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2005-2006 Volvo S40 T5 /
V50 T5

Pros :
- Super-sleek styling.
- Lag-free turbo engines.
- Legendary Volvo safety features.
- Stylish interior with unique dashboard design.
- Fuel economy almost the same as the non-turbo base model.

Cons :
- Like all Europeans, expensive for a compact car.
- Some torque steer under hard throttle.
- Gains a lot of weight in its new iteration.
- Loses Swede uniqueness--built in Belgium on Ford-Mazda platform.
- Somewhat tight back seat.

Interior :

Press Coverage :
The new Volvo S40 replaces the current S40, which was launched in Europe in 1995. It is the newest addition to Volvo’s S-range, which also includes the larger Volvo S60 and S80 models. From the outside, the new S40 is unmistakably a Volvo, a modern evolution of the extraordinary design language that began with the S80 luxury sedan.
The accelerating rejuvenation process is most noticeable in the USA, where Volvo expects one-third of purchasers to be men or women without children. The average age of S40 buyers is expected to be around 30-35 years, which is low compared to the competitors.
The most distinctive new feature in the passenger compartment is the unique, super-slim center stack that elegantly links the console with the instrument panel. The center stack constitutes the interior's topmost layer. It is further described in a separate press release. There is another console in the roof, echoing the center stack and continuing the theme of the car's central nervous system. The interior is available in a choice of three shades: dark gray, lava gray and dark beige. Each interior color is available together with a range of matching upholstery colors. Leather is one of four upholstery alternatives. The most innovative upholstery is Dala, a ribbed textile with T-Tec elements and visible light-colored seams. T-Tec is a material specially developed for Volvo and inspired by sportswear and modern travel accessories. The contrast between T-Tec and textile - along with seams in a different color - reinforces the car's dynamic appeal. The cab-forward design, the long wheelbase and Volvo's Intelligent Vehicle Architecture (VIVA) of transverse engine installation combine to give the new Volvo S40 a spacious cabin. The cabin can be rearranged in the same flexible manner as in the other Volvo models. The rear seat splits into two sections and the backrests fold down. The front passenger seat comes standard with a fold-flat backrest. With all of the seats folded, the load floor is entirely flat.
The all-new S40 comes with a raft of standard amenities including air conditioning, power windows and door locks. Most of the options that can be specified on the larger Volvo S80 and S60 are also available to buyers of the new Volvo S40. This applies, for instance, to the navigation system and the DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) anti-skid system. All-wheel drive, a first for the S40, will be offered as an option in mid-2004.
The all-new Volvo S40 is shorter, but at the same time wider and taller, than its predecessor, creating more interior space. The bonnet is short and there is a pronounced cab-forward profile. This eager stance, as though the car is surging ahead, creates a sensation of speed even at a standstill. At the same time it creates additional space for a long passenger cabin and generous rear-seat legroom. The track and wheelbase have been extended, the front and rear overhangs reduced, virtually putting a wheel at each corner. This contributes to the sporty appearance and gives the car stable on-the-road behavior. The long wheelbase also makes it possible to fit conveniently wide rear doors.
Vibrant design and style is carried through to the all-new V50 wagon. Examples on the exterior include the available sport accessory kit, which accentuates the aggressive lines of the car through specially designed spoilers on the front; sides and rear, along with larger wheels and dual exhaust tips. The kit is also available on the S40. The rear of the all-new Volvo V50 has an athletic, sporty design that sets it apart from the more traditional lines of the V70. The combination of its rounded rooflines and extremely abrupt tail is designed to create a modern look without limiting the practicality required of a wagon. The Volvo V50 is 1.8 inches longer than the S40. The section behind the rear wheels has been extended and utilized to increase luggage space.
The chassis has been developed in parallel with the new engines so as to provide driving properties on a par with those of Volvo's other sedan models. The new gasoline engines are a further development of the low-friction engines that power the large Volvo models. The new generation is named RNC, with C indicating Compact. Most of the engine's external components have been designed and packaged so that the engine installation takes exceptionally little space. The result is an engine that is 7.8 inches slimmer and 1 inch shorter than that found in the large Volvo models. This compact format makes the engine lighter. Combined with Volvo's architecture - transverse engine installation - it also contributes to enhanced crash safety since there is added space for deformation in the engine compartment. The all-new T5 is the sportiest model in the range. It has a 2.5-liter gasoline engine mated to a light-pressure turbocharger. The turbo system is tuned to provide exceptional torque from low to high revs. The high and flat torque curve ensures excellent acceleration. The T5 engine offers a maximum of 218 hp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.
The six-speed manual gearbox developed for the Volvo S60 R and V70 R finds a new home in the Volvo S40 T5 and V50 T5. The six forward ratios are spread out to combine swift acceleration with high top speed. The gearbox has triple synchromesh and a reassuringly distinct change pattern with a precise gate. The automatic transmission found in the S60 and V70 is offered in the new Volvo S40. It is a five-speed unit with an adaptive gear-changing pattern to automatically adjust to the driver's driving style. Much effort has been invested in matching the halfshafts and universal joints to the high engine power outputs, virtually eliminating torque steer under hard acceleration. The chassis development was obtained from the P2-platform models (S60, V70 and S80). Independent suspension with a multi-link system at the rear provides a superb combination of comfort and responsiveness. The wider track and longer wheelbase, compared to the old Volvo S40 and V40 models, also contribute to the car's stable behavior on the road. The front suspension geometry has been carefully calculated to provide quick and precise steering response, enhancing the sporty appeal. The steering is electro-hydraulic, with light, distinct and controlled steering feedback.
The new Volvo S40 and V50 have extremely powerful ABS brakes - with electronic brake-force distribution to the rear wheels and automatic panic-braking assistance - EBA (Emergency Brake Assistance). The front wheels feature ventilated discs. The headlamps feature projector-type low beams. The concentrated beam of light is surrounded by a "halo" which helps oncoming drivers judge the distance to the car. Bi-Xenon gas discharge lamps (GDL) for high and low beam are available as an option.
The all-new Volvo S40 and V50 introduce IDIS - the Intelligent Driver Information System. IDIS is a feature influenced by fighter aircraft technology. The system helps the driver avoid being distracted while driving. When the traffic requires the driver's full attention and concentration, for example when overtaking or braking, and certain peripheral information are delayed until the situation is calmer. Drivers should, however, always focus their full attention and concentration whenever they are behind the wheel. The IDIS function continuously registers the driver's activity by monitoring steering wheel movements, the accelerator pedal, turn signal function, braking and so on. This information is processed and at a given activity level, information that is not essential to safety is held back.
Expanding the brand to appeal to a broader age range is an important part of Volvo Cars’ strategy – it is particularly important that this new model appeal to young buyers.
The new Volvo S40 and V50 will be built in the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium, which has been thoroughly remodeled and modernized for this purpose at a cost of $387 million. Annual sales for the U.S. market, the largest single market for the S40, are targeted at 28,000 units. The new Volvo S40 is the first in a range of new Volvo models sharing common technology.
Volvo USA

