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First look: Volvo C30 loses its head

Sweet Swede: Volvo's C30 has been given a 300kW renovation by race engineers in the Polestar Performance Concept.

Volvo commissions a no-holds-barred version of its compact C30 hatchback

23 Apr 2010

VOLVO has revealed a 300kW all-wheel drive version of its smallest model – not at today’s Beijing motor show but at Sweden’s Gothenburg motor show, which opened a day earlier on April 22.

Some could have been forgiven for thinking Volvo’s original reveal of the C30 Polestar Performance Concept Prototype, on April 1, was some kind of Scandinavian April fool’s joke, but the full and deadly serious story has now emerged.

The wildest iteration of Volvo’s C30, which arrives in facelifted form in Australia from May, was commissioned by Sweden’s largest car-maker to explore what its performance partner, Polestar, could achieve “when racing engineers and designers get free hands to build a street car without any limitations set by a specific racing regulation”.

The result is a C30 concept powered by a 300kW version of Volvo’s 2.5-litre T5 petrol engine featuring a larger turbo and intercooler, plus a new inlet camshaft. Pistons and conrods and aerodynamics based on Polestar’s Swedish Touring Car Championship-winning C30.

Apart from the Haldex AWD system with Quaife mechanical differential, there’s also upgraded springs and dampers, a quicker-ratio steering rack, larger Brembo brake discs and 19-inch black alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero tyres, while the C30 racecar’s interior comprises leather race seats with a four-point harness.

“We love the Volvo C30,” said Polestar race and development driver, Robert Dahlgren. “It’s a great car with huge potential for development with its low weight and low centre of gravity. It’s also a fantastic road car. But now we go much further by combining the road car with cutting edge racing technology.”

Alongside it first road car project for Volvo, also revealed by Polestar at Gothenburg yesterday was a range of performance enhancement software kits for D5-engined Volvo cars, including the XC90, S80, V70, XC70, XC60 and outgoing S60.

Priced at around $1080 in Europe, the kit increases peak performance by 15kW and 50Nm but will not be available in Australia, where Volvo replaced the D5 diesel engine with its new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, matched with a new six-speed dual-clutch Powershift automated manual transmission.

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