ROCKLEIGH, NJ -- When Volvo introduced the S70 and V70 series in January 1997, the vehicles were seen as major all-round improvements over their predecessors, the award-winning 850 model line. The new cars were dramatically restyled both inside and out with all-new sheet metal and an entirely new interior which features refined Scandinavian styling. The S70 and V70 also offered new levels of overall safety engineering as well as improved road dynamics and comfort. A total of over 1,800 changes were made to make these cars even more successful.

For 1999, Volvo has continued its philosophy of constant improvement through the evolution of design and engineering and the integration of new technologies to existing product lines. Major improvements have been made to the engine and its management systems, the electrical system and to the braking system. Perhaps most importantly, Volvo has once again taken a major step forward in the area of occupant protection with a third-generation upgrade to SIPS, Volvo’s patented, award-winning side impact protection system. Volvo pioneered the side impact air bag, the occupant protection device most widely associated with the system, in 1994.

Volvo's current nomenclature system, which debuted with the 1998 models, is based on platform designations that denote both the type of model and its series lineage. This numbering system continues to expand for 1999 with the introduction of the new S80 series. The letter "S" signifies the model is a sedan, while "V," representing versatility, indicates 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 S80 is larger than the S70, which is in turn larger than the S40, Volvo's small platform offering which is not currently available in North America. The S90 & V90, after a run of nearly 16 years dating back to the 760 series, introduced in 1982, ceased production in the Spring of 1998.

Volvo = Safety: Improved Again for 1999
Nowhere is Volvo’s philosophy of continual evolution more apparent than in the improvements made for 1999 in the areas of both passive and dynamic safety. Those include:

For 1999, the SIPS system has been extensively re-designed to provide enhanced head protection in side impacts. While the lower section of the bag continues to help protect the chest and thorax by limiting the rapid lateral acceleration, which is the primary cause of injury, an upper section has been added to protect the head. This addition helps protect the driver or passenger’s head from impacting the vehicle structure. Deployment of this larger bag takes place in less than 25 milliseconds.

The deployment mechanism has also been modified. The side impact sensor is now of an electrical type and has been relocated to the “B” pillar. The sensor, once activated, sends a signal to the central Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) control module that in turn activates the appropriate air bags. The sensor itself consists of a microprocessor and an acceleration sensor mounted on a circuit board. The front seatbelt buckles have new Hall-type switches to help ensure better signal exchange.

The “S” in the SIPS acronym stands for system. And the air bags are but part of the overall SIPS system. The B-pillars, the most important link in the system, were reinforced during the 1998 S70 and V70 re-design, in order to help further reduce the risk of severe chest injuries. Additionally, the interior panels on these pillars were given softer padding to help provide more effective head protection.

New for 1999 is a dual stage deployment air bag triggering system. The first level is for low speed frontal accidents and utilizes only the pyrotechnic pretensioners if the occupants are belted and only the airbag if they are not. At the second trigger level, for higher speeds, the pyrotechnic pretensioners and the airbag are utilized if the occupants are belted and just the airbag if they unbelted. A pretensioner is a device that helps remove belt slack and is deployed by a sensor that also deploys the front air bags.

In addition to the above, all Volvo S70 and V70 models are equipped with the following ‘passive’ safety features:

While there is a seat belt securing device for the front passenger seat, Volvo recommends that all child safety seats and booster cushions/backrests should be used only in the back seats. Volvo also recommends that children and small adults fewer than 4 feet 7 inches should sit in the rear seat properly restrained by the seat belt.

Dynamic Safety is Improved As Well
The S70 and V70 will benefit immediately from the addition of its new sibling by offering a new system stemming from the S80’s development, Stability and Traction Control, or STC. STC utilizes the already available ABS hardware and enhanced software programming to aid in traction control.

Stability and Traction Control builds on Volvo's TRACS (low-speed traction control system) by operating at all road speeds. If the STC unit detects slippage in one drive wheel upon start up, it applies that wheel's brake in stages until the slippage stops. The system defines "low speed" as up to about 25 mph. Above that speed, the STC unit slows a slipping drive wheel by reducing engine torque by limiting fuel supply. This function maintains drive-wheel traction while accelerating at speed, such as while passing, or while driving on a slippery road. Reaction time of the STC system is about 15 milliseconds, which translates to about two feet of travel at 60 mph.

Since Volvo first introduced four-wheel disk brakes as standard equipment in 1966 with the launch of the 140 series they have continually worked to improve overall braking performance and controllability. A major revision to the braking systems of the S70 and V70 further enhances what is already considered one of the best systems available.

