Available as either a coupe or a soft top convertible, the two-door Volvo C70 was introduced by Volvo in 1997. In 2002 Volvo discontinued the coupe, and in 2005 the soft top was replaced with a retractable hardtop convertible version. The newest model was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1996, and critics received the new model with huge clamor. This newest model featured Volvo's classic safety highlights and incorporated a sporty class that had yet to be seen in Volvo's lineup.
When Volvo began the design of the C70 Coupe, the development work was carried out jointly by Volvo and Britain's TWR to ensure that beautiful looks were combined with performance levels until then unheard of in connection with a Volvo car. With top speed of up to 250 km/h, the C70 Coupe offers maximum performance together with first-class roadholding and the comfort of stellar ergonomics in connection with exclusive interior materials like real leather and genuine wood, along with the most updated audio equipment.
Originally, the first generation of Volvo C70's was equipped with 5-cylinder turbo engines and a choice of either manual or automatic transmission. A collaboration of both American and Mexican designers, the design of the original C70 left behind Volvo's recognizable squared off shape and instead chose a more aerodynamic and chiseled appearance. The first generation of C70 was available in four different colors, featured with two-toned leather upholstery and was manufactured at the Volvo plant in Uddevalla, Sweden.
Volvo was hoping to update its design and move away from its conservative, boxy sedans and station wagons and it did so with the swoopy C70 coupe, Volvo's first coupe body style in seven years. The C70 was based on the front-wheel-drive S70 sedan and V70 wagon and had very similar exterior dimensions, though it featured seating for four instead of five and wore curvier 2-door styling.
The C70 coupe only came with the most powerful version: a turbocharged dual-overhead-cam 2.3-liter that was rated at 236 horsepower, unlike the S70/V70, which offered a choice of three 5-cylinder engines. Though a 5-speed manual transmission was standard, most buyers were expected to take the optional automatic, which had Sport, Economy, and Winter shift modes. Only one well-equipped model went on sale, with standard front and side airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels, antilock brakes, and a power tilt/slide moonroof. Factory options were limited to a firmer sport suspension with 18-inch wheels, along with a package comprising traction control, full leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a 425-watt, 14-speaker audio system.
The C70's main competition was in the BMW 3-Series coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLK and the Lexus SC 300/400. Later during the season a convertible joined the coupe later on. This convertible was equipped with a power top and electrically defrosted glass rear window, while the convertible and ‘base' coupe now used a turbocharged 190-horsepower 2.4-liter engine with automatic transmission. A much sportier coupe model kept the initial 236-horsepower, 2.3-liter 5-cylinder.
For 1999 not much was changed for the Volvo C70 with either the coupe or convertible. The following year both the coupe and convertible went on sale with minimal changes, and once again for the 2001 model year. For 2002 standard rather than optional were traction control and heated front seats. For 2003 the C70 coupe was discontinued and both engines gained 7 horsepower. The following year the Volvo C70's base price was cut by $4245.
The entire dynamic of the C70 was completely changed in 2006. A new futuristic retractable hardtop was introduced rather than continuing with the coupe and soft convertible. The second generation of the Volvo C70's hardtop retracted in a mere 30 seconds (as the majority of complaints that came in were regarding the time it took to retract the hardtop) and was built on the P1 platform. Even more of a jump from Volvo's signature boxy style, the second generation featured curved edges and a new overall sleep appearance. For the 2006 model year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the Volvo C70 the 'Top Safety Pick'.
One of the maker's top sellers, the C70 features a rollover protection system, numerous airbags and elegant styling. The C70 also featured 18 city MPH and 27 highway MPH. The 2008 edition of the C70 featured more storage and meets the highest possible emissions regulations. Also new was the Volvo Navigation System that was built directly into the dash. Starting at a MSRP of $39,240, the Volvo C70 featured a 6-speed manual transmission along with updated traction control.
Between 1996 through 2005, approximately 70,000 Coupes and Convertibles of the C70 models were sold.By Jessica Donaldson