Design Concept

Design Concept  - Overview - Volvo S40

The Volvo S40 is a tribute to Volvo's talented and multi-cultural design teams in Gothenburg, Barcelona and California, who have captured the premium values of a contemporary Volvo saloon in a compact package. It is a dramatic, dynamic shape that asserts its own identity but remains every inch a genuine Volvo.

The exterior of the Volvo S40 can best be described as evolutionary. It draws its inspiration from the larger, award-winning Volvo S60 and S80 saloons, and from the classic Scandinavian design values of elegance and simplicity. The Volvo badge on the centre of the prominent diagonal across the grille is a feature of every Volvo, as are the strong 'shoulders' which enhance the feeling of power and safety. The unique sculptured rear lamp clusters merge seamlessly with the bodywork and are instantly recognisable as Volvo.

But for all its familiarity, the Volvo S40 also manages to assert its own distinct personality. Viewed from above, the body resembles the shape of a boat hull, with a rounded prow, a broad midship section and a narrowing stern. Together with the broad shoulders, this 'hull shape' promotes an impression of power and dynamism as well as contributing to the Volvo S40's excellent aerodynamics: the drag coefficient is Cd 0.31. Unusually in the Volvo range, the doors are convex rather than concave, which maximises the cabin width while emphasising the shape's compact appeal.

The latest Volvo S40 is 48mm shorter than the original, but it is 54mm wider and 44mm taller. The wheelbase, meanwhile, is a mighty 78mm longer, to the benefit of both driving dynamics and passenger accommodation. The latter is also enhanced by the cab-forward profile, which necessitated a short bonnet and some clever mechanical packaging.

While maximising passenger accommodation, the Volvo S40's profile also serves to highlight the car's natural sporting dynamics.

"Anyone looking at the Volvo S40 from the side gets the impression of a comet on the move," says Steve Mattin, Volvo's Design Director. "The gently rounded nose, the sweeping lines and the abrupt tail generate a vibrant sensation of speed."

Customers wishing to emphasise the sporting credentials of their Volvo S40 are offered unique exterior Sport styling accessories - fitted as standard to the R-DESIGN Sport and R-DESIGN SE Sport models. This cleverly integrated bodykit includes front and rear spoilers, side skirts and a boot-lid spoiler, all of which are painted to match the colour of the car.

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