1 Mar 2007
VOLVO opens the door on new markets with its new C30 coupe/hatchback, casting furtive glances at the likes of Mini, Audi A3, VW Golf and BMW 1 Series, among many others.
Underwritten by Volvo’s rock-solid reputation for the highest levels of passive safety and the success of the donor S40/V50 range, this chic little car has appeal for the much-younger market at which it is aimed and has been deliberately made to polarise opinions on the way it looks.
That said, it is an instantly attractive little coupe, with a cheeky rear-end that makes it instantly identifiable. Sure, there’s not quite the practicality of the S40 or V50, but it’s not bad nevertheless and the interior is well fitted out and very comfortable up front. And it’s a bit more than just a two-plus-two, because despite the shorter body it uses the same wheelbase as its five-door siblings.
The initial burst of C30 activity sees just the LE and T5 models available, covering the early adopters already showing interest in the new model despite not having yet seen it in the flesh. A less expensive S model, along with the D5 turbo-diesel, is expected late 2007 The C30’s specs have been known for some time now, but just to reiterate: the base LE uses a slightly smaller, 2.4-litre normally-aspirated version of the five-cylinder transverse engine producing 125kW and 230Nm, available with a 5 speed Auto and Manual transmissions. The slightly longer-stroke, 2.5-litre turbocharged T5 punches out 162kW and 320Nm, and is mated to a 5 speed Auto or a 6 speed Manual transmission.
The base LE C30 comes with front, side and curtain airbags, SIPS side-impact protection, anti-whiplash front seats, collapsible floor pedals and ABS, while comfort and driver convenience is attended to by climate-control air-conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, a four-speaker MP3/iPod-compatible sound system, leather seats with power adjustment for the driver and "Stability Traction Control" (which is different to the Dynamic Stability Traction Control standard in the T5 and a $2190 option on LE).
The T5 adds bi-Xenon headlights, larger 17-inch alloy wheels and a six-speed manual gearbox where the LE gets just five speeds. Options on both LE and T5 include a glass sunroof, premium 12-speaker sound system, in-dash six-CD stacker, heated front seats, rear park assist and sports suspension.
In early 2008 Volvo doubled the C30 range with the base model S and diesel-powered D5.
The former utilises the 125kW/230Nm 2.4-litre non-turbo petrol-powered five-cylinder engine found in the continuing LE.
As its name suggests, the D5 is diesel-powered five-cylinder engine that is closely related to the 2400cc 20-valve twin-cam turbo-charged unit powering the larger S40, V50, XC70, S80 and XC90 models.
Using a particulate filter and driving the front wheels, it delivers 132kW of power at 4000rpm, and 400Nm of torque from 2000 to 2750rpm in the manual C30 D5. Automatic versions produce 350Nm from 1750 to 3250rpm. In comparison, the 169kW T5 offers 320Nm.