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Headline:The all-new Volvo S40Date:12/09/2003   (Click Here for more details).News
Review:Premium compact saloon: Design, Style and Desirability  

At its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show, further details of the all-new Volvo S40’s modern interior, driving dynamics, engine range and advanced safety and environmental credentials are now available. Highlights include:

  • Modern interior: world-first ‘floating’, ultra-thin centre console
  • 50 mm shorter than its predecessor, but taller and wider with extended track and wheelbase for excellent handling and premium, large car feel
  • New generation, powerful and economical engines:
    Diesel: 1.6 (110 bhp); 2.0-litre (136 bhp), four cylinder engines
    Petrol: 1.6 (100 bhp); 1.8 (120 bhp), four cylinder engines

2.4i (170 bhp); T5 (220 bhp), five cylinder engines

  • New safety feature: IDIS – Intelligent Driver Information System
  • Available in S and SE trim
  • Available to order from 1 October 2003
  • Expected in showrooms February/March 2004

Smaller and Younger, but a Grown-up Competitor

Although 50 mm shorter than its predecessor, the all-new Volvo S40 has grown in terms of design, style, desirability and competitiveness, and has all the large car features from Volvo’s S60 and S80 saloons in a premium compact format.

As well as class leading safety standards, the Volvo S40 now offers such desirable extras as integrated telephone, satellite navigation and Volvo’s IAQS (Interior Air Quality System), and is expected to appeal to younger buyers, with a quarter of customers in the pre-family stage.

With a wider track and longer wheelbase, the new Volvo S40 virtually puts a wheel at each corner for better on-road stability, more interior space and large car feel.

Dimensions of the new S40:


4468 mm

- 48 mm shorter


1770 mm

+ 54 mm wider


1452 mm

+ 44 mm taller


2640 mm

+ 78 mm longer

Track – front

1535 mm

+ 63 mm wider

Track – rear

1531 mm

+ 57 mm wider

The S40’s crisp, sporty lines create a boat-shaped profile from above, with its smooth, curved front and V-shaped bonnet leading to a broader mid-ship and narrower stern. Together with the typical Volvo broad shoulders and cab-forward design, this also maximises interior space and gives the new S40 excellent aerodynamics.

'From the side the new Volvo S40 gives the impression of a comet on the move. The gently rounded nose, sweeping lines and abrupt tail generate a vibrant sensation of speed,' says Volvo’s Design Director, Henrik Otto.

In addition, a range of optional styling accessories will be available for the new S40 to enhance its sporty and dynamic appearance, including body-coloured front and rear spoilers, side skirts and a kit to lower the body by 20 mm.

Smart and Innovative Interior

While the all-new S40’s dynamic exterior is an evolution of Volvo’s stylish, modern bodystyles, its interior is quite a revolution with a unique, ‘floating’ centre console that’s ultra-thin to offer extra interior storage space behind. It is inspired by classic, uncluttered Scandinavian design and high-tech, quality cameras and audio systems.

The slimline centre stack is available in different finishes. A dark grey ‘Bauxite’ finish is standard on ‘S’ models, while in ‘SE’ models there’s a choice of aluminium, wood-effect or an ‘Iced-Aqua’ translucent finish.

'The dashboard’s centre panel is the ultimate style icon of the car and a revolution in itself,' says its designer, Guy Burgoyn. 'It required considerable ingenuity and hard work to find a technical solution for this super-slim format.'

A choice of three interior colour schemes and upholstery options includes leather as standard on SE models, while a new ‘Dala’ upholstery will be available with a ribbed textile and visible light-coloured seams and ‘T-Tec’ – a material inspired by modern sportswear and travel accessories.

New Generation Engines

The all-new S40 range will offer a comprehensive range of six engines in the UK, ranging from 1.6-litre petrol and diesel units, to the range-topping, 220 bhp, five-cylinder T5:


No of cylinders















100 bhp

120 bhp

170 bhp

220 bhp


145 Nm

160 Nm

230 Nm

320 Nm


winter 2004

spring 2004

from launch

from launch


1.6 D

2.0 D





110 bhp

136 bhp


240 Nm

340 Nm


winter 2004

from launch

The new turbocharged diesel engines, developed through a joint Ford/PSA programme, have a six-speed gearbox and feature the latest, second generation common rail technology for maximum economy and low emissions. A Euro IV version with particulate filter will be available in 2004.

