“Turn the AC up back here, we’re boiling!” Now, usually I’d allow my rear-seat passengers some nice cold air during these ever-increasing climes but sorry chaps, you’re not going to get any while I’m wheeling the S90 and here’s why.
For a car that positions itself as a 5 Series and E-Class rival, it’s compromised in a couple of areas — one of them being the AC. No, it doesn’t blow warm air into your face, on the contrary, it does a fabulous job in cooling the cabin down, but blimey it doesn’t half scream about it.
The fans up front make such a loud noise but what’s worse is that some of the vents for rear-seat passengers have been placed on the B-pillar. Now, where is the B-pillar? Yes. Right next to the driver’s head, and they make an even bigger racket. This car is supposed to be refined and offer a relaxing environment but the ergonomically designed interior replete with lots of neat chrome trim, supple leather seats and top-notch fit and finish is let down by the roaring AC.
One way to counter that is to turn up the volume on the Bowers & Wilkins audio system. I did this, momentarily, and the cabin’s ambience was smashed to smithereens.
So, no cold air for anyone but me. Another gripe is with the lane keeping assist; it seems to work when it wants to. It’s supposed to send a little vibration in the steering wheel when it detects that you are drifting out of your lane and if you fail to take control of the situation it’ll take matters into its own hands and steer itself back in, but there are times when it does nothing at all. Could it be because the road markings aren’t clear and the radars and cameras can’t detect the lane? Perhaps. So, I tried it out on a freshly painted road with the markings as clear as day and still no cigar. Sometimes the system worked, other times it didn’t. Strange.
Nothing strange about the 2.0-litre four-pot that’s boosted by a turbo and supercharger to make a healthy 320bhp and 400Nm of torque. It’s a potent and creamy smooth unit that’s mated to a slick eight-speed powering all four wheels and it makes the S90 a real pleasure to blast around in, especially in Dynamic mode. It’s hot stuff. Literally, for those seated in the second row...
It is one of those rare times where I actually agree with group motoring editor Amit; the S90 is a fantastic looking car. Despite the flashy “Thor’s Hammer” headlights up front, it manages to look restrained, elegant and most of all, classy.
Highs: Sophisticated looks, doors close with a reassuring ‘thunk’
Lows: Some of the materials in the cabin aren’t as top-notch as the new BMW 5 Series
Fuel economy isn’t the greatest. Even if you drive in a reasonably placid manner you would be lucky to see low tens.
Highs: Strikes a fine balance between comfort and performance
Lows: Infotainment system is fiddly