volvo s8o will bowl you over

WHEN Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar last week became the first cricketer to score 200 runs in a one-day international he simply confirmed his position as the greatest player in the modern era of the game.

WHEN Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar last week became the first cricketer to score 200 runs in a one-day international he simply confirmed his position as the greatest player in the modern era of the game.

His list of achievements over a 21-year career reads like a encyclopedia of personal records. In fact, when he broke the record for the number of Test centuries (39) he was rewarded with a Ferrari 360 Modena. Now a Ferrari and the streets of Mumbai go together about as well as chillies and ice cream.

If you think the peak hour traffic of Jozi is bad, multiply it by 10 and you have an idea of the driving conditions of the Indian capital. Rumour has it though, he takes the vehicle out in the very early hours of the morning when the streets are quite for a quick spin.

Last week, in recognition of his historic score of 200, he was the recipient of a Volvo S80 D5 which ,coincidentally, is also the subject of this week's road test. Just like the batsman himself the S80 sends out an unspoken message: "I've arrived."

Its exterior lines are as smooth as the "Little Master" delivering a cover drive while the cream leather interior provides a ride second-to-none.

Most functions - from adjusting the seats to moving the side mirrors - are all done electronically.

Just as Tendulkar has to be quick between the wickets, the S80 is surprisingly quick. Expect to hit the 100kmh mark in around eight seconds while a top speed of 230kmh is easily within range.

The engine specifications are pretty impressive - 151kW and 420Nm - and being a diesel you can expect close to 1000km from the 7-litre fuel tank.

The comfort features the car comes equipped with are nearly as long as Sachin's list of milestones - you name it and this Volvo has it.

The drive itself is just so smooth and gear changes on the 6-speed automatic gearbox are as effortless as he makes a hook shot look.

Like the whole Volvo range, the S80 is class in an understated way. The knowing looks and nods of approval one gets from fellow motorists while driving the vehicle simply confirms it is a car-lovers' car. It's not flashy, it's not brash or showy ... it's just a damn fine vehicle.

For me, let's just say the S80 bowled me over!

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