Volvo shows off new S90 ahead of Detroit auto show debut

Volvo is looking to punch its "entry ticket to the premium sedan club" with an all-new S90 that is "clearly intent on shaking up the premium sedan segment."

Set to make its global debut at the Detroit auto show in January, the S90 borrows many of its design cues from the 2016 XC90 that went on sale this year, right down to the headlights inspired by Thor's hammer.

According to Volvo, the range-topping S90 comes equipped with Pilot Assist, Volvo's new "advanced semi-autonomous drive" system that provides "gentle steering inputs to keep the car properly aligned" in highway lanes at speeds as fast as 130 km/h.

The S90 will be powered by a T8 twin engine plug-in hybrid setup that is likely similar to the one in the new XC90.

The combination makes a total of 403 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft. of torque in the sport utility.

"Our idea was to bring something entirely new to this rather conservative segment and deliver a visual expression that exudes leadership and confidence on the exterior," Volvo senior vice-president of design, Thomas Ingenlath, said in a statement. "On the inside we have taken the S90 to the next level, delivering a high-end luxury experience that promises comfort and control."

The S90 also introduces large animal detection to Volvo's City Safe system.

The system is activated when large animals like horses or moose are present on the roadway, night or day, offering an intuitive warning and "brake support" to help avoid a collision.

"The S90 has taken a big stride forwards in terms of driving dynamics, performance and ride," said Dr. Peter Mertens, senior vice-president of R&D at Volvo. "We have completely redesigned the Volvo driving experience from the ground up to deliver a sense of precision, engaging control and comfort."

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