cup holders, footrests, ambient lighting, and illuminated storage area.

To help deliver that true luxury ambience, Volvo installed a luggage-compartment dividing screen and an ionic air cleaner, and increased the amount of sound-deadening material.

This ultra-premium cabin is rounded out with a Nubuck textile headliner and a modified 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo system with a surround effect for the rear passengers.

Needless to say, this is one decked-out Volvo that, on paper, rivals some of the best Mercedes and BMW have to offer.

Drivetrain

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence Exterior
- image 626529

Though Volvo doesn’t mention the drivetrain, in the images I can see that this is based on the T8 Twin-Engine model. This means that the XC90 Excellence makes use of a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 318 horsepower, and an electric motor. The combined output is 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, which results in a 5.9-second sprint to 62 mph.

In addition to being very quick, the XC90 Excellence will also be efficient. The T8 Twin-Engine drivetrain delivers 59 mpg-e and up to 25 miles of electric-only driving. I am sure that the Excellence model will be a good bit heavier than the standard XC90, so these ratings may fall slightly.

Prices

The XC90 Excellence goes on sale in the U.S. this summer and will be priced at $104,900 before options, taxes, and delivery. If you’re interested in buying one, keep a close eye on dealerships, because it will be produced in limited numbers and will probably sellout quickly.

Competition

BMW X5 Individual

2014 BMW X5 Exterior
- image 508507

BMW Individual may not make the X5 a 2+2 SUV, but it has a level of luxury that nearly rivals the Volvo XC90 Excellence. Individuals can take the already luxurious X5 and add in bespoke colors, Merino leather, super high-end wood trim, a special steering wheel, and more.

Read our full review here.

Bentley Bentayga

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Exterior
- image 621793

Comparing a Volvo to a Bentley; yeah, I know, it’s ridiculous. But this isn’t your normal old Volvo, and the Bentayga isn’t your typical Bentley. The Bentayga’s details are still a little unclear at this point, but there are rumors floating around. One such rumor is that it will carry a W-12 as its range-topping engine and an Audi-sourced 4.0-liter V-8 as its lower-level powerplant. There is also the possibility of a diesel engine. Of course, the Volvo should be at least $70,000 cheaper than the Bentley, which most estimates put at around $200,000.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence Interior
- image 626535

This SUV is straight out of left field. Who would have ever thought that Volvo would push the new XC90 to this level of luxury? I know I certainly didn’t. However, with Bentley slated to enter the SUV market and Rolls Royce reportedly doing the same, this is the perfect time to strike. To make things even better, this model should undercut the Bentley and the possible 2017 Roller SUVs by a significant amount, making it ideal for less well-off executives. The only question really left burning is whether it will be available in the U.S., or not.

  • Leave it
    • * Does anyone really want an uber-luxury Volvo?

Press Release

Volvo Cars will unveil the most luxurious vehicle ever built by the Swedish company in its 88 year history at the Shanghai International Automobile Show – an elegant and refined four-seat version of its recently launched XC90.

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence Interior
- image 626519

The XC90 Excellence has been crafted by Volvo’s designers and engineers to offer customers a distinct and individual automotive experience that incorporates the latest Scandinavian innovations in design, refinement, comfort and style.

The XC90 Excellence is based on Volvo’s all new XC90 sports utility vehicle, but the similarity ends there. The XC90 Excellence has just four seats compared to the original’s seven, creating an enormous amount of additional space for rear seat passengers that helps to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

This space is utilised to offer a First Class automotive experience that begins with broad, spacious individual reclining rear seats complete with massage, ventilation and increased leg room, as well as a retractable control touchscreen, folding tables, a refrigerator with bottle and glass holders, a heating/cooling cup holder and handmade crystal glasses from leading Swedish glass design company, Orrefors.

“This is our new flagship car,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design. “We have created the ultimate luxury experience of Scandinavian design. Volvo has never launched a car like this before. This is the car that demonstrates what the name Volvo now means.”

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence Interior
- image 626520

The XC90 Excellence offers its passengers footrests, ambient lighting, illuminated storage and unique leather detailing in blond or charcoal, a luggage compartment dividing screen, additional sound insulation in the cabin and Pirelli Noise Cancelling System tyres (PNCS).

XC90 Excellence passengers will also enjoy a specially-augmented Bowers & Wilkins audio system that adds an extra speaker to its 19 speaker system, resulting in unrivalled high fidelity sound reproduction and surround effect in the rear seats.

“What we have designed is amongst the best rear seat experiences available in a luxury car,” said Mr Ingenlath. “The result is a superlative environment for relaxed comfort or doing business.”

Reinforcing the Swedish love of fresh air, the XC90 Excellence also comes with an integrated ionic air cleaner in the CleanZone climate system. The ionic air cleaner works by positively charging electrons in airborne particles (dust or smoke for example) so they are removed from suspension in the cabin environment.

The XC90 Excellence also offers a leather instrument panel with contrasting thread, while the headliner of the cabin is colour coordinated pure Nubuck textile. Exterior styling differentiators including an Excellence rank mark, chrome B- and C-pillar cappings and lower door mouldings.

Volvo’s all new XC90, launched in August 2014, is proving to be extremely popular with customers seeking a luxury SUV. Over 24,000 have been ordered before it has even reached Volvo showrooms. This accounts for approximately half of Volvo’s expected volume for the car in 2015.

2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence Interior
- image 626521

The XC90 Excellence incorporates all the features that underpin the XC90’s ongoing success, such as world leading safety features, new powertrain technologies and an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency.

The XC90 Excellence will be available globally (not in the UK) later this year and via digital commerce in selected markets.

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