2017 Porsche Roadshow (With Video)

Go Flat Out has been fortunate to be invited to the 2017 Porsche Roadshow at Bonifacio Global City. In the event are different Porsches, ranging from the 718 Boxster, Cayman GTS, Macan GTS, Panamera, Cayenne Diesel, 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet, and 911 Turbo S. Watch the video below to see the rest of the event.

For more Porsche queries, you may contact Raffy De Leon by calling (+632) 727-0381 to 85

Karting At CityKart Makati (With Video)

As a way to end this year, we decided to try something new, sort of. While this isn’t our first time to try go karting, this was the first time for us to try karting at CityKart Makati, and we checked what’s up and what sets this apart from Enchanted Kingdom’s go kart offering.

First off, there are different tiers to choose from. There’s a beginner, intermediate, and a professional tier. People from a wide variety of ages can try go karting, even kids. As confident as we think we are with our “skills”, we confidently tried the professional tier.

The professional tier gets you the most powerful and grippiest go kart offering. Since it’s been a very long time since I went karting, I first familiarized myself with how a go kart handles, and how much of its handling can I fully extract.

As it turns out, go karts are extremely grippy. At first, I thought I needed to brake in the first set 90 degree corners of CityKart’s race track, but as I was soon able to familiarize myself with the kart’s capabilities, I didn’t need to. The go karts have unrealistically capable grip levels, it fools me of thinking that I need to brake into those corners, but all I have to do was clip the apex and just lift off the gas. Impressive stuff. We really never knew go karts could be this capable.

As James Tagle (aka Stiggy as he named himself in this session) had better skills than me in the track from day 1, I already knew I wouldn’t beat him to it. Unfortunately for him, he had wasted 2 laps due to his unfortunate experiences with a go kart he was driving. Here are the lap times we achieved in the 3 rounds we took to the track.

Round 1

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Round 2

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Round 3

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CityKart Makati is also a pretty good place to hang for petrolheads. There’s a restaurant and a bar inside, and is a perfect venue for a petrolhead’s birthday celebration, as the venue can be rented for such events.

Interested? You can register via an iOS or Android App by CityKart Makati, and if you log in via Facebook, you are able to keep your profile and save your records in your associated Facebook account. CityKart Makati is open every day, 3 pm to 11 pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and 11 am to 11 pm on Fridays to Sundays. Happy Karting, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year guys!

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Video

(Go Flat Out REVIEW) 2016 Honda Civic 1.8 E: Sweet Yet Guilt Free

*Note: The black grille is an aftermarket accessory. The 1.8 E comes standard with a chrome grille.

Don’t you just love desserts? I particularly like matcha, but what does matcha have to do with the all-new Honda Civic. If you are an impatient chap, you could simply scroll down and just see why, but no one simply watches Rogue One straight to the end just to find out what happens to Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, right? Anyway, the automobile was designed in the late 1800s for one thing only, and that is, to transport us from A to B faster than horses could. Nothing more, nothing less. If we considers cars as merely a method of transportation, our world will be very boring indeed both to car enthusiasts and to other people, and that is a lesson that Honda has learned in designing the all-new Honda Civic. As an owner of the 9th generation (FB) Civic, I can clearly tell the difference between driving my Civic and this all-new, 10th (FC) generation Civic, and what changes Honda has made.The Honda Civic has always fulfilled a sort of jack-of-all-trades role. Sporty, but not impractical for family or daily use, yet is also reliable enough to merit it as a staple car in our world, but when Honda developed the FB (9th generation) Civic, they were on a confused track under Takanobu Ito’s leadership. The FB Civic generation, while it still had a little fun dialed in, it was a greatly less fun car than its predecessors, while being more sensible and practical, following the philosophy of fulfilling its role as daily transportation. With the Mazda 3 knocking out the Civic in every possible way, Honda needs to step up its A-game and bring back the Civic’s role as merely another mode of transportation.

