Good as they are, plug-in hybrids aren’t for anyone. Some don’t want/need the added powertrain complexity and prefer just a “straightforward” car. Perhaps some Volvo S90 prospects thought so, and they now have the option of the new Volvo S90 T5 Momentum. Volvo’s flagship sedan was previously available only as a T8 Twin Engine PHEV in Malaysia.

Of course, the biggest change is under the hood. The S90 T5 is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged Drive-E four-cylinder engine with 254 PS and 350 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,800 rpm. Paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission from Aisin, the front-wheel-drive big sedan is good for 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, and a top speed of 230 km/h. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 7.0 litres per 100 km.

It’s not just the powertrain that’s different. While the T8 is offered in the top Inscription trim level (Inscription Plus adds on Four-C adaptive dampers and rear air suspension), the T5 is in Momentum spec. If the S90 looks somewhat “sportier” here, it’s either because of the 19-inch ‘5-Triple Spoke’ rims (255/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres) and/or the deletion of most of the exterior chrome trim, which is generously applied on the luxury-themed Inscription.

No more chrome on the front grille slats (which are of a different design, too), the front side intakes and the bottom end of the doors. At the back, the T8 Inscription’s trapezoidal exhaust outlets and chrome bridge have been replaced with simple round exhaust tips here. Emblems aside, the daylight opening and radiator grille surround are the only remaining bits left in chrome.

The headlamps are still LED units with Active High Beam, Active Bending Lights, cleaners and the brand’s signature “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights. Without the PHEV hardware, the S90 T5 houses a larger fuel tank – 55 litres versus the T8’s 50. The 1,716 kg S90 T5 is also a fair bit lighter than the S90 T8, which tips the scales at over two tonnes.

Like the exterior, the T5 Momentum’s cabin is less ornate. Gone is the Orrefors crystal gear knob, replaced by a conventional leather-wrapped lever. The open-pore walnut wood trim and black Nappa leather upholstery gives way to “Iron Ore” aluminium inlays and black leather seats – the resulting ambience is dark and more business-like.

As usual, Volvo’s Sensus nine-inch portrait touchscreen dominates the dashboard, and there’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and twist-style engine start knob, but the roller control for drive mode selection (between the said knob and electronic parking brake switch) is gone.

Aside from the above-mentioned kit and differences, the entry-level S90 is still well-stocked with equipment. In the package are dual-zone climate control (with Clean Zone interior air quality system), Bluetooth with audio streaming, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, powered front seats (memory function including wing mirror position for driver), B-pillar rear air-con vents, reverse camera, integrated two-stage booster cushions for the kids (outer rear seats) and power folding rear headrests (outer rear seats).

Also in are a powered boot with hands-free operation and a 10-speaker 330W audio system, as found in the T8 Inscription. For the Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system with 19 speakers and a 12-channel 1,400W amp, one has to go for the top RM386,888 T8 Inscription Plus.

Clockwise from top: T5 dashboard, T8 centre console, T5 centre console

The list of safety and driver assist systems are similar to the T8. One gets seven airbags; Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert; City Safety with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection; Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist; and Run-off Road Mitigation with Road Edge Detection, among other features. There’s also Park Assist and the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system, which gives steering input to keep the car properly aligned within lane markings up to highway speeds of around 130 km/h.

The six exterior colours available are Crystal White, Mussel Blue. Luminous Sand, Onyx Black, Bright Silver and Maple Brown.

The locally-assembled Volvo S90 T5 Momentum is priced at RM338,888 on-the-road excluding insurance, which is RM30,000 less than what Volvo Car Malaysia charges for the S90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription. The factory warranty is for five years or 120,000 km, whichever comes first.

GALLERY: Volvo S90 T5 Momentum


GALLERY: Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription