Dec. 4, 2003 by TCC Team (12/3/2003)
More SUV safety coming, Volvo V50 full of Bologna.
In the next year, Volvo’s lineup will be vibrant with new models. The only profitable division of Ford plans to launch two new cars each year for the next five years. In 2004, we’ll see the YCC (“Your Concept Car”) at the Geneva show, and a small crossover vehicle also is expected to be shown in concept form.
And now, just three months after the debut of the new S40, the V50 sports wagon has been unveiled at the Bologna Auto Show in Italy. It’s also been confirmed that there will be a C40 Convertible, although the topless version of the new S40 isn’t expected until mid 2005. Volvo has established a joint venture with Pininfarina for the development of the Convertible and at the moment the Volvo development team is working at the prototype in Pininfarina’s premises in Torino, Italy.
In the meantime, the rejuvenation process of the Volvo sedans is completed with the new S40, which is ready for shipment to the North American dealers, where the car will arrive in the spring.
The new S40 will be built in the factory in Gent, Belgium, where in 2004 around 70,000 cars will be produced. The new Volvo will be available with two new gasoline engines, the 2.4-liter five-cylinder with 168 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, and as the T5 with the 2.5-liter low-pressure turbo with 218 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The five-cylinder engine is an evolution of the existing powerplants from the S60. The block is the same, but the external components have been designed and packaged to fit the smaller engine bay of the S40. The result is an engine that is 7.8 inches smaller and an inch shorter than the one in the larger Volvos.
Together with the transversal installation, the format benefits the space for deformation in the engine compartment. The 2.5-liter in the T5 is the motor we know from the larger Volvos. This engine is teamed with the six-speed manual that has been developed for the S60 R and the V70R. In mid-2004 the T5 will be available with Volvo’s electronically controlled all-wheel drive. The normally aspirated 2.4-liter comes with a new five-speed gearbox, whereas the adaptive automatic transmission will also be available for the S40 2.4.
For the development team of the S40 it was a real challenge to improve the already very successful driving characteristics of the existing S40/V40, of which 450,000 have been sold in the past eight years.
The new S40 is smaller, wider and slightly higher than it predecessor, but it has the unmistakable identity of its larger family members. Notable is that from different angles the S40 has different looks, but one thing it’s definitely not: a baby Volvo. Its powerful nose and broad shoulders in the rear take care of that.
The new model has the safety equipment that you expect of the Volvo brand: dual stage airbags, side airbags, WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System), collapsible pedals, seatbelt pretensioners for the front and rear outer seats, and a force limiter for the front seatbelts. The S40 has anti-lock brakes and emergency brake assistance, while ESP and traction control are also available.