Exterior

And its transformation starts in its all-new exterior design. My Civic could actually be mistaken for the 8th generation Civic, and in Honda’s pursuit of addressing that, they created an all-new, clean sheet design, and it really has paid off. This all-new Civic is the best looking it has ever been. Even this base (if you could call it that) 1.8 E is blessed with upmarket features such as full-LED headlamps, LED tail lights, 16-inch two tone alloy wheels, and a body that looks more European than Japanese. Most of the world’s greatest looking cars have one thing in common, long hoods. This design makes a car evoke power and authority, especially from the side where it looks even nicer, and seems to carry that “rear wheel drive” look. It’s a formula that no other car company than Mazda has pulled off nicely, winning design awards in the process. The Civic’s wheel arches that flare from the A-pillar to the headlights add depth to its fascia, while a sloping coupe-like roofline elegantly flows to the back, and yet despite the Civic’s beautiful silhouette, it still manages to create enough space for 3 adults in the back. At night, the tail lights look nothing short of spectacular, with all my friends staring in awe at the C-shaped LED tail lights. The black grille piece up front is an aftermarket accessory, and it somehow provides a nice contrast to the White Orchid Peal finish rather the standard large slab of chrome.

Interior

Whereas the exterior has flowing lines and taut curves, the interior is more angular and more conventional than its predecessor. Gone is the two-tier instrument cluster, now replaced by a more traditional arrangement, but that’s where the traditional look ends. Housed inside the instrument binnacle is a full-color TFT LCD instrument cluster that is reminiscent of starting up the Enterprise from Star Trek. It’s a great ceremony of welcome animations, gauges, and dials coming into place ready to relay all the information you need as you drive. Commanding the Civic is a great experience, because all the materials feel great and have a hefty feeling. My slight complaints are the cheap materials found in the lower parts of the cabin, but other than that, there’s plenty of space, and thanks to the electronic parking brake freeing up space in the center console, there’s a ginormous center console bin, which large enough to store a 12-inch iPad Pro.

Space and Practicality

The all-new Civic not only manages to be better looking than its predecessor, but it also manages to be very practical as well. Aside from the aforementioned ginormous center console bin, the glove box, door bins, and trunk are all large for this class of vehicle. Despite the Civic’s sloping roofline, the rear seats still have enough space for 3 adults. There’s generous amounts of leg, head, and shoulder room for everyone to move around despite the center tunnel. If you need to carry longer items, 60:40 split folding rear seats come as standard.

Features

This 1.8 E Honda Civic, despite being the base of the range, should prove to be the pick of most people. Not a lot of features separate the 1.8 E from the 1.5 RS Turbo, and it starts with the aforementioned automatic LED head and tail lights with LED daytime running lights, rain sensing wipers, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reverse camera, electronic parking brake with brake hold function, and a host of other safety features such as Hill Start Assist, ABS with EBD, Emergency Stop Signal (a feature which flashes the signal lights when the Civic brakes really hard).

Let’s talk about Apple CarPlay for a minute, because this Civic is one of the first in the Philippines to have this feature as standard alongside Android Auto. Smartphone integration into the car has never been so important, because we are so hooked with our smartphones in our everyday lives. Since I use an iPhone 7 Plus, the Smartphone Integration lights up as Apple CarPlay in the Honda Display Audio system. Despite the 1.8 E having no navigation, Apple Maps can be used and becomes integrated into the infotainment system. As for Spotify, my songs appear in the display, complete with the title and the album artwork, which can also be seen in the instrument cluster. This system also integrates Siri into the car’s voice command, and makes the whole operation of the infotainment system as easy as your smartphone. This is why the release of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, because these Smartphone Integration features utilize a similar user interface as your smartphone, making the system easy and fuss free to use.

Powertrain

This being the 1.8 E variant, this is not powered by the small 1.5 liter VTEC Turbo engine that produces 172 hp. Instead, this gets a more conventional 1.8 liter naturally aspirated petrol engine, which is the R18Z1 i-VTEC SOHC engine carried over from the previous generation. It produces 139 hp @ 6,500 pm and 174 Nm of torque @ 4,500 rpm. The transmission is mated solely to an Earth Dreams CVT with Sport Mode (S in the gear selector), but no paddle shifters.

