1 Oct 1992
With its less boxy lines, front-wheel drive and five-cylinder engines, the 850 was radical for a Volvo, especially as it replaced the venerable 240 that dated back to the 1967 144.
Three well-equipped four-door sedans initially arrived - the 103kW 2.4-litre GLE and GLE SE and the 125kW 2.4-litre 20-valve GLT. All were four-speed autos.
By October ’93 a driver’s airbag became standard, a five-speed manual became a GLE option, the luxury GLT SE arrived and the popular wagons (called Estate in Volvo-speak) variants were introduced.
At the same time Volvo shocked traditionalists with the 2.3-litre five-cylinder 850 T5, a rapid 166kW turbocharged sports sedan and wagon available in auto or manual transmissions.
The limited edition GLE LE of early ’94 included leather and alloy wheels on the base model.
In October ’94 a base model 125kW SE sedan replaced the 103kW GLE SE sedan. A front-passenger and side airbags were included on all models from early ’95. Volvo imported 25 cream-yellow painted 177kW T5-R sedans from late ’94 to late ’95.
With a few changes and an expanded colour palette, the T5-R became known simply as the 850 R from early ’96 to early ’97.
In October ’95 Volvo introduced a number of trim and specification changes to the 850, while the base 103kW GLE became the 106kW S.
Available briefly from September ’96 to early ’97, the part-time 4WD 850 AWD Estate was powered by a 142kW low-pressure turbo 20-valve five-cylinder engine.
The limited-run 850 CD of October ’96 was based on the S.