The all new Volvo C70 will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September, and sales will get under way in the first half of 2006.
The car will initially be powered by in-line, five-cylinder engines topped by the turbocharged 2.5 litre T5 that produces 162 kW and offers maximum torque of 320 Nm. This will most likely be the engine of choice for the South African market.
Internationally, there are also two normally aspirated, 2.4-litre engines producing 125 kW and 103 kW. Later during 2006 a 2.4-litre 5-cylinder diesel engine, producing 132 kW, will be available.
"We?ve succeeded in creating an attractive convertible which, at the mere touch of a button, converts into an equally elegant coupe. The customer gets two cars in one. Both with space for four adults," says Volvo Cars president and CEO Hans-Olov Olsson.
The all new Volvo C70 is about the same size as its predecessor, and is a full four-seater. The forward-thrusting nose section gives the car a powerful profile.
"Putting together harmonious lines both with and without a roof is no easy job," says Fedde Talsma, design manager for the all-new Volvo C70.
"We decided to start with the coupe design. When we were satisfied with the result, we made the necessary adjustments to create a convertible out of the coupe lines."
The car was developed to offer new standards of preventive and protective safety in the convertible market.
It has an advanced body structure and several solutions that make it unique among open-top cars.
The lack of a fixed roof has been compensated for by reinforcements and sophisticated technology.
One unique example is the door-mounted Inflatable Curtain (IC),a new feature which is part of the enhanced protection system for side impacts.
Since the IC cannot be fitted in the roof like other Volvos, it is fitted in the door and inflates upwards when it is deployed.
Volvo's safety engineers have fine-tuned the IC to be extra stiff. As a result, it can stay upright and help protect the head effectively. In addition, the curtain deflates slowly to help provide additional protection if the car rolls over. This is a unique solution in the automotive world.
The body structure, in a carefully designed network of beams, not only contributes to the car?s high safety standards, it also gives the body extremely high torsional rigidity - twice as high as that of the previous C70 model.
With the roof up, torsional rigidity increases by a further 10 to 15%.
"A torsionally rigid body is important to the car?s driving behaviour," says C70 project manager Patrik Widerstrand. "It makes the car more stable and easier to control. It also makes the car more dynamic and fun to drive."
The development and manufacture of the new Volvo C70 is the result of a joint venture with renowned Italian company Pininfarina and, like its predecessor, the car will be built in Uddevalla in Sweden.
"Pininfarina is an excellent partner with long experience of developing and building convertibles," says Olsson.
The first-generation C70 Convertible had its best year in 2004 with just over 8 000 cars sold.
"Our all new C70 is one of the first open-top cars in the premium segment with both a steel roof and space for four adults. We believe this is a highly sought-after combination. That?s why we expect to more than double our sales compared with the first-generation C70," says Olsson.