New Volvo S40 and V50 more dynamic looks and liberated storage space

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  • Increased differentiation between the S40 and V50
  • New S40 front with lower, broader stance
  • Sportier new grille creates a tougher V50 look
  • Slimmer tail lamps and new rear bumper
  • Larger and more practical storage space
  • New real wood inlay – Nordic Light Oak
  • Three levels of dynamic sound systems
  • All sound systems now with AUX socket for iPod / MP3

The new Volvo S40 and V50 arrive in the market with considerably refined design, and with a range of new features which further sharpens their competitive edge in the quest for discerning young car buyers.

A number of distinctive design cues take the new Volvo S40 a visual step closer to the new S-range look as first shown on the all-new Volvo S80. At the same time, the V50 approaches the new V-range without compromising on its original compact and sporty attributes.

“When it comes to the exterior, we’re aiming for increased differentiation between the two models. The interior refinements have focused on liberating smart storage space,” says Volvo Cars design director Steve Mattin.

Starting with the new S40, the source of the inspiration can be seen clearly when the compact sedan is viewed from the front.

The new colour-coordinated soft nose creates a broader, lower stance thanks to a new grille with a larger Volvo iron mark, new headlamps and a lower air intake that sweeps across the entire front unlike the current model’s three-part design.

“The new, lower and more horizontal appearance radiates smooth power. This impression is reinforced when the car is seen from the side. At the rear, it is the shape of the new tail lamps and the new bumper that further boost the dynamic appearance,” says Steve Harper, platform chief designer at Volvo Cars responsible for the new Volvo S40 and V50.

Sportier V50 grille
The new black egg-crate grille with its larger Volvo iron mark emphasises a sporty language. The new headlamps and the three sculpted lower air intakes are other details that give the new colour-coordinated soft-nose V50 front an increased impression of solidity.

“Here, we’ve created visual vertical elements in order to further emphasise the new grille,” says Harper.

Slimmer tail lamps
The lower part of the tail lamp panel on both the S40 and V50 is 30 millimetres higher than before and the lamps themselves have an entirely new graphic layout. The brake lights are now of LED type and the position marker lamps emphasise the car’s shoulders.

The new bumper features integrated reflectors in the lower corners and the lower, broader design language is supplemented with the more horizontal lines of the exhaust tailpipe.

“The improved shape and position of the exhaust tailpipes is a good example of how a little extra visual touch can create a highly potent impression,” says Harper.

Freeing up storage space
When refining the interior, the design team transformed itself into something of a liberation movement for storage space.

“The criticism of the current models’ limited storage space served as high-octane fuel when the time came to sketch the new interior of the S40 and V50. We weren’t entirely satisfied until we felt we had exploited every single available cubic centimetre in an efficient way,” relates Harper.

The team concentrated its efforts on two areas: the door sides and the centre stack.
The entire lower part of the front door inside panels was redesigned. The audio system loudspeakers were reshaped to free up space for a new, larger storage compartment with space for an A4 format book, an upright soft drinks can or a water bottle lying down.

As an added bonus, space was also freed up for an extra Dynaudio loudspeaker (only for Premium Sound), which adds even more spice to the audio experience (see section on sound systems elsewhere).

Larger and more intelligent centre console
The already iconic super-slim centre console is available in additional decor versions such as the Nordic Light Oak real wood inlay, and the theme now flows smoothly with similar elegant soft curvature surfaces all the way to the rear seat.

The storage space between the seats has also been refined with the help of Scandinavian design tradition’s most renowned hallmark – smart functionality.

The handbrake has a more compact design, which in turn has freed space for more generous storage capacity.

Sliding cover and flexible armrest
The sliding cover over the larger storage compartments, in which there are also two holders that provide secure support for large and small cups, is complemented by an improved flexible armrest for the driver. This also has a built-in feature that the design team playfully call the “hamburger table”.

“We’ve even utilised the small spaces that are usually simply covered over when they’re not housing controls for options or accessories. Now instead, the space has been converted into a handy compartment, for instance for a mobile phone. After all, the phone is not something we should be using while driving, anyway,” says Harper, “and on the back of the console there is another little jewel: a flip-up holder for a 1.5-litre bottle within easy reach of passengers in the rear-seat.”

New upholstery
New design details in the instrument panel and air vents also contribute to the interior refinement in the new S40 and V50.

The upholstery range has been expanded for more exclusive options, for instance with a new, finer grained leather, says Harper.

Advanced sound systems adds to premium character
Volvo Cars has built a reputation for the excellent sound systems in its vehicles – a feature that enhances the premium character of the cars in which it offers superior entertainment.

The various derivatives in the S40 and V50 ranges come standard with two of the three levels of Volvo sound systems. The third, top-tier system can be specified as optional equipment. The sound systems are:

Performance
The Performance sound system, which is standard equipment in the Volvo S40 and V50 2.0. 2.0D and 2.4i, is equipped with a front and rear pair of loudspeakers with an impedance of 4 Ω. There are also 2 front tweeters with an impedance of 15 Ω.

It has a single CD player and is now also equipped with an auxiliary (AUX) input socket that can be connected to an external music player, such as an iPod or MP3 player, to route the sound via the car’s loudspeaker system. The AUX socket uses a 3,5 mm stereo connector and is located in the tunnel console

High Performance
The High Performance sound system, fitted in the flagship S40 and V50 T5 and D5 derivatives, boasts a 2-way loudspeaker system with bass/mid-range and separate tweeters, and a 4 x 40 W amplifier. The system comprises a total of 8 speakers, with an impedance of 2 Ω for the bass/mid range speakers and 5 Ω for the tweeters. They are mounted in the front and rear doors.

A 6 x CD player and an AUX socket which is housed in the tunnel console, where you can store your CDs, iPod or MP3 player, completes this powerful system.

Premium Sound
The sound fundis would probably vouch for the optional Premium Sound system with a digital amplifier from Alpine, Dolby® Pro Logic II Surround and loudspeakers from Dynaudio of Denmark, including separate bass, midrange and tweeter speakers.

The rear loudspeakers are a 2-way loudspeaker system with bass/midrange and separate tweeters. To increase the sound quality, there is a 2-way central loudspeaker with an impedance of  4 Ω mounted in the instrument dashboard. The bass loudspeakers have an impedance of 4 Ω , the mid-range loudspeakers 8 Ω, and 6 Ω for the tweeters.

Different sound profiles can be chosen with the Premium Sound system. The sound can either be optimised for the driver, for both front seat passengers or for the rear seat passengers. Depending on the selected sound profile, the noise levels, reverb and equalizer settings are adjusted for the different loudspeakers to provide the best possible sound for the selected places.

USB/iPod interface an optional sound accessory
The Accessory USB Unit (AUU), which can be ordered as an optional feature to be integrated with the sound system, acts as an interface between the infotainment system and the external USB devices that support USB 2.0.

Examples of USB are MP3 players, handheld computers and portable USB memories which can store music or other audio files. The AUU supports the media formats MP3, WAV and WMA.

The AUU is located next to the glovebox, and the USB port, which is directly connected, is located in the tunnel console. The AUU has functions for:

  • Next track/previous track;
  • Fast search forward/backward;
  • Random playback (random); and
  • Systematic search (Scan)