Volvo S80. Rickard Rydell wins BTCC. New S/V40, S70 AWD, V70
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Volvo S80 - The Exciting safe Choice
The first ever Volvo to be designed and built solely as a saloon, the S80 has been unveiled. The new front-wheel drive Volvo S80 arrived in showrooms in late Summer and confirms Volvo's position as a world leader in the field of automotive safety by being the safest Volvo ever. The Volvo S80 - the first model to be built on Volvo's new large platform - does not replace any existing models. It will be pro-duced at the Volvo Torslanda Plant in Gothenburg, which has undergone the largest conversion project in its history to accom-modate the new model.
New safety standards
Several new safety concepts make their debuts on the Volvo S80. It is the first model to be fitted with WHIPS (the Volvo Whiplash Protection System) which provides greater protection from whiplash injuries. In the event of a rear-end collision at low speed, the backrest and head restraint are moved backwards in a parallel movement cushioning the head and upper body. The Volvo S80's strides into automotive safety are also underlined by the latest stage in Volvo's comprehensive side impact protection system (SIPS) first introduced in the Volvo 850 in 1991. The new Inflatable Curtain, IC, is concealed inside the headliner from the A-pillar to the C--pillar and increases passenger protection from head and neck injuries. By inflating in 25 thousandths of a second - four times faster than it takes to blink - IC can absorb 75 per cent of the energy generated when the head is thrown to the side. It works in tandem with the energy absorbing safety cell and side impact airbags that already help reduce injuries in side impacts by up to 40%.
WHIPS and IC are just the highlights of the S80's comprehensive range of safety features including head restraints and three-point seatbelts with pretensioners on all five seats, improved SIPS bag developments, less aggressive front airbag inflation rates, standard anti-lock brakes and side marker lamps (first introduced on the award winning S40 and V40 range) which make the car three times more visible from the side.
Engines that entice
The excitement comes from under the bonnet - Volvo is the first car manufacturer in modern times to fit a transverse in-line, six--cylinder engine. This unusual combination has also meant that the company has produced the shortest manual gearbox in the world with an innovative four-shaft arrangement. Two different concepts were followed on the engine programme for the Volvo S80 with six cylinder engines available for total comfort and five-cylinder units for improved fuel economy and refined driving characteristics. All engines follow the Volvo spirit of being in-line and mounted transversely. Initially, the S80 will be available with the two six-cylinder engines from the range, the first of which is a 2.9-litre powerplant with 204 bhp. This is a highly-modified version of Volvo's existing 3-litre unit, comprising 90% new components. The second engine continues Volvo's performance heritage with a high-performance model called the T6 - sporting Volvo's most powerful engine to date. The T6 will be powered by a 2.8-litre, twin-turbo engine with 272 bhp and have the option of an automatic gearbox with a Geartronic function which enables the driver to change gear manually. The five-cylinder range of engines, including Volvo's latest improved BiFuel technology, will be introduced within the first year.
Safety 1st - Rydell takes BTCC honours for Volvo
Safety cam first again for Volvo on Sunday (20 September) when Rickard Rydell won the 1998 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship for Volvo. Rydell’s Volvo S40 crossed the line in second place in Round 25 at Silverstone which was sufficient to clinch the title, in one of the closest-fought and most competitive seasons in the BTCC’s recent history. Said a delighted Rydell: "This championship is the icing on the cake for what have been five fantastic years for Volvo in touring car racing. We have come close before -but nothing beats the feeling of winning!! 1 am looking forward to racing with the number 1 on the side of my Volvo S40 in next year's championship." 'Super Swede' Rydell had led the BTCC from the opening round back in April and, despite strong challenges from rivals, kept the nose of his TWR-prepared Volvo S40 firmly at the front of the pack.
Volvo revises S40 and V40
Volvo has announced an array of new options and made revisions inside and out for the 1999 model year Volvo S40 and Volvo V40 ranges. Exterior changes start with two new colours, Pure Silver and Tropical Lime, as well as several new designs of alloy wheel. All models will have the new Volvo diagonal and logo - first seen on the Volvo S80 - on the front grille. Fixed-focus headlamps, so far only on T4 models, will now be available on cars with the 2.0T engine. Inside, the list of changes subtly affects all areas and should make the cars even more of a pleasure to drive and own. There's a shift lock/key lock on the automatic transmission for extra safety. If the car is equipped with a passenger airbag, the seatbelt tensioner will have a load limiter. This restrains the occupant in a controlled and gentle way, reducing any likelihood of internal injuries. Instrumentation and door panels have been redesigned to 'improve appeal and driving pleasure', according to Volvo. Changes include new materials and instrument graphics, a new information centre, an econometer on 1.8-litre direct-injection petrol models, and cruise control indication light. The steering wheel will also be positioned 15mm closer to the driver to improve the driving position. The audio system has also been improved.
S70 AWD announced
There is now an all-wheel-drive model in the Volvo S70 line-up. Powered by the 193bhp light-pressure turbo engine fitted in AWD Volvo V70 estates, the Volvo S70 AWD shares the chassis configuration. This differs from the two-wheel-drive models in having automatic-levelling rear suspension and higher-geared steering. Offering higher levels of grip and safety over the two-wheel-drive models, the Volvo S70 SWD is set to appear in dealerships early next year. Prices have yet to be announced. Volvo has also upgraded the V70R AWD family car for the 1999 model year. Now available only as an auto, the 2.3-litre turbo estate has 240bhp. Maximum torque is 310Nm, and these figures give the car a top speed of 140mph and allow it to accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds.
New 40 and 70 series variants
Volvo has unveiled several new additions to the 40 and 70 ranges. First to show is the XS variant of the Volvo S40 and Volvo V40. These combine high specification with only a modest increase in price over the platform car. With remote central locking, deadlocks and an anti-theft alarm, a CD player and 15-inch alloy wheels, the cars cost just £500 more than the standard model yet the equipment value adds up to £1,600. In the Volvo 70 range, the XT versions of the Volvo S70 and Volvo V70 contain nearly £2,000 of extras yet cost just £500 more than the standard car. The package has 16-inch alloys, climate control, rear spoiler, and a leather steering wheel. The good news continues with the XL and XLT models. For those with a growing family, the Volvo V70 XL adds £1,540 of equipment -from heated seats to TRACS anti-wheelspin - again, for just £500 more than the platform car. Top of the list is the Volvo V70 XLT. Combining XL and XT specifications, this car has many extras as standard - totalling £3,390 if bought separately - for just £1,000 more than the platform car.