Volvo is targeting wealthy Chinese customers with its new S90 Excellence, a three-seat saloon that swaps its front passenger seat for an infotainment system and extra rear leg room. The S90 Excellence is based on the stretched underpinnings of the S90 L – a long-wheelbase S90 unveiled alongside it in Shanghai – and is 120mm longer than the regular car. It’s designed specifically to cater for the unique demands of wealthy Chinese customers, who often prefer to be driven rather than drive.
Along with the extra space, the Excellence gains a standard-fit panoramic roof, fold-out work tables and a heated and cooled cupholder.
The cabin also features the technological features of the regular S90, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. The driver is assisted by Volvo’s Large Animal Detection system, which can spot animals such as deer and cows and apply the brakes to mitigate any potential impact. Pilot Assist is included to enable semi-autonomous driving modes below 81mph.
The S90 models will be available with Volvo’s CleanZone air filtration system, which uses an ionic air cleaner in the air-con system to filter particles passing into the cabin. Powering the two new Chinese models – the S90 L and Excellence – is a choice of a 187bhp T4 or a 251bhp T5 petrol engine. Early next year a T8 petrol-electric hybrid option will join the ranks, with 401bhp and a 31-mile electric range. The Excellence is confirmed for China only.
Market demand could result in it being offered elsewhere but not in the UK. The launch came as Volvo confirmed that S90 production will move from Europe to China. Production of future 40 and 60-series models is also set to begin in China. Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson said: “With three plants – and the designation of one car line for each plant – Volvo creates an efficient production structure, ensuring future capacity for growth.”
Lars Danielsson, Volvo’s senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region, added: “We are leveraging our advantage of being one company [with owner Geely] instead of a joint venture. China is replacing the US to become the world’s biggest premium carmaker.” Volvo’s new Chinese sites will join its plants in Sweden and Belgium, which will make certain 90 and 60-series models. A new plant in South Carolina will eventually join the list and make the 60-series.