I was trying to figure out why the automaker from the land of Ikea was serving up two new meatballs this morning named the all-new S40 and V50. Then I realized — who the hell cares? Here's the scoop — although both are still built on Volvo's P1 platform, the message from Volvo is the coupe-styled S40 and it's wagon-brother V50 are "more different" in looks than previous models with the S40 moving a step closer to the new S-range design we've seen on the Volvo S80. The V50, on the other hand, gains some of the visual cues we saw on the new V70. On a performance level, the T5 engine gets a performance hike of 10 hp up to 230 hp. The other choices are the same as the previous generation, a 1.6-liter 100 hp, 1.8-liter 125 hp, 2.0-liter 145 hp, 2.4-liter 140 hp and the 2.4i hitting 170 hp. Of course you can also go diesel on the euro side of the Atlantic in addition to any of those "petrol" engine variants. That engine range comes in 1.6-liter at 109 hp, 2.0-liter at 136 hp and for the final flavor, the D5 hitting 180 hp.
The new Volvo S40 and V50 - more dynamic looks and liberated storage space Increased differentiation between the S40 and V50 New S40 front with lower, broader stance Sportier new grille creates a tougher V50 look Slimmer tail lamps and new rear bumper Larger and more practical storage space New real wood inlay - Nordic Light Oak Fresh new Spring Green upholstery
A number of distinctive design cues take the new Volvo S40 a visual step closer to the new S-range look as first shown on the all-new Volvo S80. At the same time, the V50 approaches the new V-range and the all-new V70 without compromising on its original compact and sporty attributes.
"When it comes to the exterior, we're aiming for increased differentiation between the two models. The interior refinements have focused on liberating smart storage space," says Volvo Cars Design Director Steve Mattin.
Starting with the new S40, the source of the inspiration can be seen clearly when the compact sedan is viewed from the front.
The new colour-coordinated soft nose creates a broader, lower stance thanks to a new grille with a larger Volvo iron mark, new headlamps and a lower air intake that sweeps across the entire front unlike the current model's three-part design.
"The new, lower and more horizontal appearance radiates smooth power. This impression is reinforced when the car is seen from the side. At the rear, it is the shape of the new tail lamps and the new bumper that further boost the dynamic appearance," says Steve Harper, who has been responsible for the design of the new Volvo S40 and V50.
Sportier V50 grille
The new black egg-crate grille with its larger Volvo iron mark emphasises a sporty language. The new headlamps and the three sculpted lower air intakes are other details that give the new colour-coordinated soft-nose V50 front an increased impression of solidity. "Here, we've created visual vertical elements in order to further emphasise the new grille," says Steve Harper.
Sharper driveline range
The driving characteristics are already among the most renowned strengths of the two models. One new feature is that the T5 engine gets a performance hike of 10 horsepower, giving an output of 230 hp. There are also five other petrol engine versions available, plus a bio-ethanol Flexifuel variant: 1.6 100 hp1.8 125 hp1.8F 125 hp (Flexifuel)2.0 145 hp2.4 140 hp 2.4i 170 hp
Diesel engines, which account for 55 percent of S40 and V50 sales in Europe and 25 percent in total, are available in three versions: 1.6D 109 hp2.0D 136 hp D5 180 hp
One change here is that during the second half of 2007 the D5 engine will also be available with a manual gearbox, offering the driver no less than 400 Nm of torque compared with the automatic transmission's 350 Nm. This engine is one of the first to meet the expected Euro 5 European exhaust emission levels.
The E85-powered (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent petrol) Flexifuel variant producing 125 hp is becoming increasingly competitive. The Volvo S40 and V50 Flexifuel are sold in nine European countries and in 2007 account for 8 percent of these models' total sales.
Slimmer tail lamps
The lower part of the tail lamp panel on both the S40 and V50 is 30 millimetres higher than before and the lamps themselves have an entirely new graphic layout. The brake lights are now of LED type and the position marker lamps emphasise the car's shoulders.
The new bumper features integrated reflectors in the lower corners and the lower, broader design language is supplemented with the more horizontal lines of the exhaust tailpipe.
"The improved shape and position of the exhaust tailpipes is a good example of how a little extra visual touch can create a highly potent impression," says Steve Harper.
Freeing up storage space
When refining the interior, the design team transformed itself into something of a liberation movement for storage space.
"The criticism of the current models' limited storage space served as high-octane fuel when the time came to sketch the new interior of the S40 and V50. We weren't entirely satisfied until we felt we had exploited every single available cubic centimetre in an efficient way," relates Steve Harper.
The team concentrated its efforts on two areas: the door sides and the centre stack.
The entire lower part of the front door inside panels was redesigned. The audio system loudspeakers were reshaped to free up space for a new, larger storage compartment with space for an A4 format book, an upright soft drinks can or a water bottle lying down.
As an added bonus, space was also freed up for an extra Dynaudio loudspeaker (only for Premium Sound), which adds even more spice to the audio experience.
Larger and more intelligent centre console
The already iconic super-slim centre console is available in additional decor versions such as the Nordic Light Oak real wood inlay, and the theme now flows smoothly with similar elegant soft curvature surfaces all the way to the rear seat.
The storage space between the seats has also been refined with the help of Scandinavian design tradition's most renowned hallmark - smart functionality.
The handbrake has a more compact design, which in turn has freed space for more generous storage capacity.
Sliding cover and flexible armrest
The sliding cover over the larger storage compartments, in which there are also two holders that provide secure support for large and small cups, is complemented by an improved flexible armrest for the driver. This also has a built-in feature that the design team playfully call the "hamburger table".
"We've even utilised the small spaces that are usually simply covered over when they're not housing controls for options or accessories. Now instead, the space has been converted into a handy compartment, for instance for a mobile phone. After all, the phone is not something we should be using while driving, anyway," explains Steve Harper, and adds:
"And on the back of the console there is another little jewel: a flip-up holder for a 1.5-litre bottle within easy reach of passengers in the rear-seat."
New upholstery and green highlight colour
New design details in the instrument panel and air vents also contribute to the interior refinement in the new S40 and V50.
The upholstery range has been expanded both at base level and for the more exclusive options, for instance with a new, finer grained leather. At base level there is a green 'accent' colour fabric with the poetic name of Spring Green.
"The green upholstery is entirely in line with the increasing demand for personalised choices by our customers. We started with blue and red upholstery in the new Volvo C30, and now we are introducing green in the new S40 and V50. I'm sure it's going to be very popular," says Steve Harper.
Descriptions and facts in this press material relate to Volvo Cars' international car range. Described features might be optional.
Vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.
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