ROCKLEIGH, NJ -- Volvo kicked off the 1998 model year in January with the introduction of the new S70 and V70 series, which replaced the 850 sedan and wagon. Far more than just two new names, the models were restyled inside and out, given new safety features and improved road dynamics and comfort. A total of over 1,800 changes make these cars an exciting evolution of the Volvo 850’s award winning concept.

Volvo’s new nomenclature is based on platform designations that denote both the type of model and its series lineage. The letter “S” designates the model as a sedan, while “V,” representing versatility, indicates that the vehicle is a wagon (“C” denotes both coupe and convertible). The number following the letter provides a sense of the platform size. For example, the S90 is larger than the S70, which is in turn larger than the S40, Volvo’s small platform offering, which is not available in North America.

Designing the New Volvo The front and rear of the Volvo S70 have the more rounded, elegant styling which is rapidly becoming the hallmark of the new Volvo.

“The car now feels more complete. We were looking to create a design which felt more powerful and dynamic, a car which radiated the desire to move forward,“ says Peter Horbury, Volvo’s chief designer.

This has been achieved with a new, sloping V-shaped hood which merges with the signature upright grill and new headlights, indicator lights, and bumper. At the rear, the tail lights are larger and the styling of the trunk is more contemporary. Together with the new rear bumper, this creates a more cohesive design.

The Volvo V70 retains its characteristic rear section with no modifications. Horbury explains: “There was no reason to change it. Its design, especially when it comes to the tail lights, is so powerful and well-established that we decided to leave it as it was. The interior space proportions are perfectly suited to the many applications the 850 wagon, and now V70, are called upon to perform. Why tinker with perfection?”

The Volvo S70 and V70 are also entirely color-keyed. In other words, the moldings, rear view mirrors, door handles and bumpers are painted the same color as the car. While the S70’s overall length has increased by 2.4 inches, the color-keying creates the illusion that the car is smaller than its predecessor.

Scandinavian-Style Interior The interior design of the S70 and V70 is also entirely new, intended to create a sense of greater space and comfort. The new front seats offer improved height adjustment and more effective heating, and are upholstered in new patterns. The new dashboard, which can also be found in the exclusive C70 coupe, is characterized by simplicity and functionality in true Scandinavian style. Ergometrically-designed instruments and switches help keep the driver informed without creating visual stress and confusion. Controls were redesigned to make them easier to use and to reinforce the feeling of quality.

Volvo World Famous Safety: Improved for 1998 Volvo, the inventor and patent holder for the three-point seat belt system, has never presented a new model without offering improved safety features. The Volvo S70 and V70 are no exception.

Volvo’s world-famous Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) has been enhanced. The B-pillars, the most important link in the system, have been reinforced in order to help further reduce the risk of severe chest injuries. Additionally, the interior panels on these pillars have been given softer padding to help provide more effective head protection.

The seat belt pretensioners have also been enhanced, enabling them to react more rapidly in certain types of collisions.

More sophisticated methods are being used at Volvo to measure forces acting on the human body in a collision. This has led to the introduction of a new steering column in the S70 and V70 that is split at three points and, as a result, collapses farther away from the driver in the event of certain types of collisions. The risk of knee injuries have also been reduced as the knee guard in the driver’s area now has more space to deform.

Another new safety feature for 1998 is the eye-level Light Emitting Diode (LED) brake light on the rear window. As LED lights come on far more rapidly than a standard light bulb, road users behind the car are given an earlier warning that the brakes are being applied. On the other end of the car, new headlights feature two internal reflectors and illuminate the road with ten percent more light than their 1997 counterparts.

For 1998, all Volvos have the following safety equipment:

Optimized Driving Pleasure
One of the Volvo 850’s most impressive characteristics had been its dynamic handling capabilities. Volvo believes the driver should “feel” the road, since an informed driver is better prepared to react to emergency driving situations.

Volvo has done a considerable amount of work on the S70 and V70 to further improve suspension characteristics. The emphasis has been placed on enhancing comfort while simultaneously improving the platform’s handling characteristics. Even the optional sport suspension has been reworked to enhance driveability without sacrificing comfort. On both the standard and sport suspension-equipped models, this has been achieved by optimizing shock absorber and stabilizer bar characteristics. The patented Delta-Link rear axle adds to the final result: one of the best chassis in the world.

New Engine for 1998
Adding some additional spice to an already ‘red-hot’ offering, all S70 and V70 T5s will have the same high pressure turbocharged engine that made last years 850R a legend. While the actual output remains unchanged, figures reflect a slight numerical change owing to a conversion to US unleaded fuel standards and is rated at 236 hp,. The biggest change has been in the area of torque output, which has been increased by 22 lb/ft over the 1997 “R” engine and now pumps out 243 lb/ft of torque. Also, for the first time, all T5s will be available with either a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic transmission.

