Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Good day from Málaga, Spain, ladies and gentlemen. The weather was in tune for my task at hand and the culture of the country was expressive, unique and presented a tapestry of wonders to explore during the 4-day visit. I fell in love once again with the pure Mediterranean waters, the blue, enriching skies and, of course, the amenities of the ultra-impressive 2017 Volvo S90 Sedan. Volvo’s indomitable safety engineering has always been a given, but now the Scandinavians have elevated the vehicle’s design cues and re-mastered its luxury accoutrements to follow suit.
According to Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group, the company’s brand transformation plan is moving along swiftly and entails the production of new models that follow their “Relaxed Confidence” philosophy. Customers are their top priority and management has vowed to keep them safe behind the wheel, offer ecstatic driving performance and simultaneously present fluid designs that inspire.
Yes, the S90 is safe, full of grace and embedded with timeless technology for today’s human hyper pace. This is why Volvo had to develop heightened levels of infotainment and connectivity. To explore their design and tech philosophies deeper the team headed overseas for the first international test drives of each model. After a long flight from Washington Dulles I made it to Málaga where I was then escorted to the lovely Kempinski Hotel Bahía Estepona. Located in the province of Málaga, the area of Estepona is a popular tourist destination and coastal town in Western Costa del Sol. Magnificent beaches, pleasing marina, a multitude of golf courses, historical museums and very unique attractions set this locale apart from the rest of Spain. Without hesitation I changed clothes quickly and hit the sun for an enchanting 3-mile run before dinner at Casa del Rey. The veggie paella was absolutely superb. Known as one of the top restaurants and wine bars in the region, you can find the establishment close to the famed Plaza de las Flores in the old town of Estepona.
During my time with the S90 it made voluminous statements. The efficient 4-cylinder turbo and supercharged engine was expressive and feels more like a 6-cylinder, and provides a formative drive experience while autonomous driving puts you in the scene of a Stars Wars feature. Offered in two engines in the U.S. as the T5 FWD Turbocharged with 250-horsepower or the T6 AWD Turbo and Supercharged with 316-horsepower, both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Four models of choice are available with the S90 T5 Momentum ($46,950), S90 T5 Inscription ($50,450), S90 T6 Momentum ($52,950) and the S90 T6 Inscription ($56,250). Some may like the lighter feel of the FWD but if a vehicle is available with AWD I’m taking it for sure. Whether for inclement weather or sports performance I simply enjoy the thrills and ultimate traction of four wheels.
Consumers who purchase luxury transportation are just as invested into styling as performance so design is important to the Scandinavian culture and relevant to the business model. The S90’s presence is strong, fluid, dynamic, and looks bigger than it drives. There are nine hues to decipher between: two are solids and seven are metallic. The 20” 8-spoke alloys in Silver Diamond Cut go along nicely with the integrated dual exhausts tips and chrome-framed grille. Our Mussel Blue S90 mirrored the tones of the Mediterranean succinctly as we drove through places like Sotogrande en route to witness the Rock of Gibraltar and all its splendor.
After a full day of touring we were back at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía to prepare for the culinary creations of top Chef Jordi Bataller on the foot of the serene lawn overlooking the water. The hotel’s own garden produces year-long rations of organic veggies, fruits and herbs for the Kempinski’s four restaurants including La Brisa, Alminar and La Cabana del Mar Beach Club. The morning of day two I found myself at the Kempinski Fitness Club to energize before another long drive.
Since we spend a good amount of time commuting, Volvo focused intensely on the interior, aptly dubbed the Scandinavian Sanctuary. The goal was to establish serenity and calmness when alone but still deliver entertainment and connectivity values. 4G LTE WiFi allowed me to FaceTime with the kids back home since my cell service was off. The Sensus 9” digital display or center touchscreen looks, feels and operates like a tablet (uses infrared as opposed to capacitive touch) with four tile systems that highlight the most-used four apps such as Phone, Media, Navigation and Messages. Apps include Driver Performance, Spotify and Apple CarPlay to name a few.
The journey concluded in Málaga for a walking tour of the city and all its splendors including the Museo Picasso Málaga to experience some of Pablo’s 285 artwork documents. The painter was eccentric and loved fish eyes in his pieces. More importantly he never titled his works so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind “Volvo in Spain” for one of his works. It was a grand finale to an impressive media drive. Enjoy the gallery.