How It Drives

This all-new Honda Civic has a clean sheet design from the platform, suspension, structure, and other components. Almost nothing is shared from past Civics, and its only good for Honda to start fresh. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be strange for Honda to even rename the Civic because of this. Being a clean sheet design introduces a host of improvements to the driving experience, and let’s start with its role as a mode of transportation from A to B. The engineers at Honda have benchmarked the Audi A3 for its ride and handling characteristics, and while it does feel anything but an Audi A3, it does come close. The new platform utilizes higher strength steel, making the body 68 lbs lighter than its predecessor, whilst improving rigidity. Passing over some cracked and lifted concrete that the roads around Laguna Boulevard are notorious for due to the trailers regularly passing by, the greatly improved NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels are felt. Driving my Civic and this Civic back to back on this road, and the more composed ride of the new Civic is immediately felt. Small, sharp bumps and expansion joints do not upset the Civic’s ride anymore. Travelling on coarse, rough tarmac immediately shows the improved sound insulation that has been implemented in this new Civic, with noticeably less road noise and wind noise creeping into the cabin. Despite the rakish and sleek appearance of the new Civic, visibility has not been compromised, a typical Honda trait of being able to eke out great visibility in literally almost all of their cars. Thin roof pillars make it a doddle to see out of when crossing junctions.

CVT transmission are notorious for its rubber band feel, wherein the engine constantly revs until you get up to speed, as there is of course an absence of gears in a Continuously Variable Transmission, but Honda’s CVTs have been engineered to do their best in mimicking a traditional torque converter automatic transmission. This also enables the Civic to have great fuel consumption, which is at 9 km/l in the city, and 16 km/l on the highway, for an average of 12 km/l, which is slightly better than my usual in my 1.8 EXI Civic’s at 11 km/l average.

So now we’ve established that as a daily mode of transportation, the all-new Civic has been greatly improved, but how about the sporty and fun to drive nature that the Civic has lost in the past generation? Well, I am happy to report that this all-new Civic is a step in the right direction for Honda. While it never feels as sporty as the Mazda 3, it still does not disappoint, with a heftier steering feel than the overly light steering from my Civic. This is due to a new variable gear ratio electric power steering system that enables it to be light in city driving, and hefty when driven fast, useful when throwing this car in and out of corners. The Civic remains unfazed, with a more planted and substantial feel than the Civic it replaces. The increased chassis rigidity has not only greatly improved ride comfort, but also its handling prowess as the new Civic feels tighter and more solid when going through tight bends. Powering out of the corner, and the CVT does a better job of sending power to the wheels than the 5-Speed automatic transmission it replaces. In Sport Mode, the CVT is able to hold revs, even able to add stepped ratios that mimic a traditional torque converter automatic, providing a sportier, more natural feel when accelerating in and out of corners or overtaking on expressways. What Honda has managed to achieve here is a car that is more comfortable yet more fun to drive than the car it replaces, traits that the Honda Civic has always been known for in years past.

On The Downside

While this Civic feels faster than the previous generation of the Civic with the same engine, there are times that the transmission still feels lethargic when overtaking. It is solved if the transmission is in Sport Mode (S), but for the most part, it does not feel as connected and as engaging as the Skyactiv Drive 6-Speed Automatic from the Mazda 3’s. Speaking of the Mazda 3, the Hiroshima-based manufacturer still manages to make the sportier car among the two, with a tighter steering ratio and quicker reflexes than the all-new Civic when thrown around corners.

Being picky now, the controls for the automatic climate control system in my opinion took a step back. What used to be a one step process now takes two or more steps. In order to dive in to the deeper settings of the climate control system, it now means you have to go through another menu, whereas this should only be a one step process. Lastly, see the electrostatic controls for the volume in the all-new Civic? It looks cool doesn’t it? You simply swipe up or down to change the volume. Well, I initially thought it was cool too, until I learned it the hard way that the volume control system is very sensitive to accidental swiped by accidentally blasting the volume from 10 to 25, blaring my ears with a very loud tone from The Weeknd’s Starboy playing through Spotify.

