The new Volvo C70 started its life as a coupe. Then the design team, headed by Fedde Talsma took the roof away. One car became two. "Both cars" are, however, among the leaders in safety and styling and fun to drive.
A convertible is usually designed as an open car. A roof is then crafted on to it, with a result that is not always pleasing to the eye. At Volvo Cars, the design team did exactly the opposite when working on the new C70. They created a sporty coupe and then converted it into an attractive convertible. Because the secret is to make the car look at its best irrespective of whether the top is up or down.
The first generation Volvo C70 Convertible was originally launched in 1997 and featured a design that was very appealing at the time, a design that has stood up well against time. It was discontinued in March 2005 after nearly 50,000 cars had been sold worldwide. In fact, the last year of production was also the best year sales-wise, with 8,000 units, which clearly proves the point of a well executed design.
Another lesson that was learned from the first generation of convertibles was that for a newcomer in the segment like Volvo is, it takes at least one generation of cars to really get yourself established in the premium convertible segment.
The reasons for retaining the "C70 Convertible" designation for the new car were that:
2006 Volvo C70
A strong profile with an innovative interior
The new Volvo C70 convertible is shorter and lower than its predecessor but retains the same width. This in combination with the relatively short front overhang gives the car a powerful stance. A fact that becomes very apparent when the car is viewed from the side.
This is also enhanced by the shoulder line which is drawn up towards the rear of the car and which not only gives an impression of dynamism, but also reinforces the feeling of a protective band that runs behind the rear seat passengers. In true Volvo fashion, all four corners of the car are rounded, further enhancing the "human touch".
The interior of the new C70 is marked by Volvo's modern, innovative design features, inspired by Scandinavian tradition with clean surfaces, genuine materials and good functionality. Inspiration has been drawn more from Scandinavian product design than pure car design.
The super-thin, visually floating centre 'stack', known from the Volvo S40, is also featured in the new Volvo C70 and its panel can now be varied according to the customer's wishes with three different appearances.
A special optional upholstery has also been developed for the new Volvo C70. Vulcaflex is a synthetic material with an exciting surface structure and a high-tech feeling. Vulcaflex is used both in combination with textile and with soft leather.
The new generation of Volvo C70 convertibles has a retractable steel hardtop rather than a soft hood. The reasons for choosing a steel roof were:
Designing and developing a three-piece retractable hardtop, a small mechanical wonder in itself, is no easy task. A durable and reliable technical design with a maximum operation limit of 30 seconds and a perfect fit in place both when up or down had to be matched together into a perfect solution. All features that are taken for granted by the customer who rightly expects comfort and effortless operation.
After a thorough investigation of industry expertise, this complicated work was entrusted to Italian master coachbuilder Pininfarina. Not only did Pininfarina develop a roof mechanism that is a technical masterpiece, the company will also be responsible for the production of the car in the jointly-owned - Pininfarina with 60 percent and Volvo Cars with 40 percent - Pininfarina Sverige AB plant in Uddevalla, Sweden.
After some nine years spent on becoming an established player in the premium segment for open cars and having built up a considerable body of knowledge and consolidating Volvo Cars' credibility even further, the expectations are to double sales compared with the first generation's best year.
The annual sales target for the new Volvo C70 is estimated at some 16,000 cars. The US market will account for about half the volume with the UK and Germany sharing some 30 percent between them. The remaining 20 percent will be distributed between a number of other markets. According to Volvo Cars' research and statistics, every second C70 convertible will be owned by a woman.
Emotion and Sophistication
Few if any other car type is as emotional as a convertible. It is a type of car that radiates an active lifestyle, youth and fun rather than pragmatic properties like practicality, functionality and common sense. But with the new Volvo C70, there is no need to set these rationales aside. It offers the best of both worlds.
In the beginning, cars were open because there was no other option. If you rode in a car, you were exposed to the elements. Closed car bodies did not appear until the early 1900s. A hundred years later, cars are open for the sake of pure fun. And fun is the key element when it comes to the new Volvo C70. A car that is fun to drive and to live with. In an intelligent way.
Buying a car is a big investment and the deal is usually preceded by a good deal of rational reasoning. But a convertible is bought with the heart whereas most other cars are bought with the brain. The purchase of a convertible is largely governed by emotions rather than concrete facts. However loaded with emotions, the C70 has a lot of "brainy" common sense in it too. Clever fun at its best.
A person who chooses a Volvo C70 convertible should not have to make a lot of compromises. There is room for people, and there is room for people's needs.
The Volvo C70 is a full-grown four-seater. It may not be the first retractable hardtop in history, but it has the first three-piece top on a full four-seater in the premium segment. Getting the top down is a less than 30-second operation when the car is stationary.
Because the new Volvo C70 seats four adults, every consideration has been made in order to ensure that rear seat travel is a pleasant and comfortable experience.
