Volvo’s two best-selling models in 2006, the S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon, have been given a comprehensive external and internal redesign to enhance their dynamism, versatility and safety even further, while visually drawing both models closer to Volvo’s all-new S (saloon) and V (estate) styling. With effect from 2008 Volvo model year, production starts in May and first customer cars will arrive in the UK in early July.
Taking a step closer to the all-new Volvo S80 saloon design cues, the Volvo S40 now features a reprofiled nose and chrome framed ‘egg-crate’ grille, complete with a 50 per cent larger Volvo badge – a clear indication of Volvo’s bolder future design direction.
This distinctive front is flanked by new clear-lensed headlamp units, while a striking full-width air intake, incorporating reworked integral fog lamps and a central mesh section, replaces the previous three-part air intake unit.
At the rear, the S40’s new tail light units – fitted with LED light emitting diode brake lights – are now smaller, with new graphics, and sit 30 mm higher than previously. A new bumper and revised boot handle design as well as a more sporting exhaust pipe layout complete the visual makeover.
Just as the S40 draws inspiration from the all-new S80, the V50 Sportswagon moves closer to the all-new Volvo V70 estate, with a sportier new grille and headlamp layout and distinctive three-part front air intake. And, like the S40, the Sportswagon features Volvo’s deep-set chrome-collared grille and larger Volvo badge.
The V50’s distinctive rear styling now benefits from slimmer tail light units that are equipped with LED brake lights, enhancing the car’s shoulders. A new boot handle, restyled bumper and a revised pair of exhaust pipes complete the look.
Restyled lower door mouldings and side sills also underline the visual changes between old and new saloon and Sportswagon models.
Volvo designers and engineers also gave the cabins of the S40 and V50 a thorough revision to add more storage space and carrying versatility as well as boosting the choice of interior trims.
Volvo’s iconic ‘floating’ centre stack has revised controls and is complemented by a multi-function centre tunnel storage area, a more compact handbrake design, and a revised armrest that’s longer and further forward for greater driver comfort. It can also flip through 180 degrees to act as a useful table for rear passengers.
As well as redesigned cupholders, there’s now a much larger storage area under the armrest, while the lower sections of the front door inside panels have been redesigned to accommodate larger items. The auxiliary input for the audio system has been repositioned under the armrest and is now standard across the range, while a roll-top cover for the central storage area provides heightened security.
Other changes include more dynamically styled instrument panels for the T5 and D5 models, Dynaudio speakers for the Premium Sound system, a new hard drive-based RTI road traffic information and satellite navigation system and a redesigned remote key fob with Auto Open and Auto Close for all side windows and sunroof.
New trim options for the floating centre stack comprise a Nordic Light Oak real wood matt inlay and Virtual White, inspired by the modern glossy white surfaces in sporting equipment and computers. Drivers can also now opt for the new Spring Green upholstery and three new exterior colour options have been added too.
Introducing yet more safety features, the new Volvo S40 and V50 Sportswagon can be equipped with Active Bi-Xenon headlamps that swivel the light beam in continuous sync with steering direction.
Should any of the Volvo’s airbags be deployed, the hazard lights will now automatically be activated – a feature that helps attract the attention of other motorists in the event of a single-vehicle accident in the dark.
During emergency braking or when the anti-lock function is activated, the EBL Emergency Brake Lights function flashes all three brake lights five times a second to warn following drivers of the emergency braking manoeuvre.
ISOFIX points in the rear seats are now standard, as is water repellent glass on the front side windows for enhanced visibility in poor weather.
The new Volvo S40 and V50 also benefit from an enhanced powertrain offer. The D5 diesel engine will be available with a slick six-speed manual transmission. Because of its more robust nature, the transmission can handle the engine’s full 400 Nm of torque, compared to the 350 Nm of the automatic gearbox.
The transmission, which arrives later this year, will make the turbodiesel D5 not only the fastest diesel-powered Volvo to date but also one of the cleanest – the advanced powerplant will be fully compliant with anticipated stringent Euro V emission regulations.
Finally, the turbo-charged T5 model enjoys a 10 hp increase, taking total output to a full 230 bhp.