2008 Volvo C30 Rally Car

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The Volvo C30 is a compact car produced by the Volvo division of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group. The C30 is a three-door, four-seat hatchback powered by straight-4 and straight-5 engines. Despite the name, the car is the hatchback / coupe version of the S40/V50/C70 luxury vehicle range and therefore uses the same Volvo P1 platform as its siblings.volvo-c30-rally-1.jpg

Sexy. Playful. Young. Emotional. Not adjectives normally associated with a Volvo. Safe? Conservative? Now those fit the bill. After all, for the past 80 years Volvo has fortified an iron standing of producing cars that are as secure as bank vaults. After eight decades of playing it safe, though, Volvo is ready to let loose. Say hello to the all-new C30 hatchback, the wild child of the Volvo family. Due out next summer, the C30 is a far cry from the typical Volvo. Not only will it be downright affordable–around $23,000 to start–but with four bucket seats, it’s intended more for hauling ass than the family.

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According to chief designer Simon Lamarre, “The C30 isn’t for people with kids. It’s a different kind of a Volvo for a different kind of customer.” In other words, the C30 isn’t meant to be an A-to-B appliance for the Smiths or Joneses, but rather a Gen-Y plaything for Junior. In order to attract young, fickle customers, Volvo has injected the C30 with shots of style and speed. While its front end closely resembles those of the S40 and V50 with which it shares Ford’s C1 platform, its sloping rear end looks avant-garde, bearing a shape unique to modern Volvos.

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We say modern because the C30’s bodacious butt does harken back to that of the P1800ES, a cult-classic wagonette from the early 1970s, not to mention the posterior of the Safety Concept Car from the 2001 Detroit auto show, a showpiece that served as inspiration for the C30. “With the C30, we wanted to recapture the emotion of the SCC,” says Lamarre, “so that meant integrating the signature glass hatch and the broad shoulders.” With those two cues intact, as well as a length of 167.4 inches (8.5 inches shorter than an S40) and a wheelbase of 103.9 inches (identical to the S40’s), the C30 sports short overhangs and an aggressive, fast-forward stance that arguably appears more assertive than the Volkswagen GTI’s.

We mention the GTI because it’ll be the C30’s stiffest competition in the U.S. Wearing a similar price tag ($22,730), the GTI also features a similar spec sheet, which includes a 200-horsepower turbocharged engine, a six-speed manual, a sport suspension, and available 18-inch wheels. To combat the VW, the C30 utilizes the S40 T5’s power train–a 2.5-liter, 218-horsepower turbocharged in line-five and a six-speed manual (a five-speed automatic will be optional)–and front McPherson strut/rear multi link suspension, which has been firmed up with stiffer springs and dampers.

Other than an occasional jar from the suspension of our test car, which had the sport suspension and 18-inch alloys, the C30 felt nearly perfect for its intended segment. Volvo assures us the C30 would be tuned softer for the U.S.

Scribbled on February 29th 2008 in Miscellaneous, Racing, Volvo, Volvo C30 Rally
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