The two rear seats have comfortably angled backrests with generous space to the sides, and ample room for the legs too. With a practical control on the backrest, the front seats are moved forwards for easy entry to the rear seat.
Good use has been made of every centimetre in the car to enhance passenger comfort. Despite the compact dimensions of the car there is ample space and room for personal effects.
Locking your stuff away
In the passenger compartment there are spacious storage areas beside each seat. Several of them are linked to the car's central locking system for convenient locking using the remote control. In addition, a completely new system is being launched - Private Locking - whereby certain areas can be locked with the key from the glove compartment. Private Locking is particularly useful when the car is parked with the roof down.
The remote control alarm system can be activated with the top up or down.
The boot is very spacious for a convertible of this size. It has a 400-litre capacity with the roof up - two big suitcases or golf bags - and 200 litres with the roof down. A practical boot divider makes it easy to assess how much can be loaded with the roof down. To facilitate loading and unloading when the roof is down, the whole roof package is lifted up at the touch of a control button.
A 'through-hatch' in the backrest of the rear seat also makes it possible to transport long objects like skies inside the car.
No ruffled hair...
A convertible is of course at its best with the top down and should be enjoyed that way. But there used to be a price to pay for that pleasure. Draughts, leaks, stiff necks and cold feet used to be convertible key words in the past. Today, even the most carefully arranged coiffure will stay intact in a Volvo C70 thanks to the attention paid to cabin comfort even with the top down.
An accessory windblocker does the trick by "sealing off" the front seats from the turbulence that always occurs behind the windscreen. By covering the entire area behind the front seat backs, like a deck lid, and using a semi-permeable barrier, the wind-stream is broken and the car becomes a sporty two-seater with excitingly good looks.
...or glowing feet
For those who want to feel the fresh air even in poor weather, the climate system will take care of this. Where the open sports car of yesterday gave its occupant freezing heads and glowing feet, the system in the new C70 can be fine-tuned according to taste and choice, no matter whether the top is up or down. The Electronic Climate Control allows the temperature and other adjustments to be set separately and maintained regardless of ambient conditions.
Pleasant for mind and body
To make life even more pleasant, especially for those with asthma or allergies, there is a cabin filter and an advanced air-quality monitoring system that ensures that the air you breathe is as clean as possible. This is done by shutting out unhealthy particles, gases and odours.
All interior fabrics also meet the Öko-Tex Standard 100 which is a standard that ensures that textiles and leather are free from allergy-inducing substances, health-impairing ingredients and harmful emissions.
The interior details have been tested in view of contact allergies, complying with nickel leakage requirements for jewellery. For your well-being.
Secure and Safe
Security and safety are key elements in every Volvo car. The new C70 is no exception. Safe when you need it, secure as you want it. For the convertible, innovation has taken a couple of new steps forward.
A secure and safe open car may seem like a paradox. Not with the new Volvo C70 though. It has been developed to be one of the safest convertibles on the market in terms of preventive safety, protective safety and security.
Steel roof security and a light in the dark
The retractable hardtop offers the Volvo C70 owner a dual experience: the pleasure of driving with the top down and the comfort and security of a well-appointed passenger compartment. The steel roof helps reduce the risk of a break-in.
The rear screen - made of real glass and electrically heated - is significantly larger than the screen in most convertibles for better rearward visibility and improved body rigidity when the roof is up. And up it goes in less than 30 seconds.
Security for Volvo means feeling safe in and around the car. That is why the Volvo C70 convertible also offers a number of personal security solutions. When approaching or leaving the car in the dark, the headlights can be activated for 30 seconds to light up the way, and the door mirrors provide ground lighting around the car to facilitate your movements in the dark.
A panic button on the remote control also provides an extra feeling of security outside the car.
Security in the new Volvo C70 also includes the possibility of locking away your possessions. Several of the car's storage areas are linked to the car's central locking system for convenient locking using the remote control. A completely new system - Private Locking - is also being launched, whereby certain areas can be locked with the key from the glove compartment. Private Locking is particularly useful in a convertible parked with the roof down.
The Volvo C70 has many innovative safety features and solutions. Some of them unique for an open car. The lack of a roof is compensated for with new technology.
Extensive knowledge about the type of accidents convertibles are exposed to and how protection should thus be built up, governed the safety development work of the Volvo C70. However, it is equally important to prevent accidents and provide a strong feeling of security.
The new Volvo C70 has an extensive system of safety solutions that contribute to safer driving, most of them standard. If, despite all this, an accident should occur, a series of protection systems come into play.
The aim was that the new Volvo C70 should offer the same effective side impact protection as other Volvo models. But without a fixed roof, alternative solutions had to be found.
For optimum protection in a side impact, Volvo's Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) has been developed still further. In a side collision, the B-pillar (the car's middle section) is subjected to considerable force. The force is directed up into the roof structure. But this is not possible in a convertible since the pillars end at the top of the doors. Side impact protection must therefore be built up somewhat differently.
