Volvo V50 SV Concept (2004)

Volvo V50 SV Concept

The Volvo V50 SV Concept, which made its debut at the 2004 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) tradeshow, is the first-ever high-performance car to emerge from Volvo Cars Special Vehicle department in Gothenburg, Sweden. Based on the production version of the 2005 Volvo V50 T5 AWD activity sportswagon, the V50 SV is designed to appeal to a generation of young enthusiasts that may not have considered the Volvo brand as anything but safe and conservative.

"From the get-go, the V50 activity sportswagon, with its aggressive styling and incredible driving characteristics was designed to get a younger audience interested in the Volvo brand," commented Thomas Andersson, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Volvo Cars of North America, LLC. "The V50 SV is a one-off design to see just how far Volvo could push the envelope. That it was done in-house, by the Volvo Special Vehicles department in Sweden, makes this car an even more interesting proposition."

While Volvo has no plans of offering the Volvo V50 SV parts or materials through its retailer network, it gives young enthusiasts and the aftermarket companies that cater to them a thought provoking "launching pad" to get their creative juices flowing. Understated and refined, the Volvo V50 SV has what it takes to turn heads and handle well on the race track.

The heartbeat of a performance Volvo

What dominates the performance of the Volvo V50 SV resides under the specially fabricated hood: a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine lifted from Volvo's high-performance S60 R. But while the S60 R puts out a commendable 300 horsepower, the V50 SV ups the ante considerably by producing an eye-popping 340 horsepower - an increase of 122 horsepower from the standard 218 horsepower found in a production V50 T5.

As with any turbocharged engine, getting large amounts of cool air pushed through the turbo housing is what gets the job done. In the case of the Volvo V50 SV, a highly modified front end incorporates massive lower air intakes. The air is routed up into the engine compartment to the turbo through larger-bore tunnels. Turbo boost pressure has been bumped from 1.0 bar to a heart-pounding 1.4 bar.

Horsepower is nothing without torque and the Volvo V50 SV won't disappoint. Volvo's history of minimizing turbo lag and offering a broad torque curve from very low rpm is retained in the V50 SV. With 331 lb.-ft. on tap from 1,500 to 4,800 rpm, the Volvo V50 SV will sprint to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds.

A modified, low-restriction exhaust system with large-bore 3-inch diameter chrome tips adds the finishing touch-of-class at the rear end and also helps to boost engine performance. Its throaty note and distinctive burble give the V50 SV "curb presence."

Putting the power to the pavement is a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission that is also borrowed from the S60 R. The Volvo V50 SV's clutch effort, however, is lighter and easier to modulate than the brutish S60 R. Volvo's electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system by Haldex routes power to the rear wheels almost instantaneously when the front tires begin to lose traction.

In normal driving situations, the Volvo V50 SV primarily powers the front wheels. It is only when the system detects that the front wheels have lost traction and have begun to spin that it delivers power to the rear wheels.

The system uses a mechanical pump and 'wet' multi-plate clutch to distribute the power to the rear wheels. The difference in rotational speed between the slipping front wheels and the rear wheels causes the pump (located at the rear differential) to force oil to the wet clutch plates in the rear differential, pushing the plates together to transfer power to the rear wheels. A small electrical pump is used to "pre-pressurize" the system so that power transfer occurs almost instantly.

The system is electronically controlled through a module mounted on the rear differential. The module controls the electric pump and an oil control valve. The differential module communicates with the engine control module (ECM) and brake control module via a network to determine when the front (driven) wheels begin to lose traction and to anticipate different driving situations. The system is so finely tuned it can react to as little as a quarter turn difference between the input shaft and the output shaft of the differential.

European Tuned Sports Suspension

The Volvo V50 SV's aggressive stance is made possible through a European-tuned sports suspension that is available optionally on Euro-spec V50s. It 12-mm lowered ride height is accomplished through shorter, stiffer springs and firmer shock absorbers.

The suspension system has been carefully reworked to maintain a flat stance around corners, while never becoming twitchy when off-throttle maneuvers may threaten to bring the Volvo V50 SV's tail around.

Filling the wheel wells of the Volvo V50 SV are sticky race-bred Pirelli 235/40ZR-18 Corsa tires mounted on 18-inch lightweight performance alloy wheels. To optimize handling, rear toe has been dialed in .50 inches, while rear toe angles out .70 inches. Front and rear camber angles are dialed in at 1.0 degrees.

Bringing the car to a stop in short order is an upgraded AP Racing brake package featuring large 13.9-inch disc brakes with four-piston calipers at the front wheels. At the rear are 11-inch discs with standard two-piston Volvo calipers. Of course Volvo's anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution is also on hand to bring the car to a swift, controlled stop in any situation.

Dynamic Exterior

Refined, restrained and coordinated are the words that best describe the Volvo V50 SV Concept. In fact, a buyer interested in the V50 can actually obtain several of the exterior styling pieces - something that's not normally found on a SEMA display car.

The Volvo Dynamic Trim Package (MSRP: $2,025) is available from any Volvo retailer and features body color front and rear spoilers, lower side sill extensions, a rear bumper valance and 17-inch "Sculptor" alloy wheels shod with Michelin MXM4 all-season tires. Additionally, 18-inch accessory wheels are also available through the retailer network.

The high-gloss one-off Sonic Blue paint is sophisticated and subdued, masking the Volvo V50 SV's performance potential. The standard roof mounted spoiler has been customized to create more down force at high speeds and the sculpted hood allows for improved engine compartment airflow. To slim down the V50's profile the standard roof rails have been removed. Massive black-mesh grille inserts and high intensity gas discharge headlamps nicely compliment the standard Volvo egg crate grille and badge.

Refined Interior with Rear Seat Entertainment

Volvo's typical attention to interior ergonomics is retained with the V50 SV. Only modestly modified, what's most evident once the driver is ensconced within the cabin is the brushed aluminum finish around the instrument cluster. The material matches what's found on the innovative ultra-slim center stack and door panels, and lends a high-tech appearance to the cleanly styled Scandinavian interior. A small shift light has been incorporated into the panel and a turbo boost gauge has also been added, with a maximum boost pressure reading of 1.4 bar.

Rear seat passengers will enjoy the fully integrated Volvo dual screen Rear Seat Entertainment system. Twin 7-inch LCD color screens have been mounted into the backs of the front headrests with a DVD player providing the entertainment. The Volvo Dual Screen Rear Seat Entertainment system is available from any Volvo Retailer as a factory installed option on the Volvo XC90.

Other interior touches include "Wetsuit" upholstery, a Volvo accessory three-spoke sport steering wheel with aluminum inlays, an aluminum shift knob and custom built racing pedals. The awesome 425-watt Dolby Pro Logic II stereo system with an in-dash 6-disc player is retained from the stock V50.