2011 Volvo C70: A luxury convertible with a retractable hardtop
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Since 1927, Swedish automaker Volvo has earned a lofty reputation for its consistency in creating safe, quality automobiles. Volvo takes its name from “Volvere” the infinitive form of the verb "roll" in Latin (Volvo translates to “I roll”), and from the time that its first car rolled off the assembly line – the "Jakob" in 1927 – the car with the symbol of Mars (also the ancient chemical icon for iron) complemented with a diagonal band running across the radiator, has been a symbol for unbreakable” cars.
Based in Sweden, but owned by Ford, Volvo was put up for sale, and earlier this year was bought by China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. for $1.8 billion. Ford will continue to cooperate with Volvo in several areas but will not retain any ownership, and Geely spokespersons have said Volvo will retain its Swedish identity and strategic independence – its management team will continue to be based in Gothenburg, Sweden. A huge distribution network in China and across Europe should help increase Volvo’s worldwide sales.
Regardless of its national alliances, Volvo has gained an invigorated reputation in the 21st century for combining sportiness and style with its excellence of construction. The once “boxy” designs have given way in several models to Euro lines, fluidity and grace.
One of Volvo’s more intriguing and sporty offerings is the 2011 C70 hardtop convertible. The signature of the line, the C70 employs an aggressive demeanor; a sleek new look; a new fascia; a large badge – that chemical symbol for iron or Mars – and larger headlights that slant provocatively from the side to the grille; curved and rounded bumpers that plunge dramatically to a lower grille; three-dimensional wedge-shaped nose and an assertive forward stance that seems catlike in its profile.
My Flamenco Red Metallic test ride looked athletic when the top was in place and took on the appearance of an alluring, luxury toy with the top down. Capped off by 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, the 2011 C70 was a head turner on the road and around town.
From its restyled grille and nose to its new rear LED taillights and fascia, the C70 measures 181.7 inches long, 72.3 inches wide and 55.1 inches high on a 103.9-inch wheelbase.
Another part of the 2011 C70 story lies under the hood. This 3837-lb. hardtop convertible comes with several engine options, but my test ride was outfitted with a 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder, double overhead cam, turbo engine with an intercooler. The system, thunders out 227hp and 237 lbs-ft of torque and the manufacturer says the vehicle will move from zero to 60 in 7.4. A flat torque curve puts the power to the front wheels evenly and makes the car highly responsive, and I was able to push the car down the sprint in 7.5. While a sudden downpour closed the track before my quarter-mile run, I found on the highway that the C70 accelerated smoothly and decisively. Steering was crisp and responsive and there was virtually no sway or over/understeer noticeable during quick slalom moves. And the ride was quiet, stable and coddling.
EPA rated at 19/28, a week of mixed-use tests achieved an average of 22.2mpg.
Inside the cabin, the C70 is high-tech, comfortable and elegant. Interior dimensions measure 38.2 inches of front headroom with the top in place and 36,4 inches in the rear; legroom is 42.3 inches and 33.9, while shoulder room measures 53.6 and 47.0.
The driving/lounge area is decked out with luxury amenities including Sovereign Hide Premium seats and door panels, light tan areas contrasted by dark trims and panels, leather sport steering wheel and shifter, a center pass-through to the trunk, new instrument panel gauge cluster with watch-dial design graphics and Sirius satellite radio.
Safety is still a Volvo watchword and C70 and its inhabitants are protected by high strength steel, hydro-formed A-pillars and a Rollover Protection System that deploys from behind the rear-seat headrests if a rollover is detected. Additional safety measures include traction control, antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, dual-stage air bags with protective knee bolsters, side air bags, door-mounted inflatable side curtain and Volvo Whiplash Protection System for front passengers.
The 2011 Volvo C70 is based priced at $39,950 with destination charges of $850. My test ride added lavishness with a capital “L”, including such options as: Climate Package (headlamp washers, heated front seats, interior air quality system and humidity sensor and rain sensor windshield wipers) for $900; Multimedia Package (Dynaudio Premium sound system, 12 speakers, Dolby Pro-Logic Surround Sound, four 130-watt general amplifier, one 130-watt center speaker amp, two subwoofers with 130-watt amps, and the Volvo navigational system with remote, real-time traffic and map care) for $2600; Convenience Package (Keyless drive, remote garage door opener, rear park assist and mirror compass) for $1000; Dynamic Package (cool 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, Xenon headlights with active bending light, headlamp washers and 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel) for $1000 and the safe and high-tech Blind-Spot Information System for $700, for a drive-off of $47,000 plus tax and license.
From Sweden to the USA to China … Volvo is rolling on all gears with the 2011 C70.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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