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Future models - Volvo - S40

First look: Volvo’s big dollar S40

Evolution: The styling linkage from S40 to S60 is obvious.

Vital new compact Volvo will be here by July, 2004

27 Aug 2003

VOLVO has released first images of the new generation S40 compact luxury car, ahead of its Frankfurt motor show launch next month.

It will be on sale in its Swedish home market before the end of the year and available in Australia by the middle of 2004.

The new generation wagon – confirmed as V50 rather than V40 – will not be revealed at Frankfurt, but will follow the sedan on sale around the world soon after, with its Australian arrival destined for late in the third quarter of 2004.

A compact cross-over wagon intended to rival BMW’s forthcoming X3 is expected to also be unveiled next year.

The Australian models will be equipped standard with a transversely mounted five-cylinder engine, topped by the turbocharged 2.5-litre 2.5T version which produces 162kW. All-wheel drive will also be offered with T5.

You can expect the new S40 to be dramatically more expensive than the current model, with pricing tipped to start beyond $50,000.

That is about $10,000 up on the current starting point for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder base model.

It also means that the bigger brother S60 should also be pushing up in price, as it currently starts at just under $50K.

Whatever the final price and line-up, the new generation cars cannot get here soon enough for Volvo Car Australia.

The company’s biggest seller back in 1999 with 1255 sales, S40 had slumped to around half that last year and has dropped away by more than 50 per cent again this year.

While a distinct step forward from the boxy current S40 that went on sale in 1997, it is an obvious evolution from the larger cars in the Volvo line-up, most notably the S60.

It measures up 48mm shorter than its predecessor, but is 54mm wider, 44mm taller, has a 78mm longer wheelbase and substantially wider track front and rear.

Volvo claims the cab forward design, long wheelbase and transverse engine installation have released substantially more interior room – a bugbear with the current car.

It is describing the interior design “as something of a revolution”, including a free-floating centre stack that elegantly links together the tunnel console with the instrument panel.

The typically flexible Volvo cabin can be re-arranged in several ways.

The rear seat splits into two sections and the backrests fold down. The front passenger seat can also be specified in a version with a fold-flat backrest.

With the seats folded down, the load floor is entirely flat.

Measurements versus current S40
Length: 4468 mm (48mm shorter than the current S40 model)
Width: 1770mm (54mm wider)
Height: 1452mm (44mm taller)
Wheelbase: 2640mm (78mm longer)
Track front: 1535mm (63mm wider)
Track rear: 1531mm (57mm wider)

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