Volvo 900 Series

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Volvo 900
Volvo 960 front 20080331.jpg
Manufacturer Volvo Cars
  • 1990–1998
  • produced 1,530,000
Body and chassis
Class Executive car
Full-size car (S90 Royal)
Layout FR layout
Predecessor Volvo 700 Series
Successor Volvo S80

The Volvo 900 Series is a range of executive cars produced by the Swedish manufacturer Volvo Cars from 1990[1] to 1998.[1] The 900 Series was introduced in 1990 to replace the 700 Series from which it derived. Prior to the end of its production, the series was renamed as the Volvo S90 (saloon) and Volvo V90 (estate), becoming the last rear-wheel-drive cars from Volvo.

Visible differences between the 700 and the 900 Series included redesigned rear styling of the saloon models (late 700 estates and early 900 estates are visually identical.) The 960 was introduced in 1991 along with a new family of modular engines, and then was substantially revised for the 1995 model year, improving the handling. The range was first augmented and finally supplanted by the Volvo 850 in 1993, with the last of the 900s being sold in 1998. Some 900 Series were built as chassis for ambulances and hearses after the main production run had been completed.

Volvo 940[edit]

Volvo 940
Manufacturer Volvo Cars
Production 1990–1998
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout FR layout
Wheelbase 2,771 mm (109.1 in)
  • Saloon: 4,869 mm (191.7 in)
  • Estate: 4,869 mm (191.7 in)
Width 1,760 mm (69.3 in)
  • Saloon: 1,410 mm (55.5 in)
  • Estate: 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
Curb weight
  • 1,445–1,485 kg (3,186–3,274 lb) (saloon)
  • 1,481–1,520 kg (3,265–3,351 lb) (estate)[2]
Volvo 940 saloon (US)
Volvo 940 GL saloon (AU)

The Volvo 940 is among the last in the long-running line of large rear-wheel drive cars from Volvo.

Introduced in September 1990, the 940 was essentially a cosmetic reskin of the 740.[3] All drivetrains, and most options available in the 940 had been available in the 740, with the exception of the 780 Coupé. The 940 was more closely related to the 740 than the 760, sharing the same dashboard, drivetrain choices, and sheet metal from the A-pillar forward. In contrast, the 960 was an evolution of the 760. The 760 / 960 front sheet metal, independent rear suspension, dashboard, and other interior features were all exclusive to the two upscale models. The estate, introduced in May 1991, was even harder to tell apart from its 745 predecessor.

The engines remained largely the same as for the 740, with 2-litre and 2.3-litre four cylinder gasoline engines, either naturally aspirated or turbocharged, as well as the familiar 2.4-litre Volkswagen six-cylinder diesel and turbodiesels being fitted. There were also sixteen valve versions of the gasoline engines, with a turbocharged version of the 2.0 16V available in some markets with tight tax limits, such as Italy, Belgium, and Portugal. An interesting version added somewhat later was a low-pressure turbocharged version of the B230 – maximum power was only up slightly, from 131 to 135 PS (96 to 99 kW), but torque increased throughout the range and the car suffered from virtually no turbo lag because of the small size of the charger. The 155 PS (114 kW) turbocharged 2.0 was first presented in February 1991,[3] originally intended for Italy and other such markets it was later also installed in the British market 940 SE.

The SE badge was in fact one of the more confusing badges. In the US, the 940 SE was in fact a 960 Turbo with the four-cylinder B230FT engine, the 940 SE badge presumably chosen by Volvo in order to maintain the link between name and number of cylinders. In Sweden, the 940 SE was an ordinary non-turbo 940 with some optional extras as standard, most notably painted mirrors and bumpers. In the UK, the 940 SE was a 2-litre Turbo with some extras as standard aimed specifically at the company car market as 2-litre engines receive a tax benefit. In Thailand the 940 SE was a Turbo (LPT) model with leather seats, ABS brakes and SRS Airbag.

North America[edit]

In the United States, the 1991 940 was offered in three versions: the 940GLE used a DOHC 16-valve version of the 2.3-litre engine with a 6,000 rpm redline. The 940 Turbo used a turbocharged 2.3-litre engine, and the top-end 940SE (turbo) included body-coloured trim, and the premium features (leather, power seats/moonroof, etc.) as standard equipment.

Volvo 940 estate (Australia)

This is one of the Volvo vehicles that was produced at Volvo's former manufacturing facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1993, 940s built at that plant were affixed with roundels at the rear window, to celebrate the plant's 30th anniversary.

In 1991, the 940 GLE was downgraded with a 114 bhp 2.3-litre 4-cylinder engine and sold as the 940 GL (or basic 940 in some export markets). The 940 SE was in actuality a 960 Turbo sold as the 940 SE, while the 940 Turbo remained largely unchanged. Production of the 940 Series ended on 5 February 1998.