Verdict

Honda has clearly had some missteps in the past, and this new Civic is a reassurance that Honda is headed in the right direction. Remember that the Honda Civic was not known merely as a mode of transportation. It’s more than that. The Civic manages to fulfill both, which is why there is a sub-culture of Civic owners around the world who share the same sentiments, and we’d like Honda to keep it that way. This new Civic then, is not just a mode of transportation. It manages to provide a fun driving experience once again. Think of it as a matcha dessert. I like matcha, some of my friends like it too, and other don’t like it at all. It clearly has its niches. Some people like it, some people hate it, but those who like matcha know that just like the Honda Civic, it manages to be somewhat healthy, and yet it tastes so good. Don’t you just love being able to have your matcha cake and eat it guilt-free? Okay, fine, a lot of matcha desserts are not as healthy as pure matcha, but it is still definitely healthier than a dessert that uses chemical sugar substitutes. For P1,088,000, the 1.8 E is already a sweet, guilt-free package. One that is somewhat sporty, yet it remains one of the most practical choices. Unless a faster sedan is what you seek, that’s where the 1.5 RS Turbo comes in.

More Photos

Our Rating

Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Quality: ★★★★☆
Practicality:  ★★★★☆
Features: ★★★★☆
Acceleration: ★★★★☆
Handling: ★★★★☆
Comfort: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆

Overall: 4.6 out of 5

Toyota Motor Philippines Facelifts The Corolla Altis

This year marks 50 years since the first Toyota Corolla rolled off the production line, and yet here we are, the world’s best selling car continues to be revamped and refreshed to meet the ever changing demands of customers.

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One of those demands is a better looking car, and it’s no question that many want a great looking car. This facelift has brought in some major changes in the car’s front fascia, notably, the addition of project-type headlamps with LED daytime running lights across the entire line-up, a redesigned front bumper with faux vents on the sides, and a slightly redesigned LED rear combination lights. The 2.0 V meanwhile gets full-LED automatic headlights, a bodykit, and newly designed 17 inch alloy wheels.

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Another changing consumer demand is a quest for a more opulent and premium cabin experience. Inside, plenty of effort has been made to uplift the cabin ambience. The materials have been improved to make the Corolla Altis feel less utilitarian and more upscale. A leather padded areas has been added in the dashboard to further make the interior a nice place to be in. The most noticeable addition perhaps is the new Toyota touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity. 8-way power adjustable seats are adorned by the 2.0 V variants.

Mechanically, the Corolla Altis is unchanged, still powered by a 1.6 liter 1ZR-FE Dual VVT-i petrol engine that produces 122 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 154 Nm of torque @ 5,200 rpm, or a 2.0 liter Dual VVT-i 3ZR-FE petrol engine, which produces 145 hp @ 6,200 rpm and 187 Nm of torque @ 3,600 rpm. The 1.6 liter is can be mated to a 6-Speed manual or a CVT, while the 2.0 liter is only available with a CVT equipped with paddle shifters.

One of the biggest changes that Toyota Motor Philippines touts it has made in the new Corolla Altis is in the area of safety, and we at Go Flat Out highly admire this move for a push in the country’s improvement of its safety standards. All variants now come with 7 airbags, which includes one for the driver’s knee, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat mounts, and Vehicle Stability Control.

1.6 E MT: P894,000
1.6 G MT: P934,000
1.6 G AT: P990,000
1.6 V AT: P1,074,000 (White Pearl +P15,000)
2.0 V AT: P1,318,000 (White Pearl +P15,000)

Lexus Manila Launches The Facelifted 2017 IS Sports Sedan

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Toyota’s luxury arm, Lexus, has been on a roll in terms of sales lately. Despite only having one dealership, located in Bonifacio Global City, the luxury brand has managed to become a leader in sales numbers and as ever, its excellent reputation for customer service. One of the brand’s key drivers for success is its Lexus IS line of compact luxury sports sedans. Benefitting from JPEPA, in which cars made in Japan being shipped to the Philippines will not be imposed with any import tariffs, the Lexus IS is fully able to benefit from this advantage in order to offer a lot more for the money.

