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.

Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.