Introduced in 2006, the C70 wanted to be a "one for two" replacement, combining coupe and softtop into one car as a retractable hardtop convertible. For 2008, Volvo increases the horsepower and adds a few interior upgrades.
A turbocharged, 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine rated at 227 hp powers this front-wheel driver across the 0-60 leap in the mid-7-second range when coupled to the six-speed manual transmission; a five-speed automatic is optional. Reviewers find the engine underwhelming and suggest looking to the Germans for a more performance oriented hardtop convertible. Gas mileage for the manual transmission is 18/27 mpg and the automatic gets 18/26 mpg.
Handling is competent, but the C70 is no sports coupe, as the suspension is tuned for easy highway driving. Pushing it harder will only call attention to its lack of handling precision, with lean in the corners and numb steering. Lush cruising and weekend getaways are the C70's forte.
Volvo has combined a rigid chassis, which banishes traditional convertible cowl shake and chassis flex, with a luxurious interior. The front seats are extremely comfortable, with well-padded cushions, good lumbar support, 8-way power adjustments, and an adjustable steering wheel. The C70 borrows the S40's slickly designed brushed-aluminum floating dash. Reviewers, however, are somewhat divided about the backseats. Some find 33.9 inches of legroom livable for adults, but not for more than a cross-town trip, yet adequate for children and small adults. On the other hand, out of necessity, the trunk space on all retractable hardtops is limited. The C70 boasts 12.8 cubic feet with the top up, but only 6 cubic feet with the roof lowered.
The retractable hardtop is an engineering work of art. The premier Italian design firm, Pininfarina (yes, the same firm that designs Ferraris, among others), designed the three-piece steel top mechanism. The push of a console button, with the foot safely on the brake, sends the top soaring above the occupants in a magically innovative aerobatic display, folding into three pieces to stack itself securely in the trunk.
Safety is Volvoâ??s primary claim to fame, and the C70 lives up to that tradition. Standard safety features include ABS, traction and stability control, and anti-whiplash seats. The cabin is protected by six airbags, the most innovative being the inflatable curtain airbags packed into the doors that protect even in the event of a top-down crash. And to literally top all that off, rollover bars mounted behind the seats automatically deploy in the event of a rollover accident.