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The Warsaw Voice » Society » August 2, 2010
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Volvo C70 T5 Summum: Feel the Wind in Your Hair
August 2, 2010   
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The Volvo C70 is no ordinary car. It can morph from a functional four-seater coupé into a sexy convertible in just under 30 seconds at the press of a single button.

A convertible is conventionally described as a four or five-seater soft top with an open body. It is becoming more common, however, to number coupé hard tops whose roofs automatically retract into the trunk, among the ranks of convertibles.

One such vehicle is the Volvo C70. The first generation, which first appeared in 1997, had a soft roof. This was then replaced with a three-part, electrically operated, retractable metal hard top for the new version that came out in 2005. The body was given a makeover in September last year and the results are stunning. With or without a roof, this car has one of the most eye-catching profiles you’ll find anywhere—and I just don’t mean “in its class.”

There are two gasoline and two turbodiesel versions. The model I test-drove came with a T5 five-cylinder 2.5l/230 hp gasoline engine, the most powerful in the range. The car’s engine parameters and light weight enable it to accelerate from standstill to 100 kph in 7.6 seconds and cruise at a top speed of 240 kph. The engine is flexible as well as powerful. The turbocharger will see to it that, whatever gear you happen to be in, the power you need will always be at the ready. You can engage sixth gear when the car hits 70 kph, which is good news if you need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge. Average fuel consumption is 8.9l/100km, according to the manufacturer. The car is a front wheel drive and has a six-speed manual transmission.

The passenger compartment can comfortably seat four adults. The dashboard differs from that of the Volvo S40/V50 in one small but significant detail. There is a small button next to the gear stick that can turn this nifty coupé into a stylish convertible in just under 30 seconds and change it back just as fast. The electronically operated retractable roof fits completely into the trunk. There is a lot of room in the front and back-seat passengers enjoy comparable travel comfort. This is not something you find every day in a coupé-cum-convertible and it came as a bit of a surprise. Even the trunk has oodles of room. Its capacity of 404l is a rarity in this class of vehicle. Unfortunately, squeezing into the back seat of a two-door car can be a minor ordeal.

Convertible passengers are generally more vulnerable to injury in case of collisions and other accidents. Volvo convertibles, like everything else the company makes, are well equipped with every safety system you can imagine, including Volvo’s proprietary Electronic Stability Control System; SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), Volvo’s side impact system comprising six airbags, including curtain airbags; WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System), Volvo’s head and neck protection system; and ROPS (Roll Over Protection Structure). There are also various compartment structures strengthening the body, window frames and headrests to protect passengers in the event of rollover.

The top of the Volvo C70 range in terms of power and extras is the zl.200,000 plus T5 Summum. Fortunately, there are more affordable models out there so there is no need to despair of owning a convertible. Over a million used cars made their way to Poland last year and tens of thousands of them were convertibles. You could become the proud owner of a secondhand BMW3 convertible for around zl.20,000. This might pale a little when compared with the model just reviewed but the affinity with the guy in the Volvo C70 waiting next to you at the lights is palpable and this love of freedom and open space is precisely what unites convertible owners everywhere. When all is said and done, what counts most is the pleasure of driving and feeling the wind in your hair.
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