The S40 and its wagon counterpart the V50 were among the first models to get the 'floating' center stack—a thin control panel that houses climate control and audio functions, with storage space behind. The instrument panel was ahead of its time—modeled after electronics and thin monitors—and still looks great today. Up close, the design is of course very Scandinavian-influenced, with stark contrasts between light and dark trim, and the center stack trimmed with a matte-metallic surface.
The 2011 Volvo S40 is unremarkable from a styling standpoint, though it's even by today's fashion sense a well-sculpted small sport sedan. While it looked fresh many years ago when first introduced, its proportions are now rather familiar, but athletic. Large alloy wheels and nicely done detailing give the S40 a nice visual punch compared to other sporty sedans—especially in R-Design form where the S40 gets a sport body kit and added side skirts plus front and rear spoilers.