New V40 aims to one-up the 1 Series
Volvo describes its all-new V40 - due to debut at the Geneva motor show on March 6 - as a premium hatch, aiming it directly at BMW's 1 Series and the Audi A3.
It's the first model developed from the ground up using Volvo's human-centric, ‘Designed Around You’ design language and CEO Stefan Jacoby said bluntly: “It definitely will give our toughest competitors a headache.”
What it isn't, however, is a German clone. The blunt front end and clean, almost austere interior show typical Scandinavian styling cues, while the layout and content of the Jaguar-style, all-graphic instrument panel can be personalised to suit the individual driver.
Jacoby explained: “The new V40 wraps you in a comfortable cockpit with ergonomics and technology that make you feel informed, focused and relaxed.
“This driver-centric approach is what modern Volvos are all about.”
Production of the V40 is scheduled to start in May at the Volvo plant in Ghent, Belgium, and the company is hoping to sell about 90 000 a year, 85 percent of them in Europe.
Expect to see it in South Africa in the first quarter of 2013; local pricing and specification will be announced closer to the time.
Engine options will range from the first Volvo diesel with CO2 emissions of less than 95g/km to a 187kW, turbocharged T5 petrol engine that'll slingshot the new V40 from standstill to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds.
And all of them will come with stop-start function and braking energy regeneration, regardless of whether they have manual or automatic transmission.
The V40's driver aids start with Volvo's pedestrian detection system, which we first saw in 2010 on the S60, with fully automatic braking and several new features - including what Jacoby says is the world's first pedestrian airbag.
The lane-keeping programme now has haptic auto steering, which warns the driver to steer back into the centre of his lane by means of tactile messages, and there's an improved park assist pilot to make parallel parking easier.
The city safety low-speed collision avoidance system has also been further developed and now operates at speeds up to 50km/h.
V40 programme manager Håkan Abrahamsson said: “The V40 is the most intelligent Volvo yet; all its features are designed to help the driver stay alert and well informed to avoid collisions and dangerous situations.”