Come rain or shine, the all new Volvo C70 convertible, that also doubles as a coupe, is set to make its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Thanks to a unique three-piece retractable hardtop, customers of the second-generation, all new Volvo C70 can enjoy life without compromise – whether the roof is up or down.

“We’ve succeeded in creating an attractive convertible which, at the touch of a button, converts into an equally elegant coupe, giving the customer two cars in one – with space for four adults,” says Volvo Cars President and CEO, Hans-Olov Olsson.

The all new Volvo C70 is about the same size as its predecessor, and remains a full four-seater, with a sleek design whether the roof’s up or down, and is immediately recognisable as a modern Volvo.

“Putting together harmonious lines both with and without a roof is no easy job,” says Fedde Talsma, design manager for the all new Volvo C70. “We decided to start with the coupe design. When we were satisfied with the result, we made the necessary adjustments to create a convertible out of the coupe lines, which our experience tells us is the best way of going about it.”

Volvo has developed the all new Volvo C70 to offer new standards of preventive and protective safety in the convertible market. The car has an advanced body structure, greater torsional rigidity and several innovations that make it unique among open-top cars.

A unique example of this is the new door-mounted Inflatable Curtain (IC), part of the C70’s enhanced Side Impact Protection System (SIPS). As the IC cannot be fitted in the roof, like the rest of the Volvo range, it has been innovatively fitted in the door to inflate upwards instead of downwards. Volvo’s safety engineers have also fine-tuned the IC to be extra stiff so it can stay upright and help protect the head more effectively. In addition, the curtain then deflates more slowly to provide additional protection if the car rolls over.

The all new Volvo C70’s carefully designed body structure not only contributes to the car’s high safety standards, it also gives the body higher torsional rigidity – and with the roof up, torsional rigidity increases by a further 10-15 per cent.

“A torsionally rigid body was an important criteria for the new C70’s driving behaviour,” says Volvo C70 project manager Patrik Widerstrand. “It makes the car more stable, easier to control and therefore safer – but also makes the all new C70 more dynamic and fun to drive.”

In the UK, the all new Volvo C70 will initially be offered with two in-line, five-cylinder engines – the range-topping, turbocharged T5 producing 220 bhp and torque of 320 Nm; plus a normally aspirated, 2.4-litre unit producing 170 bhp. In addition, a five-cylinder, 180 bhp diesel engine is due to join the range during 2006.

The development and manufacture of the all new Volvo C70 are the result of a joint venture with renowned Italian design company Pininfarina and, like its predecessor, the car will be built in Uddevalla, Sweden.

Full details, including prices and specification of the all new Volvo C70, will be released at its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September, when order books will also open at UK dealers, with the first C70s expected to be in showrooms and delivered to customers in early 2006.

“Our all new Volvo C70 is the first open-top car in the premium segment with both a steel roof and space for four adults. We believe this is a highly sought-after combination. That’s why we expect to more than double our sales compared with the first-generation C70,” says Hans-Olov Olsson.

The first-generation Volvo C70 Convertible had its best year in 2004 with just over 7,000 cars sold globally, with over 1,500 (or nearly one in five of them) coming to the UK – its second best-selling market (after the USA).