This week I have been driving a lot; airport picks and drops and running other errands mean I’ve put over a 1,000km on the odo. This has given me plenty to think about the S90.

First observation, this car literally has one of the most comfortable seats, not just in its class, but spanning every segment. They provide just the right amount of support on long drives. I do wish the driver’s seat had a little more side bolstering, but, nonetheless, you would be very happy in here if your job entails being on the road for extended periods of time.

The cabin too is finally beginning to look on a par with German offerings. It’s more exciting than the 5 Series’ and nudges Audi quality. There is an Ikea-esque minimalist modernity to everything. It’s a refreshing change from what the competition offers.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the S90 turns a lot of heads. I know, I never thought I would ever say this for a Volvo either, but thanks to the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlights it is a striking thing indeed. In profile it’s much more interesting than the aforementioned Bimmer.

Fuel economy, however, if you don’t drive like a pensioner, is not quite as good as I expected, with a figure of about 15 litres per 100km being the norm. You can obviously improve that number by resorting to the stop-start function, but as I pointed out last week, it still feels a little bit work-in-progress compared to the Teuton competition. I switch it off as soon as I step inside.

Overall though, it is a surprisingly sharp car and delivers pretty much everything you would expect from an executive saloon. Is it as good as the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class? Clearly not — that’s why the Merc won our Executive Car of the Year award — but it comes awfully close. Drop in the current discounted price of Dh200,000 into the mix and the S90 suddenly becomes a very attractive proposition.

Earlier a Volvo would never have been a genuine contender to the mighty 5 Series or the E-Class. This one definitely is, and some.

 

The progress:

week 1
The S90 arrives at the wheels HQ during the thick end of Car of the Year testing and despite some superb metal around it impresses everyone. It’s well-priced too at just Dh200,000.

Highs: Comfortable and very, very refined

Lows: Autonomous driving mode is rather basic

week 2
Chinks begin to appear in the S90’s tech armour. The stop-start system is decidedly rough, while the auto-hold function for the parking brake isn’t the most sophisticated either. The 2.0-litre engine, however, is superb and there’s nothing wrong with 320bhp.

Highs: Great engine, brisk acceleration

Lows: Stop-start system and auto-hold