For the ultimate in premium refinement and performance in its class, the new S40 gains two of Volvo’s transverse, in-line, five-cylinder petrol engines – the 2.4i with 170 bhp, and the sporty T5 with a 220 bhp, 2.5-litre engine, low-pressure turbocharger, and a six-speed gearbox.

Volvo will also be introducing environmentally friendly Bi-Fuel engines for the S40 saloon range, able to run on petrol as well as gas.

Safety and Security

  • IDIS – unique Intelligent Driver Information System
  • Crash tested at least 40 times in Volvo’s advanced Safety Centre
  • New, patented frontal structure
  • 68% greater torsional rigidity than the current S40
  • Seat belt reminder for rear seats
  • Laminated side windows

The new S40 introduces Volvo’s IDIS – Intelligent Driver Information System – which helps the driver from being distracted when full attention is required.

The IDIS continuously monitors the driver’s level of activity by registering steering wheel movements, acceleration, braking, indicators in use, etc. Then, when it registers that the traffic or driving situation requires the driver’s full attention and concentration, for example when overtaking or braking, signals from the integrated GSM telephone (if fitted) and certain peripheral information or functions not essential to safety are delayed until the situation is calmer.

The safety challenge with a compact car is to absorb the necessary deformation in a crash in a smaller total distance compared to a larger car. After exhaustive testing at its acclaimed Safety Centre, Volvo achieved this by dividing the front structure of the new S40 into several zones and using four grades of high strength steel, with the aim of keeping the passenger compartment as intact as possible in most accidents.

Safety has also been improved with a stronger, reinforced body with 68 per cent greater torsional rigidity, larger side airbags to provide more effective protection at hip and chest height, whilst the new S40’s extra width creates added space for the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) to work more effectively.

The new Volvo S40’s seats are sturdier than those usually found in the compact segment, and are a particularly robust design. They are designed to withstand high loads from items such as unrestrained luggage, with the strength and flexibility to cope with severe crashes, while the front seats also feature Volvo’s WHIPS (Whiplash protection system) to help avoid neck injuries in a rear-end collision.

Pedestrians and other road users are also taken into account with the new S40 designed with a smooth, curved front to reduce the risk of injuries. An energy-absorbing structure ahead of the front bumper helps to reduce the risk of leg injuries, while the bonnet and front wings are also designed to absorb collision energy together with a generous 70mm gap between the engine and bonnet to help reduce the risk of head injuries.

Volvo’s holistic view of safety also includes personal security and so after close co-operation with the motor insurance repair research centre at Thatcham, the new S40 is equipped with a number of protective functions, such as an audio system fitted as an integral part of the on-board electrical system, electronic immobiliser, electronic anti-theft marking, plus the new option of laminated side windows for enhanced protection against break-ins. This is a fitting feature for a premium sector car and rarely available in the compact sector.

Environmental Benefits

  • PremAir
  • Oko-Tex emissions-free interior
  • Pollen filter
  • 85 % recycling rate
  • IAQS (Interior Air Quality System)

Like all other Volvos, the S40 has excellent environmental credentials, including a clean and healthy interior for its driver and passengers thanks to a standard pollen filter and Volvo’s ‘Clean Inside and Out’ programme. This features Volvo’s advanced IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) which automatically keeps the air inside the car cleaner than that outside, and an emissions-free and allergy-free interior thanks to upholstery and fittings that are ‘Oko-Tex’* certified.

Further development of the low-friction petrol engines means they run on a leaner mixture for better fuel economy and emissions**. Meanwhile, no less than 85 per cent by weight of the S40’s materials can be recycled, with plastic components marked to facilitate recycling and recycled felt and wood used for certain interior trim items.

The five-cylinder engines sport Volvo’s PremAir system that uses a catalytic coating on the radiator that converts up to 75 per cent of ozone passing through it into clean oxygen.

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