Volvo's year-old flagship, the S80, gets major and minor upgrades for the 2008 model year, including a new turbo option for its in-line six-cylinder engine.

The base S80 3.2 adopts a few new traits this year. A new "Modern Wood" inlay replaces the "Classic Wood" inlay available last year. The gearshift knob's now completely covered in leather, and the Climate Package adds heated rear seats. Audiophiles will appreciate the Dynaudio Package, which adds a high-power sound system, rear-seat headphone jacks and audio controls to the stock car.

The newest S80 in the Volvo lineup will be a twin-turbocharged version. The new S80 T6 model will add "an extra dimension" to the Volvo range, Volvo VP Hans Wikman says. To wit, the T6's turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six engine will boost out 285 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Volvo says the engine will also get strong fuel economy. The new turbo engine - which shrinks slightly in displacement through a shorter stroke and a narrower cylinder - is teamed to Volvo's all-wheel-drive system. The system uses electronically controlled hydraulic clutch to split power front to back. Seventeen-inch wheels with 50-series tires and dual tailpipes round off the package.

The king of the hill, the S80 V8 AWD, returns with its 311-hp, 4.4-liter V-8 engine intact. New bright trim and Classic Wood inlays on the console complement new soft-leather seating. The Personal Car Communicator system with keyless drive and heartbeat sensor is standard; options include a Climate Package with heated rear seats, a Dynaudio Package with rear-seat audio controls, and a wooden steering wheel.

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Marty Padgett

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