Fit for a king, the XC90 Excellence is the most luxurious car that Volvo has ever built

Volvo has introduced the ultra-opulent 2016 XC90 Excellence ahead of its public debut at next week’s Shanghai Motor Show. Positioned at the very top of the automaker’s lineup, the XC90 Excellence is described as the most luxurious car that Volvo has ever built in its 88-year history.

It takes a well-trained eye to tell the Excellence apart from a standard XC90 in a parking lot. The posh model stands out from its more Plebeian sibling thanks to exceedingly minor updates including new eight-spoke alloy wheels, a sprinkling of chrome trim and a tiny model-specific emblem out back.

The story is different on the inside. For starters, the Excellence offers seating for just four occupants – three less than the regular XC90 – on individual seats, a tall partition separates the passenger compartment from the trunk. The rear seats have been pushed back by a few inches in order to offer more legroom without resorting to the costly and complicated solution of stretching the SUV’s wheelbase.

The passengers lucky enough to ride in the back are treated to heated, ventilated and massaging seats that recline at the push of a button, foot rests and airplane-style tray tables that can be neatly stowed away into the center console when not in use. Retractable tablet-like touch screens let the occupants enjoy entertainment on-the-go.

Thirsty? No problem, the XC90 Excellence comes with a small fridge integrated into the center console. There’s no need to stop at Ikea to buy glasses because the Excellence comes with a set of hand-made Orrefors crystal glasses.

Although Volvo has not published technical details, a “T8” emblem clearly visible in one of the pictures hints that the Excellence is powered by a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged, a disc-shaped electric motor shoehorned between the engine and the eight-speed automatic and a bigger electric motor mounted over the rear axle.

The three power sources join forces to send roughly 400 horsepower and 472 foot-pounds of torque to all four wheels. Engineers are still fine-tuning the system so performance and fuel economy figures are not available yet, but Volvo promises the SUV will be able to drive on electricity alone for about 20 miles.

The Volvo XC90 Excellence is scheduled to go on sale later this year. Volvo will outline which countries it will be sold in, how many examples it will build and how much each one will cost in the weeks leading up to the SUV’s on-sale date. Interestingly, buyers in a handful of markets will be given the opportunity to purchase the XC90 Excellence online.

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