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For starters, the Lexus IS has always been fully equipped even from the base IS 350 non-F Sport model. Both standard and F Sport models gain an extensively redesigned front fascia. The spindle grille is bolder and more “in your face” than ever, which will truly draw stares even from afar. New LED headlights give the Lexus IS better visibility and a more aggressive face at night, while the three-dimensional 3-bar LED tail lights look very cool, and now closely resembles the Lexus LF-CC concept that previewed the Lexus IS and Lexus RC.

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Inside, revisions have been made to further uplift the driving experience. More sections of the cabin are now wrapped in leather, including the knee pads and some parts of the dashboard. For the F-Sport variant, the 7-inch TFT LCD screen from the Lexus Remote Touch Interface has been ditched in favor of a significantly bigger 10.3 inch TFT LCD display.

Powertrain options are unchanged, with both models powered by a 3.5 liter V6 D-4S petrol engine, mated only to an 8-Speed Automatic Transmission with paddle shifters, with the power going to the rear wheels. The engine, however, gets a power boost, 317 hp from 306 hp, and 375 Nm of torque to 378.

As ever, the Lexus IS undercuts its equivalently equipped and powered German rivals by as much as half a million to a million Pesos.

IS 350: P2,668,000
IS 350 F sport: P3,198,000

Porsche Philippines Unveils Refreshed Boxster and Cayman, Assigns It The 718 Number

The Porsche Boxster and Cayman have just been given facelifts, but for a mid-cycle refresh, this seems to be more than just a facelift. A new, more agressive face, and a new pair of 4-cylinder turbocharged boxer engines, down by two cylinders from their predecessors, has Porsche gone mad?

Well, not really. You see, these new engines are smaller but more powerful, making the new Boxster and Cayman faster and also more fuel efficient. In conjunction to the new powertrains, they also changed the name. These new cars are now called the Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, which harks back to Porsche’s entry level 718 from the past. In this regard, Porsche is no stranger either to 4-cylinder boxer engines. The original 718 was a successor to the legendary Porsche 550 Spyder. This new 718 Boxster and Cayman pays homage to the original 718 from its similar idea of having a mid-mounted 4-cylinder boxer engine, albeit turbocharged. The original 718 became three-time victors of the of the legendary Italian Targa Florio race from 1959 to 1960, and it also became victorious at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958. Will history repeat itself?

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718 Boxster S

For starters, the look has been refreshed. Porsche says only the trunk lid has been untouched, which means every single panel in this car has received slight changes to its design. For a typical Porsche facelift, there has been a lot of noticeable design changes that have been made. The front end is completely redesigned with a more sculpted front bumper, and larger air intakes are made to the sides. The rear sees a more contemporary approach with slimmer LED tail lights and a new horizontal bar that houses the Porsche text.

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718 Boxster S

The interior on the other hand, is a higher level of spot the difference. The changes are very minimal, sans the new aircon vents, capacitive touch screen system for the second generation of Porsche Communication Management (PCM), and the all-new steering wheel from the Porsche 918 hypercar. Apple CarPlay can be fitted as an option.

There are a pair of engines to choose from. The base models have a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged boxer engine, while the S has a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder boxer engines. The 2.0 produces 300 hp and 380 Nm of torque, while the 2.5 produces 350 hp and 420 Nm of torque. Horsepower is up by 25 hp on both engines, while torque is increased by 90 Nm on the 2.0 liter and 50 Nm on the bigger engines. Due to turbocharging, peak torque is spread across the rev range, enabling the new 718 models to have faster and more responsive acceleration times, especially in gear acceleration. All variants deliver power to the rear wheels via a 7-Speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch transmission, and with the Sport Chrono pack fitted as standard, base models spring from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, while the S models sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.