The S70 and V70, like all Volvos, are fitted with four-wheel disc brakes with antilock. In addition to ABS, these Volvos boast Electronic Brake Force Distribution, EBD, for maximum braking performance under all conditions. The system is produced by ITT-Teves and is designated as ABS Mark 20.

All four brakes feature sliding calipers. In addition, the ABS wheel sensors have been newly designed and are considered active sensors in that each sensor has its own built-in electronic circuit. There is a sensor at each wheel and each wheel can be controlled individually, making this a four-channel ABS.

The newly designed brake master cylinder features a new diagonal split of the brake circuits and has equal-size reservoirs and brake-fluid volumes for both brake circuits. However, since most brake applications do not require the benefits of antilock technology, Volvo has fit the S70 and V70 with an electronic system to maximize braking under all conditions and all loads. EBD controls brake force to the rear wheels by regulating the valves at those wheels. The EBD unit to monitors the speed differential between the front and rear wheels under braking and ensures that the rear wheels are spinning at the same speed as the front wheels or up to 2 percent more quickly than the front wheels. This helps to ensure that the rear wheels are not losing braking ability as the vehicle weight shifts forward, unloading the rear wheels.

Also included as part of the overall system upgrade are:

Personal Security
A key aspect of Volvo’s overall safety philosophy involves personal security. For 1999 the S70 and V70 are equipped with a “Home-Safe” lighting function and an ignition Immobilizer anti-theft system.

The “Home Safe” function provides for thirty seconds of additional headlight function to give the occupants light to safely open doors, walk to side entrances, etc. To activate the function, once the ignition has been turned off, the driver merely flashes the hi-beam control stalk.

The ignition Immobilizer feature is activated each time the ignition is switched on. The Engine Control Module (ECM) generates a random code, which is changed every time the ignition is turned on. That code and the VIN number are sent to the Immobilizer Control Module which compares the two with a pre-programmed sequenced number inside the ignition key. Once done, the car will start. If the codes do not match the engine will not start.

Next Generation Electrical System
Since the time Ben Franklin drew lightning down a kite string, electrical impulses have been transmitted on a “one signal, one cable” principle. As cars became more and more complex, this one signal/one cable technique required larger and larger wiring harnesses. As connections and associated wires electrically, the possibility of problems grew exponentially. This also meant that despite manufacturers best efforts to cut weight, at times they found themselves going backwards because of increases in the amount of wire running throughout the vehicle.

Volvo has addressed this problem by ‘multiplexing’ several functions, mainly in the engine management and transmission management systems. Multiplex wiring solutions make for a lighter more reliable wiring system. Basically there is less cable to perform the equivalent number of functions. This multiplex network links communications between the Engine Control Module (ECM), the Automatic Transmission Control (ATC) module, the Anti-locking Brakes (ABS) module, the Combined Instrument Panel Control Unit (CDM), and the Electronic Throttle Module (ETM). The communications between the different components take place according to a predetermined communications protocol developed by Volvo. Each one of the modules is connected in parallel and all signals are exchanged between the different modules via 2 twinned cables. This means that while all modules have access to all signals, they accept only those signals they require to function. All other signals are ignored.

For example, imagine a room of 50 people, all with different names. Jane stands up and asks Bob to stand up. The whole room heard Bob’s name, but only Bob responded. Multiplexing switches and functions are handled the same way. All the interconnected systems hear the same signal, but only those needing the information respond.

Optimal Driving Pleasure
One of the Volvo S70 and V70's most impressive characteristics is their dynamic road handling capabilities. Volvo believes the driver should "feel" the road, since an informed driver is better prepared to react to emergency driving situations.

All Volvo suspensions systems place the emphasis on enhancing comfort while simultaneously improving driving characteristics. On the standard and sport suspensions, this has been achieved primarily by optimizing shock absorber and stabilizer bar characteristics. The unique Delta-Link rear axle adds to the final result: one of the best chassis in the world.

Engine and Drivetrain Improvements for 1999
All Volvo TLEV engines have been upgraded with new, improved engine management systems: a Denso manufactured system replaces the Motronic 4.4 system on all normally aspirated engines and a Bosch Motronic 7.0 system for all turbocharged applications (high and light pressure). These systems are compatible with the new Electronic Throttle control system.

S70 and V70 T5s will continue to be offered with a more powerful version of the high-pressure turbocharged engine, rated for 1999 at 247 hp, with 243 lb/ft of torque. 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 162 horsepower and is available with either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. The S70 GLT, S70 GLT AWD, and V70 GLT, AWD and AWD Cross Country feature a High Torque/Low Rev engine with 190 horsepower and 199 lb/ft of torque that is available at 1800 rpm.

