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2003 Volvo S80 Large Luxury Sedan

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Volvo's flagship series represents the largest sedans in the fleet and the most luxurious. All display a curvaceous skin that conceals sophisticated mechanical controls.

Also, these cars become mobile showcases for Volvo's advanced automotive safety systems. All contain six air bags, including vast side curtain-style air bags mounted in side headliners that inflate during a rollover to shield heads and torsos of riders in front and rear seats.

Another safety device guards against whiplash, as front seatbacks move rearward during a rear impact and reduce acceleration forces induced on a rider's back and neck. And optional Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), employing an on-board computer and various lateral plus linear motion sensors tied to anti-lock brakes, monitors the vehicle's forward progress and -- if dangerous oversteer or understeer skidding is detected -- acts automatically to correct the unstable maneuver without intervention from the driver.

For motivation, Volvo offers two impressive six-cylinder engine options. The S80 2.9 carries a naturally aspirated 2.9-liter aluminum six that makes 194 hp, while S80 T6 uses a light-pressure twin turbo 2.9-liter in-line-six with 268 hp.

Electronic automatic transmissions employ adaptive gear shift patterns that eliminate the need for separate economy and sport modes. For T6, a Geartronic add-on permits shift-it-yourself maneuvers by throwing the stick to the left through a gate, then pushing it forward to bump up a gear or pulling back to drop down one gear at a time.

The five-seat passenger compartment trimmed in leather adds power to control all movements of front seats, doors, windows and mirrors, which have interior heat elements.

New standard equipment includes Volvo's Rainsensor Wipers, with On-Call Plus telecommunications optional on S80 2.9 but stock for T6. Titanium Grey and Ruby Red are two new paint shades.