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The 2011 Volvo C70 benefits from fresh new front-end styling, giving it a sportier appearance. With the top up, it's a two-door coupe. Then, 30 seconds later, when the retractable hardtop has folded into the trunk, the peppy turbocharged five-cylinder engine makes it a fast and fun top-down tourer.
Its limited cargo space with the top down, however--and the challenge of planning to put luggage in the trunk before the top goes down--combine with the small rear seats to suit the C70 better to a pair of adults than a family of four.
The crisper exterior styling combines well with its interior design, which provides the look you expect in a luxury convertible, with a bit of a Scandinavian twist. The floating console design is distinctive, and the entire package comes off like an audiophile's speaker cabinet, with aluminum trim giving a clean and modern look to the C70's living quarters.
The 227-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter engine powers the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission that's the only gearbox available this year (a six-speed manual offered in previous years has been dropped). It offers smooth shifts and pairs well with the punchy performance of the little turbocharged engine.
Top speed is rated by Volvo at 150 mph, with acceleration from 0 to 60 mph pegged at 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy ratings have improved this year, though they're hardly top of the pack, with EPA gas-mileage ratings of 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, for an overall average of 23 mpg.
Despite its grand-tourer heft of 3,840 pounds (retractable hardtop systems are heavy), you can hustle the Volvo C70 comfortably through the corners. The steering is tight, and the whine of the turbo engine inspires sporty driving. Volvo gets high marks for making the electric power steering feel linear and not too numb.
MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link rear suspension keep the car firmly planted on the road. If you're driving over rough and irregular surfaces, however, you'll feel the front and rear sections of the car shake separately--it's far from the most rigid convertible we've driven.
The base price of 2011 Volvo C70 is $39,950, though it's likely to be closer to $45,000 once you've added a few options.