The automatic transmission continues to be the proven and dependable Aisin Warner-sourced unit. But for 1999, the unit has been updated to include several new features. Thanks to a special Transmission Control Module which receives inputs from both the gearbox and the Engine Control Module, the transmission automatically adapts to the driver's style and does away with the need for any "Economy/Sport" switch. However, to help ensure easy starting on slippery roads, the S70 and V70 retain Volvo's Winter Mode, which is activated by a center console-mounted rocker switch. As before, Winter Mode locks out First and Second gears for a Third-gear start.

Automatic shifting is controlled by the Transmission Control Module. The TCM also determines when to lock the torque converter. The TCM does this by governing the transmission's hydraulic control system, oil flow and oil pressure to the transmission's clutches and brakes as well as electronically operating the solenoids. Lock-up normally occurs in the Third and Fourth. The TCM determines when to engage lock-up.

The Transmission Control Module bases its decisions on inputs from sensors in the transmission as well as information supplied to it via the network from the Engine Control Module. Among those decisions are the transmission's actual shift points. Primarily the TCM bases shift-point decisions on the accelerator pedal position, vehicle speed and engine speed. By monitoring the rate of change of accelerator pedal position the TCM can determine whether the driver rapidly accelerates and decelerates and therefore is driving in a sporty fashion. The TCM constantly monitors all sensors and constantly adapts transmission performance to conditions. In addition to the driver's inputs, the TCM also takes into account such factors as whether the car is climbing or descending a slope, altitude, exhaust gas content, transmission temperature and differential between transmission shaft and road speed.

Shift harshness is greatly reduced because the Transmission Control Module can alter shift quality by signaling the ECM to momentarily to reduce engine output. In addition, since the TCM controls hydraulic pressure within the transmission, it can also reduce shift harshness by regulating pressure at each shift.

New for 1999 model year is that addition of all-wheel-drive technology into the S70 GLT. The S70 and V70 AWD’s behave like a conventional front-drive vehicles on dry roads. But when road conditions deteriorate or become slippery, Volvo’s AWD system automatically switches into four-wheel drive without the driver having to shift levers or push buttons.

The Volvo engineering and design philosophy has always dictated that any new feature or technology is only of value if it does not complicate the driving experience. So engineers have designed a simple, user-friendly AWD system that makes driving more sure-footed and safer under most adverse road or weather conditions. It automatically makes traction transfer decisions so quickly that a driver never needs to think about selecting either front wheel drive or all-wheel-drive models. Volvo’s AWD combine the single most desirable feature of an SUV platform during take-off traction, with superior ride, handling, comfort, safety engineering, performance and fuel economy.

Designing the Volvo S70 and V70
At the time of their introduction in the Spring of 1997 as 1998 models, the front and rear of the Volvo S70 and V70 exhibited a more rounded, elegant styling which has over the last 18 months become the hallmark of all new Volvos. Peter Horbury, Volvo's chief designer said that the new S70 and V70 looked "more complete, creating a design which felt more powerful and dynamic, a car which radiated the desire to move forward.”

This was achieved by the introduction of a new, sloping V-shaped hood which merged with the signature upright grill, new headlights, indicator lights, and bumper. At the rear, the S70's taillights were larger and the styling of the trunk is more modern. Together with a new rear bumper, this created a more cohesive, better integrated design package.

The Volvo V70 retained its characteristic rear section with no modifications. Horbury explained: “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 load space proportions were left untouched, as the V70's functional capabilities are practically legendary. “They are perfectly suited to the many applications the V70 is called upon to perform. Why tinker with perfection?” added Horbury.

This year, both models receive the new Volvo grille emblem which combines the traditional Volvo emblem with a bold new splash of blue across the center. 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 increased by 2.4 inches, the color keying created the illusion that the car was smaller than previous Volvos.

Scandinavian-Style Interior
The interior design of the S70 and V70 is intended to create a feeling of greater space and comfort. The front seats are infinitely adjustable and feature a more effective heated function over previous Volvo seats. The dashboard, which can also be found in the exclusive C70 coupe and convertible, is characterized by simplicity and functionality in true Scandinavian style. Ergonomically designed instruments and switches help keep the driver informed without creating visual stress and confusion. Controls were designed to make them easier to use and to reinforce the feeling of quality.

Personalizing a Volvo
All 1999 Volvo S70 and V70 models are being sold through a flexible model system in which customers can combine available options and color choices 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.

October 1998