A Volvo S80 about to embark on some laps of a race track? Fish out of water? Well this S80 High Performance Concept has evolved a bit. It’s got four-wheel drive, new sports suspension, racing brakes and 345bhp. It’s also the first model to come from tuner Heico Sportiv to be endorsed by the Volvo Car Corporation, so it stands a fair to middling chance of becoming a production reality too.
Much of Heico’s time was spent nurturing the relationship between a pre-production four-wheel-drive system and its own ECU, but, with help from Bilstein, the firm has also developed new suspension that enables the car to sit 40mm lower on its 255/30-shod 20in wheels.
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This has the desired effect of reducing roll in corners and further improving the car’s sure-footedness, but it still feels more like a quick saloon than a sporting one. In auto mode the gearbox doesn’t hold ratios long enough to exploit the increased torque, and the steering – an S80 weak point – is lifeless.
Heico was adamant that this car should maintain its ‘Volvo-ness’. It’s certainly achieved that. But in this concept a little too much so.