Volvo S80 V8: Spotted

Supercars with saloon engines are nothing new; see the BMW-powered Morgans and Wiesmanns of this world or the KTM models with Audi engines. In most cases, the swaps have been from one performance model to another. But what about the most bizarre engine transplant (and donor car) of them all? The Noble M600 and its 4.4-litre V8, from a Volvo S80.

Take the badge off and noone will know...
Take the badge off and noone will know...
It's not exactly the same, what with the two turbos and being mounted differently, but both M600 and S80 share the basic B84444S design developed by Yamaha. It's been discontinued in the Volvo range but lives on in both the Noble and the dark depths of our classifieds.

Typing 'V8' into the keywords section under Volvo and getting a result creates a huge grin; such an incongruous combination couldn't fail to. It's very seldom that they do come up for sale and so it had to feature. There's an XC90 in currently too if a family SUV is required...

Unlike the V40 T5 we've just driven, the V8 S80 epitomises old-school Volvo style, with the overly large V8 badges the only giveaway to what lies under the bonnet. Debadged, this innocuous four-door must surely rival the BMW 550i as one of the ultimate covert swift saloons.

Although the S80 can't quite match the 550 on numbers (315hp plays 367 and 325lb ft loses out to 361lb ft) it arguably bests the BMW on Q-car appeal thanks to the Volvo image. And a six-second dash to 60mph would still look (and sound!) pretty hilarious in something so dour.

Normal (and appealing) Volvo cabin too
Normal (and appealing) Volvo cabin too
The rest of the dynamic ingredients appear far less appealing. The transversely-mounted V8 sits ahead of the front axle, the 4WD system is by Haldex and the transmission is a conventional six-speed auto. However, according to a contemporary Autocar drive, the S80 V8 wasn't 'a nose-heavy nightmare'. Predictably, it couldn't match the 5 Series or even the Jaguar S-Type but had 'a pleasingly coherent feel'. So there we go.

But that would be missing the point. As ever, motorways would be this Volvo's natural environment, passengers sat in great comfort and a V8 providing all the overtaking power required (nobody mention the diesel here).

And now this intriguing combination of Yamaha V8 power and Swedish luxury can be bought for £11,000 having covered just 32,000 miles in seven years. We're struggling for rational justification with a Volvo S80 V8 (and 23mpg definitely counts against it) but that doesn't prevent it from being a fascinating oddball nonetheless.

4,412cc V8
Power (hp): 315@5,950rpm
Torque (lb ft): 325@3,950rpm
MPG: 23
CO2: 293g/km
First registered: 2006
Recorded mileage: 32,000
Price new: £38,975
Yours for: £11,000

See the original advert here



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Comments (58) Join the discussion on the forum

  • va1o 14 Aug 2013

    Market was on the floor at the end of 2008 so not surprised they where so cheap back then! At the time all cars had to be priced low and anything remotely different or unpopular took a big hit.

    Back on topic I like the car but because its so rare and only of its kind currently for sale they can pretty much name their price if not in a hurry to sell. Someone will have it

  • Alex P 14 Aug 2013

    Sounds like the dealer and their customers benefitted from Volvo panic selling its stock; I bet none of them could believe their luck.

    Just goes to prove that buying stock at the right price is just as important as selling at the right price.

    After 8 years in the trade you build up a feel for what would sell quickly and what could stick around (and priced them accordingly when working or SIV values/underwrites) but there were always cars that would surprise either way.

  • Zwolf 14 Aug 2013

    Alex P said:
    Alternatively, selling five V8 saloons within just 2weeks at a time when panic selling out of large petrol engined cars was at its height, may well prove that at £16,995, they were rather under-priced...
    It was intended to be a quick opportunistic punt, not have them sit around for 90 days and have to go to trade again - where they could well have lost out, instead of taking in £25k net profit on just five deals. That at the time was about 20-30 normal deals and all the work that goes into it...

    It was *enough* profit. wink

  • disco666 14 Aug 2013

    Too many better cars of the same mileage/age for the same money.

  • Alex P 14 Aug 2013

    Alternatively, selling five V8 saloons within just 2weeks at a time when panic selling out of large petrol engined cars was at its height, may well prove that at £16,995, they were rather under-priced...

    I remember a Volvo technician at the time telling me about these cars being sold off really cheaply by Volvo UK.

    £11,000 may seem a lot for a 7 year old Volvo saloon, but when you consider it's low mileage, service record, level of specification, V8 engine, size, space, potential longevity and AWD then it does not seem too much to me. That does not mean it will be cheap to run, but if you do a low mileage then what does that matter?

    No doubt some would rather have something more sporting such as a M5 or AMG E-class, but this is more of an alternative to a powerful cruiser such as a 535i/545i, A6 4.2, E350/E500, Lexus GS or Jaguar XF 4.2. The later 5.5 litre E500, 550i and XF 5.0 are obviously more powerful and capable, but also newer and more expensive second hand.

    Yes there are modern diesels that offer similar pace and better economy, but none will be as silky smooth or have as pleasant a soundtrack as any of the above, and as they all get older and repairs stack up, I am not sure a complex modern diesel option will be any cheaper to run than an under-stressed chain cam V8 petrol, unless you do a big mileage.

    Edited by Alex P on Tuesday 13th August 15:40

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