A sportier alternative no matter the engine

Having struggled for many years to compete with products from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Volvo has recently switched to a new strategy and came up with a new design language for its models. The results can be seen in the second-generation XC90 and the brand-new S90, which replaced the S80 in the lineup. The new sedan is gorgeous to look at, features never-before-seen luxury on the inside, and uses efficient yet powerful four-cylinder engines.

For the first time, the SUV also received the brand’s R-Design treatment, and Volvo plans to expand the package to other vehicles too. One of them is the new S90, which just got the sporty update in addition to the Polestar Performance Optimization upgrade earlier in 2016. The R-Design package for the S90 is essentially identical to the one seen on the XC90, consisting of a sportier exterior body kit and a handful of unique interior features, but no drivetrain upgrades.

Updated 06/22/2016: Volvo dropped the official details on the S90 R-Design - a version that offers updates to both the exterior and the interior, but comes with no changes under the hood.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volvo S90 R-Design.

  • 2017 Volvo S90 R-Design
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  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    50000 (Est.)
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What makes the Volvo S90 R-Design special

2017 Volvo S90 R-Design High Resolution Exterior
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Design-wise, the biggest change compared to the standard model is the front bumper. While the regular S90 has a wide lower grille that runs the entire width of the apron, the R-Design features a smaller opening that is slightly narrower than the main grille. Also, the standard intakes underneath the headlamps, which now integrate the LED foglamps, have been reshaped for improved air flow. These particular features are similar to those seen on the XC90 R-Design. Also, the front end features black trim instead of chrome, while the grille’s standard vertical slats have been replaced by horizontal bars.

The side panels remained unchanged, but the R-Design did get aluminum mirror caps and bespoke wheels in a five-spoke, two-tone design. Around back, it is identical to the standard model save for the "R" in the badge. All told, the S90 R-Design isn’t too aggressive compared to the standard model, but aimed at customers looking for a sportier appearance without a more powerful engine under the hood.

2017 Volvo S90 R-Design High Resolution Interior
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Not surprisingly, the cabin received similar upgrades to the XC90 R-Design. There are sporty contour seats wrapped in Nubuck and Nappa leather, perforated leather for the revised steering wheel and gear knob, and R-Design-branded tread plates, floor mats, and pedals. Another addition that should come with the package is the custom R-Design-themed display of the 12.3-inch infotainment system. Volvo also mentions "a high level interior illumination package that radiates attention to detail," but gives no additional details.

Unfortunately, the R-Design package doesn’t come with extra power and torque. The good news, however, is that you will be able to pick any of the drivetrains available with the standard S90. In the U.S., the sedan will most likely arrive with the T5 and T6 gasoline units, and the T8 hybrid. The U.S.-spec T8 will come with 410 horsepower on tap, while the T5 and T6 are rated at 254 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and 316 horses and 295 pound-feet, respectively.

2017 Volvo S90 R-Design High Resolution Exterior
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Customers in Europe will also have access to the D4 and D5 diesels. The former cranks out 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, while the latter produces 225 horses and 346 pound-feet of twist. Transmission choices for the S90 include a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic, and that’s not likely to change with the R-Design package.

Pricing for the S90 R-Design is not yet available, but expect it to cost a bit more than the standard model. The sedan retails from £32,555 in the U.K. and from $46,950 in the U.S.

Volvo S90

2017 Volvo S90 High Resolution Exterior
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Introduced in 2016 as a replacement for the S80, the S90 is Volvo’s new flagship sedan and competitor for the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Sporting a modern exterior that brings together a more imposing appearance and Volvo’s new design language, the sedan also features a more luxurious and state-of-the-art technology. Under the hood, the four-door comes with five drivetrain choices. The diesel lineup includes the D4 and D5 rated at 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and 225 horses and 346 pound-feet, respectively. Moving over to gasoline units, there’s the T5 with 254 horsepower and 258 pound-feet and the T6 with 316 horses and 295 pound-feet. Finally, the T8 hybrid, which pairs a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and supercharged four-banger and an 80-horsepower electric motor connected to the rear axle, is good for 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. All-electric range is rated at 25 miles.

Read our full review on the Volvo S90 here.

Spy Shots

January 21, 2016 - First testing session

2017 Volvo S90 R-Design Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Volvo S90 R-Design Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Volvo S90 R-Design Exterior Spyshots
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Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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Press Release

Volvo Cars has revealed performance-inspired R-Design models of the new S90 sedan and V90 estate.

Central to the S90 and V90 R-Design is an advanced sport chassis that delivers an energetic, road-hugging drive.

“R-Design delivers an edge to our elegant estate and sedan models in our 90 Series, with a winning combination of a sportier, more responsive drive with clearly visible performance styling,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President Marketing Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Cars.

Sporting a new front-end design with spoiler-integrated fog lights, the R-Design models come with a unique grille and piano black trim on both front and rear. A new 5-spoke matt black diamond-cut wheel adds to the performance feel.

A wide range of styling cues are included on the inside – from unique deco trim, pedals and mats, to the sporty contour seats and special steering wheel, including a high level interior illumination package that radiates attention to detail.

Order books are now open for the S90 and V90 R-Design models.

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Press release

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