The Volvo 940 is among the last in the long-running line of large rear-wheel drive cars from Volvo. Introduced in 1991, the 940 was essentially a cosmetic reskinning of the 740. All drivetrains, and most options available in the 940 had been available in the 740. 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.
1994-1995 Volvo 940 Turbo sedan (US)
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 6000 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.
In 1992, 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 altered in such a fashion that it was a 960 Turbo sold as the 940 SE, but the 940 Turbo remained largely unchanged. Production of the 940 series ended on February 5, 1998.
Autumn 1990 saw 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. The most significant change was that, in most markets, the 960 was offered with an all-new aluminum 24-valve DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, often referred to as “white block” in the Volvo community due to its bare aluminum block. Some markets, such as Australia, saw 1991 960s equipped with the same B280 V6 engine that had powered the 1990 760. 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 for the model year 1991-1994 along with the 2.5 and 3.0 inline 6 engine.
Volvo 960 wagon (US)
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.
For 1995, the 960 underwent radical changes. Most obvious was the more aerodynamic front end, and more body-coloured panels. Underneath, the front suspension was completely retooled to more closely match that of the 850. Indeed, 1995 to 1998 960s may use the same wheels as 1994 and newer front-wheel drive Volvo models. The rear suspension received a completely redesigned multi-link independent system. Instead of conventional coil springs, Volvo used a single transverse fibreglass leaf spring. The 1995 960 station wagon marked the first time ever that Volvo equipped one of its rear-wheel drive station wagons with an independent rear suspension. Boge’s Nivomat self-levelling rear suspension system became an option rather than standard equipment.
Volvo S90/V90 Volvo S90 sedan (US)
Assembly Göteborg, Sweden
Body style(s) 4-door saloon
Engine(s) 2.9L 181 hp (135 kW) I6
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,770 mm (109.1 in)
Length 4,850 mm (190.9 in) (estate)
4,900 mm (192.9 in) (saloon)
5,020 mm (197.6 in) (executive)
Width 1,750 mm (68.9 in)
Height 1,438 mm (56.6 in)
Production of the 960 ended on February 5, 1998. Some 1997 and all 1998 model year vehicles were renamed the Volvo S90/Volvo V90 to match the letter-and-number naming scheme now used on their other models.
The 1992-94 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 960 was built on June 27, 1994.
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 of the 3.0 L engine.