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Volvo commits to performance C30

Date: 02 March 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Volvo C30 2.0D Sport R-design Powershift

Volvo will make a bid to gain centre stage in the red-hot hatch arena next year with a 300PS, all-wheel-drive version of its C30.

Ford's Swedish brand will ensure that its most overtly performance-related model has sought-after exclusive status by limiting total production over four years to fewer than 4500 cars.

Britain, which traditionally takes a high percentage of performance derivates, should get up to 40% of total output, or 1800 units.

Volvo's three-door hot-hatch, described by a company insider as having "awesome driving dynamics and head-spinning looks" shares the company's highest output, five-cylinder, 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine with Ford's RS Focus.

Unlike the blue oval counterpart, which uses front-drive, Volvo engineers believe the company's safety philosophy dictates using a four-wheel drive powertrain.

With 20-inch wheels and colour-coded brake callipers the as yet un-badged C30 has a special body kit and motorsport seats, as part of a bespoke interior. The C30 range will receive a thorough revamp at the same time.

One possible marketing strategy involves selling limited batches of the cars in striking primary colours with numbered series plates featured in the cabins.

Meanwhile, Volvo is pressing ahead with rationalising its mid-range saloon line-up by producing a BMW 3-series sized S60, which uses the Ford group platform that also underpins Mondeo, Galaxy and S-max plus the new Volvo XC60, S80 and Land Rover Freelander.

The next generation S60 should feature the City Safe anti-tailgating crash intervention system, radar device, which will be standard on the XC60 and arrive one year after the ultimate C30.