The 2.5-liter turbocharged engine makes 218 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque (48 and 59 more than the V40, respectively). Even with all this power, turbo lag is virtually nonexistent, noticeable only when lightly modulating the throttle from a standstill.
Gaining nearly 500 pounds in the process of changing names, the V50's acceleration times are still a huge improvement over the V40's.
The V50's straight-line performance is also good enough to walk away from the Audi A4 Avant 3.0 Quattro and the BMW 325xi wagon but not quite enough to run with the new Subaru Impreza WRX-based Saab 9-2X Aero.
The Volvo's steering is nicely weighted and is combined with a properly chosen ratio that doesn't demand constant correction on the highway and also doesn't make the driver turn the wheel too far for cornering. Although the V50 sends 100 percent of its power to the front wheels until slip is detected, torque steer is surprisingly absent.
We had a sneak peek some months back at the V50's new chassis in Mazda 3 guise, so we weren't surprised to find it well balanced. It never felt too harsh driving around Michigan's frustratingly pocked roads, yet it didn't just lean over and give up when lateral grip began to rise.
The standard automatic, a five-speed Geartronic, worked well under most conditions, generally choosing the gear we expected and only getting confused a couple of times. For example, execute a wide-open throttle launch, let's say, and then once you're up to 40 mph, ease off to maintain that speed. Do that, and the Geartronic will execute two upshifts. After the first, oddly enough, there is a half-second delay during which you get engine braking; this upsets the car—and the driver.
The transmission is outfitted with the typical manumatic control, which we often criticize for overriding the driver when the redline is approached or when slowing to a stop, among other things. However, this system actually lets the driver have significant control. Dying to heat up that transmission? How about a few third-gear launches? Or just cruise at the smooth electronic-throttle-controlled redline in the gear of your choice—it's up to you.
Inside and out, the V50 really looks terrific. A high priority for this wagon was style, and we think the company has succeeded. The exterior is unmistakably Volvo, benefiting from some familiar design cues. The wagon shape is sufficiently rounded off to make it pleasing to the eye as well as to the air passing over it, registering a 0.32 drag coefficient.
The V50 offers the usual desirable flexibility of a wagon that we appreciate. With the rear seats in people-carrying form, the cargo area is good for hauling 27 cubic feet of whatever burdens you; fold those seats down and the number rises to 63 cubes. For comparison, that's about the same as the A4 Avant (31 and 64 cubic feet) and the 9-2X (28 and 62).
The rear seating area provides midpack room in the segment. The seats are reasonably comfortable for average-size people. This is still a small wagon, however, and if you pack a couple of six-footers back there, they'll begin whimpering, "Are we there yet?" in short order.
On the other hand, the front seats are typical of a Volvo: extremely adjustable to accommodate nearly any size driver and comfortable on long grinds. Once you've found that perfect seating position, the steering wheel can adjust to match, employing its tilting and telescoping features to accommodate drivers who border on the freakishly tall (no one we know).
Car and Driver

The programmable electro hydraulic steering was superbly weighted and accurate, making the car feel as well planted on the road as it actually was at all times. Even though some corners were covered in half an inch of water, I never unstuck it once, and never even felt the DSTC cut in. That’s extremely impressive, because though most of the time we were driving at moderate speeds, sometimes we were way over 100 and saw 130 on one occasion. It’s much nicer and much more confident than a front drive Audi A4, and most drivers will probably prefer it even to a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C Class.
The seats are very comfortable; all five of them, though, like the S60, the centre rear is really only for children. The driving position is multi adjustable for all sizes of driver and there is plenty of headroom for those of higher altitude. The neat central instrument panel has no back, so there is space behind it, as in a MINI, which should make behind the fascia components such as the heater matrix more accessible for maintenance. The boot is deep, wide and square shaped, like the suitcases it will have to accommodate. And, of course, the back seats fold down.
I’d better mention a few features we hardly noticed. The key is entirely electronic. The Interior Air Quality System (climate control) did such a good job we never touched any of the buttons.

2000-2004 Volvo S40 / V40 1.9T
1,948 cc / 160-170 hp / 170-177 lb-ft / 2767 lbs / 0-60 mph 7.7 sec.

Competitors :
BMW 325i
Acura TSX
Mercedes Benz C230 Kompressor


Volvo S40 T5 - Back to Stats Specs and pictures



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