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Volvo sharpens family sedan and wagon range

Five alive: Volvo's S70 and V70 models are now available with a five-speed automatic transmission.

Volvo has introduced subtle enhancements to its S70, V70 and S80 line-ups

19 Jul 1999

VOLVO has upgraded the S70 and V70 ranges by enhancing the naturally-aspirated engine used in base models and introducing a five-speed automatic transmission.

The new 2.4-litre, five-cylinder engine features four valves per cylinder and Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT).

It generates 125kW at 6100rpm and 230Nm at 4800rpm, compared with outputs of 125kW and 220Nm for the outgoing engine.

Although the on-paper gain is minimal, Volvo claims the new engine offers appreciably more torque in the lower half of the rev range.

The uprated engine is complemented by a new five-speed automatic transmission, optional across the S70 and V70 ranges.

Depending on the model, the five-speed auto adds between $1600 and $2500 to the price of the equivalent manual.

With BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi providing five-speed autos in its mid-range contenders, Volvo had little choice but to follow suit.

The new electronically-controlled auto adapts the shift points depending on the way the car is being driven at the time.

It is the only transmission available in the V70R, which has been tweaked to produce 195kW and 350Nm, compared with the outgoing model's outputs of 184kW and 310Nm.

Other upgrades to the range include the addition of larger side airbags, WHIPS whiplash protection and twin-child booster seats in the wagon.

Meanwhile, Volvo's flagship S80 range is now available with a range of new options, the foremost of which is Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC).

DSTC - which costs $2190 - works along similar lines to Mercedes- Benz's ESP system and BMW's ASC+T set-up.

It monitors speeds of all four wheels and applies braking to the appropriate wheels to help the car regain its correct course.

In addition, the normally-aspirated S80 2.9 is now available with the Geartronic manual/auto transmission, until now available only in the turbocharged T-6.

Offered as a $790 option in the S80 2.9, the transmission enables the driver to assume control by offering tiptronic-style up and down changes.

The S80 will be available from next year with an "ozone-eating" radiator claimed to have a beneficial effect on the environment.

Volvo says the ram effect of air passing through the radiator results in 75 per cent of the ozone coming into contact with it being converted to oxygen.

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