The driving dynamics and ride of the new Volvo S80 have been updated and improved by the introduction of two new chassis - the Lowered Dynamic Chassis and the Comfort Chassis.

Due for launch in the new Volvo S80 in summer 2009, the Lowered Dynamic Chassis will be offered as standard on the SE and SE Lux models with the opportunity to specify the Comfort Chassis as a no cost option. The Comfort Chassis will be the only chassis available on the Executive trim level.

The Lowered Dynamic Chassis has been developed to offer drivers enhanced sporting driving characteristics and more responsive handling, while the Comfort Chassis offers a compliant and un-interrupted smooth ride. The introduction of these new chassis gives customers the opportunity to tailor their S80 to suit their driving style – for inspired and enthusiastic driving or relaxed comfort.

"For some customers, the driving experience is most important, while others prioritise ride comfort," says Stefan Sällqvist, section manager for vehicle dynamics at Volvo Cars. "We analysed the different requirements and designed two alternative chassis with entirely different natures."

Lowered Dynamic Chassis gives a sporty profile In order to meet the demands of Volvo S80 customers who are more interested in driving dynamics, Volvo has made the Lowered Dynamic Chassis far more taut and rigid. The car has been lowered by 20 millimetres at the front and 15 millimetres at the rear. This results in a lower centre of gravity enhancing the driving characteristics as well as visually lowering the profile of the car.

In detail, the Lowered Dynamic Chassis benefits from shortened coil springs and higher spring rates, while the shock absorbers have been given greater damping ability on both compression and extension strokes. All the mountings on the sub-frame have harder bushings and the anti-roll bars have also been strengthened to give increased side stability in corners. All of these changes result in a more direct steering feel and increased control, particularly during dynamic driving. This is further aided by the steering gear which has been tailored to provide a quicker response, all adding up to more direct contact between the tyres and road surface.

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To provide additional stability, the Lowered Dynamic Chassis is fitted with automatic levelling to keep the car's body perfectly positioned with the road surface whatever the driving conditions, both when fully loaded and with only the driver on board.

"The new Lowered Dynamic Chassis provides the highest levels of sporting driving in a Volvo," says Stefan Sällqvist. "The car has a completely new character and it feels far more compact and agile on the road. For those interested solely in a smoother ride, we have the Comfort Chassis dedicated entirely to providing luxurious ride comfort."

Comfort Chassis offers a smooth ride In parallel with the development of the new Lowered Dynamic Chassis, the standard chassis has been re-engineered with the highest levels of comfort as its goal. It now offers an uncompromisingly comfort-orientated ride with softer springs and more subtle damping to deliver a ride comfort of complete luxury for all occupants.

The new Volvo S80 The new Volvo S80 executive saloon will be available in the UK this summer and has been given a plethora of small changes that all add up to a significant difference. The front features a new grille with a larger iron mark badge, which is part of the more extrovert DNA recently seen in the Volvo XC60. There is also new chrome detailing on the air intakes, lower part of the doors and under the tail lamps.

The interior of the car has a clear focus on exclusivity. The soft, cosseting leather seats with matching stitching are accompanied by door panels echoing the same trim. The super-slim floating centre stack is upgraded with a Silk Metal frame that enhances its luxury feel, while simultaneously creating a design link to the Volvo XC60.

Further details on specification and prices will be announced later in the year.