Volvo 960[edit]

Volvo 960
95 Volvo 960.png
Manufacturer Volvo Cars
Also called
  • Volvo S90
  • Volvo V90
Production 1990–1998
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout FR layout
  • 2,771 mm (109.1 in)
  • 2,921 mm (115 in) (Executive)
  • saloon (Executive):
    5,020 mm (197.6 in)
  • 1992–1994 saloon:
    4,869 mm (191.7 in)
  • 1992–1994 estate:
    4,808 mm (189.3 in)
  • 1995–1998 saloon:
    4,872 mm (191.8 in)
  • 1995–1998 estate:
    4,862 mm (191.4 in)
  • 1995–1997 saloon:
    1,750 mm (68.9 in)
  • 1,760 mm (69.3 in)
  • 1992–1994 saloon:
    1,410 mm (55.5 in)
  • 1992–1994 estate:
    1,435 mm (56.5 in)
  • 1995–1998 saloon:
    1,438 mm (56.6 in)
  • 1995–1998 estate:
    1,463 mm (57.6 in)
Curb weight
  • saloon:
    1,560–1,604 kg (3,439–3,536 lb)
  • estate:
    1,602–1,629 kg (3,532–3,591 lb) [4]


Autumn of 1990 marked the launch of the Volvo 960 in time for the 1991 model year. This was the replacement for the 760. The 1991 960 was an evolutionary progression of the 1990 760, but it was also one of the first cars to feature the work of British designer Peter Horbury.

Volvo 960 estate (US)

The most significant change was that, in most markets, the 960 was offered with an all-new aluminium 24-valve DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, often referred to as "white block" in the Volvo community due to its bare aluminium block. Maximum power was 204 PS (150 kW) at 6,000 rpm. Some markets, such as Australia and Japan, saw 1991 960s equipped with the same B280E/F V6 engine (145 PS or 107 kW at 5,100 rpm) that had powered the 1990 760.[5] The 1992 model year saw the U.S. introduction of the DOHC inline six-cylinder engine. For the Italian and Portuguese markets, the 960 was available with the 16v 2-litre turbo (190/200 PS, 140/147 kW) from September 1990 until September 1993 along with the inline sixes. Certain markets also received the 2.3 litre turbo 'Redblock' four, with 165 PS (121 kW) and the Volkswagen built D24TIC with 116 or 122 PS (85 or 90 kW).[6]

The 960 received incremental changes for the 1992, 1993, and 1994 model years. Most visible were the new more shapely seats, and redesigned seat-belts with hydraulic pretensioners for 1992. 1993 saw a new more ergonomic shifter, and in 1994 dual front airbags were introduced in some markets. The opaque sunroof was replaced by a sliding sunshade and glass window. In 1994, the US version of the 3-litre six was tuned for more torque and a less peaky power delivery in favor of U.S. emissions regulations, with 181 PS (133 kW) at 5,200 rpm and 270 N·m (199 lb·ft) at 4,100 rpm (as opposed to 267 N·m or 197 lb·ft at 4,300 rpm for the rest of the world).[7]

A small coachbuilder in Laholm, Sweden, called Nilsson, worked under contract with Volvo to supply the stretched 960 Executive (and later Royal model, with Hermes leather interior). Nilsson provided a number of different lengths and sealed the window in the c-pillar, for more privacy in the rear. The Executive had longer rear doors, longer versions had inserts behind the b-pillar.

For North America, the 1992–1994 Volvo 960s were built in Kalmar, Sweden. The very first Volvo 960 for the US-market rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1991 as a 1992 model. The 1995 to 1998 960s were built in Göteborg, Sweden. The first 1995 model year (facelift) 960 was built on June 27, 1994.


In 1994 (for the 1995 model year) the 960 received a facelift, including changes to the grille and body-coloured panels.[7] A smaller 2.5 version of the six-cylinder (2,473 cc) was also added to the lineup, with 170 or 180 PS (125 or 132 kW) for the B6244FS version.

Volvo 960 saloon
Volvo 960 estate (US)

Only the modular six-cylinder engines were available from model year 1995 on. The front suspension was redesigned to more closely match that of the 850. The rear suspension received a completely redesigned multi-link independent system with a single fibreglass transverse leaf spring. The 1995 estate received independent rear suspension. Volvo reported that the single composite leaf spring used in the rear suspension of the 960 estate had the same mass as just one of the two springs it replaced.[8] Boge's Nivomat self-levelling rear suspension system became an option rather than standard equipment.

Trim levels were GLT and SE for European markets.

From 1996, Volvo renamed the 960 in select markets as Volvo S90 (saloon) and Volvo V90 (estate) in alignment with the letter-and-number naming scheme used on their other models. This renaming applied to several European countries in late 1996, in North America from late 1996 for the 1997 model year, and in Australia from March 1997. The new name coincided with an improved air conditioning system.

