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The new Volvo S90 can be powered by air*

*Sort of. S90 and V90's trick anti-turbo lag tech revealed alongside prices

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We were simply going to tell you that Volvo has announced prices for its exceptionally handsome new exec saloon and wagon twins, the S90 and V90. Those prices, in case you’re rummaging around for your chequebooks and Bitcoins, start at £32,555 for the S90, with another £2,000 on top if you’d prefer the even sleeker V90 estate.

But we’ll come back to the numbers in a moment, because Volvo’s also announced some extra spec details on the engines you’ll be able to choose. And some of the tech is a little bit remarkable. It’s an air-powered engine. Well, kinda.

Before the share prices of the world’s oil companies tumble, we’ll quickly point out these Volvos do still need fuel. It’s all to do with what’s been done to kill turbo lag. See, the D5 four-cylinder turbodiesel engine is fitted with a tank of compressed air, dubbed ‘PowerPulse’.

Volvo says that this compressed air is deployed when the driver pins the throttle, spinning up the turbocharger quicker than exhaust gases do the job, and effectively eliminating turbo lag. It’s a similar idea to Audi’s lag-free SQ7, except without the bother of electrically motorising the turbines, while the compressed air tank is constantly refilled when the car is on the move. Sounds clever, no?

The ‘PowerPulse’ engine develops 232bhp and 354lb ft, costs £39,555 as a saloon and comes as standard with all-wheel drive. But it’s the less powerful - and front-driven - D4 version will take most sales, because it emits as little as 116g/km of CO2 and will do an official 64.2mpg. Merc’s new E220d is thriftier, offering up 72.4mpg and 102g/km claims, but it’s also £3,000 pricier than the Swede.

Enough numbers. Inside the log cabin-like cockpit, the nine-inch touchscreen (complete with its own cleaning cloth) from the XC90 is standard, as is much leather, heated seats and air-con designed to filter out pollution from the vehicle in front.

And as per Volvo’s ‘Vision2020’ promise to eradicate fatal accidents in its cars by the end of the decade, automatic pedestrian and animal detection, autonomous cruise control and robo-emergency braking are all crammed in as standard.

Tech aplenty, then. Is it enough to tear you out of the default Germans?

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