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Volvo C70 D5 SE Geartronic

Date: 21 June 2006

Category: Sporting car Price: £29,420-£33,170
Delivery: 11-14 weeks Key rival: BMW 3-series

Volvo is pressing home its advantage as the only premium brand currently selling a convertible with a folding metal roof - by adding a diesel to its ranks. The C70 D5 employs the Swedish manufacturer's five-cylinder turbodiesel, which in this instance produces 180PS as it's tuned slightly differently to that used in other Volvo models.

Mixing a diesel engine with a convertible is nothing new, but the C70 D5 is a pleasant blend of the strengths of each. The 180PS is sufficiently muscular to feel brisk off the line and provides ample performance at higher speeds. It's not as swift as the C70 T5 petrol models, but the diesel makes for long-legged cruising.

For the time being, the C70 D5 is only available with a five-speed automatic gearbox. A six-speed manual will follow in mid-2007, but don't feel shortchanged by the auto as it suits the diesel's nature.


You are aware it's a diesel engine when driving around town, especially with the three-piece roof stowed away. Put the roof up or head onto faster roads and the diesel noise is removed, to leave you to enjoy the car's comfortable, refined manners.

As with the petrol-engined C70s, the D5 has decent space for four, whether the roof is raised or folded. That is a rarity in this class. It also has reasonable luggage capacity; access when the roof is lowered is helped by the button on the inside of the boot's edge, which raises the stowed roof by 25cm to ease loading the boot. It is one of those small details you really come to appreciate.

You will also really appreciate the diesel when you compare it to the petrol-powered C70's higher carbon dioxide emissions. Next to the T5s, the D5 will save you a small amount in BIK, but more obvious will be the savings in fuel consumption. As an auto it has a combined economy of 38.7mpg, while the manual gearbox-equipped T5 manages 31.0mpg.

The D5 also sits in a lower insurance group, which helps make a strong case for the diesel. Volvo believes buyers will think the same and is reckoning on 35% of all C70 sales to be diesel-powered.