Porsche Philippines markets these two cars as the return of the great 718. Apart from the name and the heritage, that’s about as much similarities as they have with the original 718. The Porsche 718 is one of those cars that has made the brand famous for its involvement in motorsport, and with the car’s name and philosophy being reincarnated, history is once again repeating itself. Who knows, maybe Porsche will bring the 718 Boxster and Cayman back to motorsport. This is Porsche, after all, where motorsport truly runs in the blood of its cars. You can now own this repetition of history by visiting the Porsche Center Philippines in Greenhills, today.

Magnum Opus: Volvo Philippines Launches The All-New S90

The all-new Volvo XC90 has been a runaway hit for Volvo, and it needed it to be. Being beaten by the Germans in terms of sales, Volvo has no room for error with their XC90. Since its global launch, it has garnered over 118 awards worldwide, and last night was the continuation of Volvo’s renaissance. We couldn’t agree more on how excellent the Volvo XC90 is by reading our review of this large luxury SUV. In the grandest way possible, Volvo has now launched in the Philippines the S90 flagship sedan

With the theme of the launch event “Magnum Opus”, this is perhaps one of the most extravagant car launches we’ve ever been to. From the sign up booths, the 6 course dinner with food that looks too good, you’d feel bad eating it, up to the exquisite performances from world class international and local acts, Volvo is certainly serious right now towards the Philippine market for them to put up such a show and launch the cars in such grace and elegance.

Developed from the ground up, the Volvo S90 is a clean sheet design for a new Volvo sedan. As it is part of the Volvo “90 Series”, the S90 borrows design cues from, not surprisingly, the Volvo XC90, and Volvo’s new design language looks even more elegant and stunning in sedan form. It looks sleek and supremely elegant, boasting the same level of authority from the XC90. The now ubiquitous “Thor’s Hammer” LED daytime running lights give the S90 an authoritative appearance, with its presence further made aggressive through its large grille. Out the back, the rear lights highlight the S90’s rear shape, making it look wider, and an R-design variant spices things up by adding a little bit of sportiness to the S90’s design.

Inside, the S90 are just as equally impressive as the outside. Just like the XC90, less clutter means more elegance, and it’s no surprise to only find a few buttons inside the cabin, and the rest of the functions are controlled via the tablet-like Volvo Sensus which is intuitive and easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard. The cabin follows a horizontal design theme, and is somehow more stately in execution here in the S90 than in the XC90. The materials are rich, and the open pore wood is supremely good looking and beautiful. The S90 is a wonderful place to be in for hours end on EDSA traffic, completely ignoring the chaos that is known as Manila.

This Volvo S90 D4 Inscription variant we see here is powered by Volvo’s Drive-E powertrains, this one being the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder twin turbo diesel engine that produces 188 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Other engines include a petrol T8 plug in hybrid, and is the most powerful variant as well. All powertrains are mated to an 8-Speed automatic transmission.

The S90, as ever, are equipped with plenty of innovations from the Swedish luxury brand. The Volvo S90 and V90 are equipped with a system that tightens the seatbelt if it senses you’ve drifted off your lane and/or about to roll-over, and other similar situations. Volvo’s enhanced City Safety now detects large animals such as… carabaos perhaps, and a new system called the advanced semi-autonomous system, called Pilot Assist, keeping the car aligned within the lane at speeds of up to 130km/h. Other active safety features include Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and the likes. Based on Volvo’s landmark goal of having zero casualties and serious injuries from a Volvo by 2020, it seems their rate of innovation seems realistic and achievable.

Whereas the Germans have ostentatious designs and a varying focus on sportiness with their rear wheel drive executive sedans (or all wheel drive as an option for the Audi A6), the Volvo S90 has no sporting pretensions. It is an honest to goodness stately midsize executive sedan that doesn’t even try its hardest to be sporty. All it aims to do is to transport its occupants in serenity and opulent luxury without any fuss and drama.

Alongside the S90, the equally stunning and beautiful Xc90 was also on display. It looks even more stunning than we remember with its large 20 inch alloy wheels.