Having undergone a substantial makeover in 2004, the S80, Volvo’s top-of-the-line luxury sedan, receives only minor changes for 2005. They include new flat-blade windshield wipers, a water-repellent coating that’s standard on the exterior mirrors and optional on the side windows, a new 16-inch wheel design on the AWD model, standard fog lights on the AWD model, and a Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound System standard on both models. The naturally-aspirated, front-wheel-drive 2.9 model available in 2004 has been discontinued.

The S80 is available as the AWD, with a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine, five-speed automatic transmission and electronically-controlled all-wheel-drive, or as the T6, with a 2.9-litre inline-six turbocharged engine with four-speed Geartronic transmission and front-wheel-drive.

The AWD model includes traction control, four-wheel disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, power sunroof, halogen headlights, front and rear fog lights, headlight washers, leather upholstery, power driver and manual passenger adjust heated seats, driver position memory, fold-flat passenger seat, 60/40 split rear seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tilt and telescopic wheel with audio controls, electronic dual-zone climate control, power windows, cruise control, and six-CD Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound.

The T6 adds dynamic stability control, 17-inch alloy wheels, speed-sensitive steering, “dynamic” leather upholstery, power passenger seat, leather-wrapped handbrake lever, laminated water-repellent side glass, Homelink garage door opener, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Designed to compete with luxury marques such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the S80 holds its own, although its ride is a bit firmer than expected in a high-end vehicle. It’s also less expensive than the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The smaller engine, which is also available in front-wheel-drive in the U.S. market but is strictly AWD in Canada, provides sufficient smooth power if you don’t want to spend the $7,900 upgrade to the T6. But if you do, 268 horsepower makes for a very nice trek along the highway.

The S80 is built in Göteborg, Sweden.

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