The impact forces need to be transferred elsewhere into the body structure, where an integrated system of members and reinforcements interact to keep the passenger compartment as intact as possible.
The Volvo C70 has reinforced B-pillars that are linked to each other through five strong transverse floor members. A deformation box between each B-pillar and the transverse members also helps to absorb the collision forces. The sills have a special profile and since they are raised behind the B-pillars, they offer even better protection, even if the other vehicle happens to be bigger.
The doors play an important role in side impact protection. They have diagonally mounted steel beams to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment and are designed to remain closed when they are subjected to collision forces. The forces are distributed effectively, both forwards and backwards, into the body structure. The transverse members in front of the passenger compartment and a horseshoe-shaped member behind the rear seat transfer the forces to the opposite side of the car's body, reducing the risk of passenger compartment intrusion.
SIPS interacts with the world-first door-mounted inflatable curtain (IC) for both enhanced side impact and roll-over protection.
In the new Volvo C70, the IC is of a unique design. Since there is no fixed roof to which the curtain can be attached, it is mounted in the door and is directed upwards when activated instead of moving downwards. Therefore it has a stiff construction with double rows of slats, slightly offset in relation to each other. This allows it to remain upright and offer effective head protection even with the window open. The curtain also deflates slowly to provide protection should the car roll over. A unique solution in the automotive world.
The IC interacts with the seat belt pretensioners - on all four seats - to help provide maximum protection for the front seat occupants in a side impact or rollover accident. In addition to the inflatable curtain, the front seat occupants have side impact airbags, the size of which is adapted to cover both the chest and hip areas.
Improved roll-over protection
The all new Volvo C70 has very stable roadholding thanks to a dynamic, compliant chassis and a very rigid body. The risk of a roll-over is therefore limited but can not be ignored.
Without a fixed roof, the demands on the windscreen pillars - the A-pillars - are particularly high. These are made from Extra High Strength Steel in order to withstand very high forces in an advanced production method - so-called hydro-forming. A hydro-formed profile can be designed in one piece with varying shape and thickness along its length. The C70's A-pillars are optimally shaped without any joints or sharp angles and they run all the way down to the body sills.
Again, it is the combination and interaction of many elements that provide the high level of protection: The Extra High Strength Steel A-pillars, in combination with seat belt pretensioners, door-mounted ICs and ROPS bars.
The new Volvo C70 has sturdy metal bars that pop up behind the passengers in the rear seat to provide extra protection should the car roll over. They are part of the Rollover Protection System (ROPS) and have been developed further. They have been made stronger and are activated with the aid of a pyrotechnic charge, which means that they now work more quickly.
Front end collisions
The new Volvo C70 has been developed to provide the same high level of safety as a Volvo sedan of the same size. The front structure is divided into zones, each with a different task during deformation. The outer zones account for most of the deformation. The more the collision forces approach the passenger compartment, the less the material is deformed. To ensure that each zone has the right characteristics, the quality of the steel has been varied. Apart from normal body steel, High Strength Steel, Extra High Strength Steel and Ultra High Strength Steel have been used.
In a frontal or offset collision the deformation zones interact with the interior restraint system - dual stage airbags, seat belt pretensioners and load limiters - to help protect the occupants in the most effective way.
Much attention has also been given to rear-end collisions. The rear longitudinal members are deformed in a controlled way and are linked to the body sills for distribution of the collision forces forwards in the body structure. Upwards, the "horseshoe" behind the rear seat and the double steel wall behind the backrest help reduce the risk of intrusion into the passenger compartment. If the roof is down, it acts together with the double wall to absorb collision forces.
The ROPS bars are also activated in the event of a rear-end collision, to reduce the risk of the passengers being hit by flying objects from the car behind.
Volvo's system for avoiding neck injuries - WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) - is one of the most effective on the market and standard in all Volvos. In the event of a powerful rear-end collision the backrest and head restraint will follow the movements of the seat occupant's body.
The new Volvo C70 is great fun to drive and in this context, body structure and chassis components are of paramount importance. The C70 has twice the torsional rigidity of the earlier C70 model thanks to a body structure that has been further developed and reinforced. Rigidity means stability and predictable driving characteristics, making the car easy to control even in unexpected situations.
The chassis design, with its wide track and long wheelbase, also has a positive effect on driving stability. The DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) stabilisation system is standard and corrects the car if there is a tendency to skid.
The Intelligent Driver Information System - IDIS - introduced in 2003 by Volvo Cars is an advanced information system to support the driver. IDIS is standard on the new Volvo C70 and continuously monitors certain functions in the car, such as wheel movement, accelerator pedal movement, indicators and braking. The information is processed and at a certain level of activity, information that is not crucial to safety is held back, such as an incoming telephone call or SMS. This can take place in a situation that IDIS interprets as overtaking or braking.