Love it to bits, but seriously flawed, be prepared for big bills
Rear main oil seal
Drivers seat split and wearing
Track rod ends
Rear suspension mount
Front disks and pads
Turbo boost controller valve
Front O2 sensor
This car IS a real head turner, especially with the Comet wheels. The C70 MK1 still looks beautiful today, especially the less popular coupe, of which I believe only 5000 were made. The car is quite exclusive, being designed by Tom Walkinshaw racing and hand built by Volvo (pre-Ford) in Sweden, no-where near as common as the Mercedes SLK.
The 5 cylinder HPT engine has plenty of grunt and a very meaty 5 cylinder growl. However, the T5 is quick, but not THAT quick: it's not the M3 killer it was initially made out to be for several reasons: 0-60 is under 7 seconds in the T5 but the M3 and S4 beat it hands down. Off the mark during normal driving a C70 can feel VERY sluggish and lacking in torque - don't be surprised to see little shopping trolleys zooming past you when pulling off at roundabouts etc. However, these ARE good engines, currently re-engineered for the Focus ST and various more modern cars. The turbo boost (and lag) from a T5 is quite significant and this has quite a bearing on the seemingly sluggish 0-60 time. The turbo kicks in at around the 3500 rev mark with a fair bit of lag before you get a real kick in the back. You could boot one of these from a stand, but the combination of front wheel drive, lack of grip and zero to swathes of power means that all that power is wasted in serious, tyre damaging wheel spin.
These cars have a reputation for torque steer and while there's some there, it's not as bad or as frightening as you'd expect, although, obviously there is some loss of control.
So these aren't really sports cars at all: the front wheel drive setup, suspension balance, weight distribution, power delivery, chassis (derived from the very old 850/S70) etc etc is simply not up to the job. These cars do not corner particularly well and they can feel very unstable at speed. In fact, making no bones about it, the front end set up on the C70 is quite crude, nasty and horrible.
Where all the power comes in though is for everyday driving and overtaking. Power delivery between 40 and 100+ (watch out for cameras as make no mistake, this is a VERY quick car that will top 150 and your apparent speed when driving can be very deceptive) is terrific. There's plenty of power and torque to get you quickly and safely past the vehicle in front.
As previously mentioned, the overall suspension setup on the C70 is not the greatest. Mine also has sports suspension, which doesn't really make things better. You get a harder, less comfortable ride, but there's no sharpness in the handling. On the 17" rims these cars are also prone to very bad 'tramlining' which is down to front suspension/steering geometry, tyre radius to width ratio, rubbish roads etc. Lumps, bumps and ridges in the road pull the front end of the car all over. Even with brand new tyres, pumped up to the maximum recommended 36psi (the tramlining gets worse at lower psis) the tramlining effects are considerable and really not very nice at all.
C70s are also notorious for various clunks, knocks, bangs and grinding sounds from both the front and rear suspension. Has anyone mentioned the turning circle? Especially with the 17" rims? Absolutely pathetic! Car parks are an absolute nightmare: there are very few spaces you can drive straight in. Get practicing your reversing (while hanging out of the door because you can't see back there) and praying that no-one parks near enough to your front that you can't get out again. 4 point turns to get in and out of multi-storey ramps is the norm, just don't expect Hilda in her Citroen Saxo right up your back-end to understand when you start reversing at her. Be prepared to get pipped at a lot. Did I mention mini roudabouts?
Inside the car is very nice. There's nothing earth shattering about the interior which is now starting to look dated, but it's very functional, well made and comfortable (best seats ever?). However the leather doesn't seem to weather very well, even when cleaned regularly and conditioned well, the seats (mainly drivers) are wearing and splitting. The steering wheel is a nightmare to keep clean and most end up sticky and gunk-filled.
As with most coupes it's quite difficult for people to get in and out of the back. My seats are manual, which is one plus point as the electric ones are too slow. Why Volvo didn't allow the front seats to slide further forwards I don't know because it certainly looks possible.
The stereo is fantastic, probably one of the best sounding stock stereos out there. However, the CD changers are absolutely lousy and break with tremendous regularity (I've given up on mine). The Alpine head unit isn't equiped with the facility for line-ins so it's either a case of swapping out the stereo (most people would want to keep the original installed) or going for one of the MP3 retrofits that are now available.
While the car itself is now becoming very affordable to buy second- hand do not be fooled, this is a very expensive car to run. When the car is running properly you can expect around 30 miles to the gallon on straight runs if you don't boot it too often. When it's not running properly, which will be often, you can expect 18 to 20 MPG and worse for stop-start motoring. Where things fall down is the costs of repairs etc. There doesn't seem to be a week that goes by without something breaking or wearing out. Servicing costs are not cheap, it may have only cost you £4000 to £10000 to buy one second hand, but this is still a £30000 plus motor and you can expect to be either under your bonnet or driving to and from the garage with alarming regularity. Buy an engine code reader: you're going to need one. Join the various Volvo forums out there: there are some very good ones and everyone is really friendly, helpful and generous.
So, do I like this car...
In spite of everything (yes I AM mad), it's a resounding YES. Why? How many relatively exclusive, beautiful looking, hand-built, 'race developed', 150mph plus, 4 seater coupes can you buy in superb condition for less than £7000??? Just don't expect sports handling or the myth of Volvo reliability, yes I'm sure the car will run to 200,000 miles and last 20 years, but I will have replaced every component in it 4 times over.
Would I buy one again? Probably not.
Oh...and 'The Saint ' was ruddy awful so no cache there.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 29th September, 2007