But what we hadn’t seen was a proper R-Design in the flesh – and overnight at Detroit we’ve seen just that. Volvo brought a turbo T6 Petrol optioned with a rather radical – for the Swedish brand – matte blue hue that complements the blocky styling of Volvo’s full-size SUV.
Riding on 22-inch wheels and sporting large, chromed exhaust tips, huge intakes underneath the grille and a Polestar-style bodykit, the XC90 R-Design takes the aesthetic fight straight to the BMW X5 M50D and Audi Q7 S-Line. While the Volvo maintains the brand’s traditional upright design, it’s one of the best-looking trucks to emerge from Europe in the last few years.
Notably, the interior of the R-Design can be had with a number of performance-oriented trims: Nubuck and leather sports seats – similar to those in the S60 and V60 Polestar – complement a sports shifter, aluminium pedals, and a perforated leather steering wheel.
The XC90 launches in March in Australia from $89,950 list for a base diesel D5 Momentum, with the range stretching to the R-Design-only T8 Twin Engine hybrid, which lists for $122,950.