All US cars were equipped with an electronically controlled Aisin AW-series automatic transmission. Beginning in the 1995 model year, European cars with the 2.5 L engines were also available with a manual transmission, the so-called M90, a strong new design that was derived from the Volvo 850's transmission. With the demise of the 2.5 L engine, the M90 was paired with a detuned version (180 PS or 132 kW) of the 3.0 L engine.

Volvo S90 saloon (US)

Production of the 960 and its S90 and V90 derivatives ended on 5 February 1998.

The S90/V90 nameplate is set to return when Volvo introduces its new flagship model in 2016.[9]



These engines were offered in the 900 Series vehicles over the years:

  • B200E: 2.0 L inline-4, naturally aspirated, Bosch K-Jetronic 115 hp (86 kW)
  • B200F: 2.0 L inline-4, naturally aspirated, Bosch LH-Jetronic 111 hp (83 kW)
  • B200K: 2.0 L inline-4, naturally aspirated, Renix ignition, 200K had standard head unlike 230K
  • B200ET: 2.0 L inline-4, turbocharged, Bosch Motronic engine management (155 hp)[10]
  • B200FT: 2.0 L inline-4, turbocharged, Bosch LH-Jetronic 156 hp (116 kW)
  • B204E: 2.0 L 16-valve, DOHC, inline-4, naturally aspirated
  • B204F: 2.0 L 16-valve, DOHC, inline-4, naturally aspirated and catalyzed
  • B204FT: 2.0 L 16-valve, DOHC, inline-4, turbocharged
  • B204GT: 2.0 L 16-valve, DOHC, inline-4, turbocharged
  • B230E: 2.3 L inline-4, naturally aspirated, Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection
  • B230F: 2.3 L inline-4, naturally aspirated, 114 hp
  • B230K: 2.3 L inline-4, naturally aspirated, Renix ignition, Heron head (introduced for the '85 model year)
  • B230ET: 2.3 L inline-4, turbocharged, Bosch Motronic (introduced in the '85 model year)
  • B230FK: 2.3 L inline-4, turbocharged, Low Pressure Turbo ('95— )
  • B230FT: 2.3 L inline-4, turbocharged, 162 hp
  • B234F: 2.3 L 16-valve, DOHC, inline-4, naturally aspirated, 153 hp
  • B230FB: 2.3 L inline-4, naturally aspirated
  • B280E: 2.8 L V6, naturally aspirated, Bosch LH-Jetronic 2.2, 154 hp (115 kW) Nordic or 168 hp (125 kW) European version even fire crankshaft
  • B280F: 2.8 L V6, naturally aspirated, Bosch LH-Jetronic 147 hp (110 kW), even fire crankshaft
  • D24: 2.4 L inline-6 diesel, 82 hp (61 kW), naturally aspirated (Volkswagen)
  • D24T: 2.4 L inline-6, turbodiesel, 109 hp (81 kW), variant of the LT35 engine manufactured by Volkswagen
  • D24TIC: 2.4 L inline-6, turbodiesel, intercooled, 122 hp (91 kW), variant of the LT35 engine manufactured by Volkswagen
  • B6244/B6254: 2.5 L 24-valve inline-6, naturally aspirated
  • B6304: 2.9 L 24-valve inline-6, naturally aspirated


Volvo offered various transmissions depending on the year/model/engine combinations including the:

  • M46 manual transmission (4-speed + Laycock de Normanville overdrive)
  • M47 manual transmission (5-speed)
  • M90 manual transmission (5-speed)
  • AW30-40 electronically controlled automatic transmission (4-speed, lockup torque converter)
  • AW70/AW70L automatic transmission (3-speed + overdrive, lockup torque converter on some models)
  • AW71 automatic transmission (3-speed + overdrive)
  • AW72L automatic transmission (4-speed, lockup torque converter)
  • ZF4HP22 automatic transmission (4-speed, lockup torque converter)


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1992 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. 1992. pp. 1169–1172. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Exchange: Volvo 960 Basegrade". Goo-net. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  6. ^ Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1992 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. 1992. pp. 1173–1174. 
  7. ^ a b "Press launch information pack – Volvo 960 1995" (PDF). Volvo Car Corporation. June 1994. 
  8. ^ Composite leaf springs - Volvo
  9. ^ Holder, Jim (14 April 2015). "2016 Volvo S90 to rival Jaguar XF". Autocar. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Lindh, Björn-Eric (1986). Volvo: The Cars – From the 20s to the 80s (2nd English ed.). Malmö, Sweden: Förlagshuset Norden. p. 214. ISBN 91-86442-14-7. 

External links[edit]