Packing a lot into a compact sedan, the Volvo S40 features numerous safety features, mostly standard, and luxurious detail into its compact package. Enjoying several popular years in Europe the US sales began in 2000 following Ford's acquisition of Volvo. For 2004 the Volvo S40 was updated once again with the addition of a more generous interior along with enhanced safety features.
Entry-level luxury vehicles/ compact executive cars, the Volvo S40, V40 and V50 are produced by Volvo cars. The first generation was launched in 1995, while the second followed in 2004. The second generation has been listed by Forbes as one of the best luxury vehicles for young affluent drivers. According to J.D. Power and Associates it is also the most popular car among women in the luxury segment in the US market.
The S40 saloon, (sedan) and V50 estate (station wagon) were introduced during the summer of 1998. Built in the Netherlands, the cars were produced at the NedCar factory which was a pre-Ford joint venture between Volvo and Mitsubishi Motors. Though the Japanese version did not sell as well as in Europe, the S40 was based on a common platform with the Mitsubishi Carisma.
For 2000 the 40 series was updated and featured a variety of technical improvements simultaneously introduced and those included improved engine management, additional safety features, larger brake disc, direct fuel injection, new front suspension and steering, updated rear suspension, larger tires and a slight widening of the track width.
The only engine available in North America was the 1.9-liter. Equipped with four-cylinder engines, the 40 series came with a 1.9 L diesel or 1.6, 1.8, or 2.0-liter fuel injected gasoline engines with low and high pressure turbo variants at the top of the motor range. Trim levels in the UK were base, SE and CD. The first vehicle to earn four stars in Euro-NCAP was the Volvo S40.
Debuting during the middle of the 2004 model year, the second generation S40 featured a new design that was based on the Volvo P1 platform built at the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium. The V40 was replaced by the V50 estate in this same year.
For 2005 the Volvo S40 was nominated for the World Car of the Year award and also won the Canadian Car of the Year Best New Sport Compact Award. For the same year the S40 was also elected as the South African Car of the Year by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists.
Wile the majority of its components along with its chassis were developed by Volvo, very similar mechanical components can be found on the European Ford Focus and the Mazda3. The latest generation of Volvo's 5 cylinder engines, a 2.5L 5-cylinder had been continually developed by Volvo since the debut of the engines in the 850 in 1993. The 2.4, 2.4i and the top of the line S40 T5 AWD continues to be made by Volvo. The AWD system is bought from Haldex of Sweden while the transmission is developed through GETRAG of Germany.
One of several variants of the S40, the S40 T5 features a 2.5 L five-cylinder fuel injection with a light-pressure turbocharger. A DOHC design, the valvetrain has four valves per cylinder. Following in the tradition of the first generation, the engine is transversely mounted at the front of the vehicle and drives the front wheels.
For the 2008 model year the Volvo S40 was updated and now featured a sporty new look along with updated premium feel. Newly updated audio systems were showcased, along with rapidly growing storage space in the new S40. New safety features that included Emergency Brake Lights which flash rapidly during hard braking to alert traffic behind the vehicle was now added. Optional Active Bi-Xenon headlights which point the light beam in the direction of the road as it curves, was also added.
Now achieving an output of 227 hp, the T5 engine received a performance increase of 9 hp. Halfway through the 2007 the D5 engine became available with a manual gearbox now offering 400 Nm of torque instead of the automatic transmission's 350 Nm.
While the current S40 is based on the C30, the new S40 will be based on the new C2 platform.By Jessica Donaldson