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Car reviews - Volvo - S40 - 2.0D sedan

Launch Story

Volvo logo3 Dec 2009

By LUCIANO PAOLINO

AN affordable new diesel has been slotted into the bonnet of the Volvo S40 sedan and its V50 wagon sibling.

The new powerplant replaces the high-performance five-cylinder D5 diesel engine and offers a significant price advantage.

While the previous D5 S40 sedan was priced at $46,450, the new four-cylinder diesel has hit showrooms at $42,950.

The D5 V50 wagon was just $500 shy of hitting the big $50,000 barrier, but the new diesel version will cost a far more reasonable $45,950.

The sharper new pricing brings the S40 and V50 diesels within $1500 of their entry-level petrol equivalents.

The same as the engine that has just been introduced in the C30 hatch range, the new oil-burner is a 1997cc common-rail turbo-diesel with an alloy cylinder-head and cast-iron block.

With an 85mm bore and 88mm stroke, it runs a compression ratio of 18.5:1 and pumps fuel in at 1600 bar of pressure, enabling it to generate 100kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Volvo has teamed the 2.0-litre unit with its new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which was co-developed with German gearbox specialist. Getrag.

Like Volkswagen’s DSG gearbox, the Volvo unit effectively runs two gearsets, making fast, smooth shifts the key benefits of this twin-clutch transmission.

As with similar transmissions, the configuration also brings economy advantages. Volvo says the dual-clutch gearbox uses around eight per cent less fuel than a comparable torque convertor-type transmission.

Volvo Australia says the new, more economical engine fits better with customers who would consider the S40, V50 and C30 than the more expensive, performance-oriented D5 diesel.

Even so, the company is not expecting the new engine to boost sales. Diesel has so far attracted a tiny 10 per cent slice of S40/V50 sales.

The 2.0-litre diesel S40 and V50 come with the same level of standard equipment as the entry-level S models powered by a 125kW/230Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

That includes a comprehensive list of safety gear, including electronic stability control, front-side and side curtain airbags, plus active head restraints. A premium six-CD sound system is standard, as is a full-function trip computer, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control.

The four-cylinder petrol models retain a conventional five-speed automatic transmission.

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