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Maserati GranCabrio Sport – het nieuwe speeltje

28/07/2011 – 15:45 | 2 Comments

Helemaal gestoord word je ervan. Ben je nog niet zo lang geleden verwend met een speeltje als de Maserati GranCabrio convertible, word je vervolgens hebberig gemaakt met de opvolger

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Volvo S80 - The Executive's Car Of Choice?

Submitted by on 05/05/2009 – 22:02No Comment

Let’s make no bones about this; Volvo are never likely to produce a vehicle that will set hearts fluttering with excitement and anticipation. It is laughably impossible to imagine a James Bond film in the not-too-distant future where Q introduces 007 to his new gadget-laden Volvo Diesel Estate. It is almost laughable to imagine a Volvo in any cinematic context other than possibly a dire independent Swedish film concerned primarily with the difficulties of livestock farming during Scandinavian winters. The Volvo range has never really appealed to me in a sensory manner; by which I mean I have never been able to picture myself getting excited by one, let alone sitting in one. If you find yourself parting with impressively large sums of money for a vehicle, you want it to enflame your ardour, set your pulse running and maybe even give you a shudder every time you start the engine. It never seemed possible for the Volvo to do this…until they let the Volvo S80 out of the bag.

The Volvo S80 is something quite contrary compared to what I was expecting when tasked with this article; I was expecting something dowdier, less elegant and considerably chunkier. What I was presented with was a lesson in automotive excellence.

The Volvo S80, when furnished with the full luxury specification, isn’t a cheap vehicle by any means. At slightly less than £40,000 if it wasn’t a Very good car it would have to have been carved from Mount Olympus by naked, voluptuous maidens, overseen by Zeus himself. As it stands, it is an extraordinary vehicle that on initial impressions seems to outshine the various competitor models; the Volkswagen Phaeton and the Honda Legend included. There is, however, one competitor that would probably have something to say about this Scandinavian upstart. I speak of the Jaguar XF.

A fully spec-ed Jaguar XF is around £15,000 more expensive than its Volvo counterpart, which is obviously going to push more people toward the S80, but Jaguars are infinitely cooler and more desirable than any Volvo ever created…and who can put a price on that? The basic model Jaguar XF is a few grand less than the fully spec-ed  S80 and I can’t help but think that because of the social kudos and Jaguar legacy, the buying public are going to gravitate towards the Jag.

The Volvo S80 does make a very good case for itself though. It has one of the most luxurious interiors I have ever had the pleasure of planting my bottom in and all the gadgets James Bond could ever want (barring missile launcher and ejector seat, naturally), including collision detectors, infra-red windscreen and an outstanding stereo system, which outperforms my rather expensive home set-up by a country mile.

The engines are slightly disappointing in comparison to others available in the similar price bracket…and when I say “slightly”, I mean devastatingly. The 2.0 Litre petrol engine does 0-60 in a toe-curlingly embarrassing 11 seconds, which is frankly unacceptable for a car of this price and potential customer demographic. This car is going to be used by executives who probably have important meetings to attend, deals to seal and the S80’s acceleration will probably hold them up exponentially. Realistically you would expect the 0-60 time to be more than half of what it is. When you finally achieve 60mph, things get better: the engine is smooth, quiet and feels pretty impressive (making it an excellent car choice for extended motorway driving). It’s just a massive disappointment that it takes what feels like a lifetime to get to a respectable speed.

In summary, the Volvo S80 feels and looks like an Executive’s Car, magnificently appointed with all the comfort and equipment to satiate any driver’s preferences. What it does lack is the engineering grunt to match the aesthetic promise.

 I like the Volvo S80, but I wanted to love it.

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