The base S70 and V70 engine is naturally aspirated with 168 horsepower and is available with either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The S70 and V70 GLT features a High Torque/Low Rev (HT/LR) engine with 190 horsepower and 199 lb/ft of torque that is available at 1800 rpm.

New Family Of All-Wheel-Drive V70’s
Tracking straight for the SUV market, Volvo introduces an entire family of versatile V70 all-wheel-drive Sportswagons. While SUVs are known for their take-off traction on slick or loose road surfaces, they also come with a host of drawbacks. Built on it’s proven V70 Sportswagon platform, Volvo has melded its famous safety engineering and luxurious passenger comforts and added cutting edge all-wheel-drive technology to build an almost unstoppable Sportswagon.

Three key components direct torque, as needed and without driver intervention, to the wheel that provides best traction in almost any given situation. Up front next to the specially modified automatic transmission is a transfer differential. Just in front of the rear differential is a viscous coupling, the major element of the AWD drive system. Finally the rear drive unit is housed in an independent rear differential assembly similar to the one found in the S90/V90 series. The viscous coupling directs torque to either the front or rear wheels depending on wheel slippage. AWD operation is totally transparent to the driver and in fact is akin to an automatic transmission in its seamlessness.

While SUV advertisements might lead you to believe that we all drive in jungles, ford fjords, and routinely traverse sand dunes, the reality is that most drivers only utilize 4-wheel or all-wheel-drive when road conditions deteriorate making travel difficult. The Volvo system fulfills that need while providing a level of comfort, safety engineering and traditional Volvo values not commonly found in the truck-like offerings, thus making any member of the V70 AWD family an attractive alternative to SUVs.

Created for families that need the added traction capabilities of all-wheel-drive, this versatile wagon has all the same appearances of the two-wheel-drive V70. The only difference in the outward appearance is a ride height of 57.1 inches versus 56.2 inches for its two-wheel counterpart. But under the skin are all the all-wheel-drive components that help propel this V70 through most of what Mother Nature can dish out.

V70 XC
Designed for the outdoor enthusiast who’s weekend aspirations might include boating (to tow their boat, of course), mountain biking, or skiing, this versatile XC (Cross Country) helps traverse many different types of urban and back country roads. Designed for traveling on loose road surfaces, getting to most types of outdoor locations will be easier with the XC. Ground clearance is one inch and ride height is two inches more than the two-wheel V70 variant.

Life in the fast lane just got a little more exciting. The 1995 introduction of the Volvo T5-R pushed Volvo’s performance, speed and handling image far into the red zone. By combining the superior traction of all-wheel-drive with a 236 horsepower high pressure turbo charged engine, the 1998 V70 R AWD is probably the quickest, most sure-footed high performance production Sportswagon ever sold in America.

This limited edition sports a unique interior and exterior trim package that sets this Sportswagon apart from all other Volvo V70’s. The interior features patterned alloy panels surrounding the audio and climate control system, and center console. The upholstery is an exclusive combination of genuine leather, and Alcantara® suede with a stitched-in diamond-style design pattern. The steering wheel is also leather clad and has Alcantara® suede inlays. The V70 R AWD comes in only one color; Saffron - a color available on only one other Volvo; the stunning C70 coupe, and is perhaps one of the most unique colors ever offered on any Volvo. Production is limited to 1,000 wagons.

C70 Coupe
Emblematic of Volvo’s future styling focus, the C70 Coupe brings a new level of elegance and beauty to a brand image synonymous with the word ‘box’. Pure in form, with strong, aggressive overtones, the C70 is as quick as it is agile. Peter Horbury, Volvo Car Corporation’s chief of design lead the team of Hĺkan Abrahamsson and Anders Gunnarsson and created a car that people would desire, not just need. As Horbury states, “This time we threw away the box and kept the toy.” With the 236 horsepower and 243 lb/ft of torque engine from the S and V70 T5, the C70 is powerful enough to take on any super sedan or coupe. The C70 is available with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The C70 goes on sale during the third quarter of 1997 and will carry an manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $38,995.

Personalizing a Volvo
New to the 1998 models, the Volvo S70 and V70 are being sold through a flexible model system in which customers can combine a wide variety of equipment in order to have cars that match individual preferences, needs and budgets.

With the S70 and V70, Volvo is aiming to reach customers with high requirements for design, safety, driving pleasure and quality. Volvo expects its customers to be modern, active people who take responsibility, not simply for themselves but also for other people and for the environment.

The Volvo S70 and V70-New Cars, New Names, New Features August 1997