New Car/Review

volvo

1999 VOLVO C70 COUPE

By Matt/Bob Hagin

VOLVO Full Line Video footage (3:58) 28.8, 56k, or 200k
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 33,925
Price As Tested                                    $ 40,535
Engine Type              DOHC 20-valve 2.3 Liter I5 w/SMFI*
Engine Size                                 142 cid/2319 cc
Horsepower                                   236 @ 5400 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               244 @ 2400 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  104.9"/71.5"/185.7"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3431 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  17.9 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                     225/45ZR17
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                        Four-passenger/two-door
Domestic Content                                        N/A
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.29
	 
PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
city/highway/average                               20/27/23          
0-60 MPH                                        7.5 seconds
1/4 (E.T.)                          15.5 seconds @ 97.0 mph
Top speed                                           150 mph
	 
     * Sequential multi-port fuel injection          

0-60 MPH                                        8.5 seconds
1/4 (E.T.)                          16.0 seconds @ 89.5 mph
Top speed                                           140 mph
* Variable valve timing control
** Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Bob Hagin's exposure to Volvo goes back to its early days in the U.S. Matt Hagin observes that the new Volvo C70 harks back to those days when Volvos had curves.)

BOB - The last Volvo that had a curvaceous body was the famous P1800 coupe and the last of them rolled off the line in '78. After that, it seems that the company got stuck in the "shoe box" school of design which equated squareness with safety. It's taken the company a long time to decide that it can design and build a car that's fast and sexy and still be safe. A couple of years ago, Volvo entered the mainstream of automotive design and phased out angularity.

MATT -Volvo's C70 coupe has been out for a couple of years now, and it was laid down in the typical European sports coupe style of making a four-place car that makes no pretense of providing room in back for three. The single seat back there is bolstered in such a way that passengers back there feel like they're in individual bucket seats. There's no rear center seat belt, so the driver won't be tempted to try to squeeze in an extra rider. The C70 is actually an immediate offspring of the angular Volvo 850 of a few years back and that upright favorite of clear-thinkers and engineer-types provided the chassis platform and running gear for the C70. But while the main pieces are the same, it took 1800 redesigned pieces to change the homely 850 into the C70. What a difference!

BOB - Those carry-over pieces make the C70 a pretty good performer and the five-cylinder, 2.3 liter engine comes in two degrees of tune. To transform the coupe into a relatively hot performer, Volvo offers a turbocharged engine with a bit more pressure boost which jumps the already good 190-horse powerplant up to an output of 236. The pragmatic Swedes call the two systems simply "High Pressure Turbo" and "Light Pressure Turbo." While that 40 extra horsepower doesn't put it into the exotic supercar category, it allows the driver to reach 60 MPH from a dead stop in just over six seconds. The low pressure version can only be had with an four-speed automatic but the hot-rod model can also be ordered with a five-speed manual. My choice would be the high- performance model with the automatic because the turbocharger seems to give a slight stumble just when the driver upshifts going through the gears. On the other hand, the shifts with the automatic are seamless.

MATT - Where some of the Volvos of the past have had interiors that were somewhat somber, the trapping of the C70 are smooth and light. The front reclining bucket seats are electrically adjustable eight ways and there are three different memory settings. The in-dash CD player holds three discs and the sound system plays though a 400-watt amplifier and into no less than 10 speakers. Its dual zone electronic climate control system automatically regulates cockpit temperatures by using a single passenger compartment sensor. This unit constantly modulates the interior by switching it between recirculating inside air or pulling in fresh air from the outside. And for hay-fever sufferers, this system utilizes a replaceable pollen and dust filter.

BOB - The car is a bit hefty at 3400 pounds but with a drag coefficient of just .29, it slips through the air quite easily. This no doubt helps it get an average of 23 MPG which isn't bad considering the fact that it's a 236-horse performance car. Although the handling is good, I think that as an option there should be a sports suspension package offered that would tighten things up a bit more. Using typical Scandinavian logic and technology, the C70 has a Winter Mode switch on the console that makes the automatic-powered cars start up in third gear to help eliminate wheel spin on snow-covered streets. And I was somewhat surprised that the C70 has a towing capacity of 3300 pounds.

MATT - Volvo has come a long way in the sports coupe market since the P1800, Dad. This C70 has a lot of features that didn't exist in 1962 not the least of which is readily-available air conditioning.

BOB - Back then, we didn't miss what we'd never had, Matt, but I don't want to have to drive a car with a/c in the summer ever again.

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