Volvo launched the S40 in the autumn of 2003. It was a larger sedan evolution of its Dutch-built predecessor. The design language and the specification level harmonised more closely with the larger Volvo S60. The aim was to give customers large-car properties in a compact format and with clearly sporty overtones.
The 2008 Volvo S40 has undergone a number of changes. This will attract a wider group of young buyers looking for a compact premium car with the qualities and characteristics of a larger Volvo model.
Volvo S40 gets a completely new, sportier and more prestigious front with elements from the new Volvo S80 and V70. The front is now 3 mm longer than the previous version. The grille is completely new with an updated, deeper mesh pattern and that clearly distinguishes the S40 model. Additional chrome helps to emphasise the premium image.
The rear bumper has been redesigned and is unique for the S40 and V50 models respectively. The bumper is now 6 mm longer than the previous versions. Even the fog lamps now have a new design, identical for both car models. The Volvo emblem, the so-called "iron symbol", is now 50% larger. It is now found on more locations on the car, such as on the wheel rims and the remote control.
The headlamps are completely new, both in their form and their size, and reflect the design language of the larger, new Volvo cars. The headlamps are the same on the S40 and the V50 models and come in three different versions:
- Active Bi-Xenon
The Active Bi-Xenon headlamps rotate together with the steering wheel for optimal lighting when driving on winding roads.
New tail lamps
The tail lamps have been redesigned and symbolise what is new for the S40 and V50 models respectively. They are smaller than before since the lower edge has been lifted approximately 30 mm. The light functions have been arranged somewhat differently and the reflectors have been moved down to the bumper. LED technology is used to provide a quick reacting, effective brake lamp and a different appearance when viewed from the side.
The handle on the tailgate has a new design and can be combined with chrome decor in the higher trim levels.
Oval exhaust pipes
T5 and D5 models have new exhaust pipes made of polished metal with an oval form. In combination with a colour co-ordinated spoiler they provide a homogenous and more exclusive appearance.
Hazard warning flashers
If an accident occurs and one of the airbags is deployed the hazard warning flashers are activated in order to warn other motorists of the problem and encourage them to reduce speed.
Flashing brake lamps
In order to immediately warn motorists behind in the event of emergency braking, the brake lamps begin flashing five times per second. When the speed of the car falls below 10 km/hour the brake lamps stop flashing and the hazard warning flashers are activated instead. They can be turned off manually. Alternatively, they extinguish once the speed of the car exceeds 10 km/hour. The car’s speed must exceed 60 km/hour or the braking must be so sharp that the ABS system is activated in order for the brake lamps to flash during emergency braking.
Trim levels and new side mouldings
The lower door mouldings and the sill mouldings are new and enhance the sporty character of the car. In addition to standard black they can now also be painted in the same colour as the car’s body. To protect the painted sill mouldings they are combined with small mud flaps behind the front wheels. The lower sections of the front and rear spoiler are also available in black or in the colour co-ordinated version. The T5 and D5 models always come with colour co-ordinated mouldings and spoilers as standard (European version).
Textile wheel arch liners
To reduce the weight of the car and improve sound comfort in the cabin the Volvo S40 and V50 now have textile wheel arch liners.
Wind deflector in front wheel arch
To reduce drag and positively influence fuel consumption, the front wheel wells have been equipped with air deflectors integrated into the undercarriage of the car.
Water repellent glass
As an option, the front side windows can be given an extra water repellent coating. The treatment means that water blows off the glass more easily, improving visibility during rain.
New door mirror housings
To further improve the air flow around the door mirrors, a new housing has been introduced with a water repellent line at the upper edge. This helps to keep the mirrors clean.
Colour co-ordinated roof aerial with new design
The roof aerial will be colour co-ordinated in the future so as to always match the car’s body. In addition it has been redesigned.
New exterior colours
Volvo S40, V50 and C30 get three new exterior colours:
- 488 Gecko Green pearl
- 489 Matt Gold pearl
- 490 Chameleon Blue pearl
Discontinued colours are:
- 471 Willow Green pearl
- 465 Cedar Green pearl
- 613 Deep Blue
- 463 Blackcurrant pearl
New aluminium wheels
Five new aluminium wheels are introduced as optional extras for the Volvo S40, V50, C30 and C70 models:
- 6.5x16" Ceryx (S40, V50, C30)
- 6.5x16" Cordelia (S40, V50, C30)
- 7x17" Spartacus (S40, V50, C30)
- 7x17" Serapis (S40, V50, C30)
Additionally, a new 18 inch wheel (accessory) with an extremely sporty design has been introduced: The 7.5x18" Midir (S40, V50, C30). The five spokes are very elongated, which makes the wheel appear even bigger.
Furthermore, to retain the S40 feeling, the new Volvo S40 has many characteristics that have been preserved from the earlier model. It has its compact body with rounded lines and an abrupt tail section. The car’s appearance speaks modern design and speed. The short bonnet and pronounced cab-forward stance help create a spacious cabin with generous interior space. Broad haunches and convex side panels signal power and underscore the car’s compact dimensions. The tail lamps follow Volvo’s modern form.
Despite its compact exterior dimensions, the Volvo S40 offers a spacious and flexible interior. Every passenger seat has a fold-flat backrest. With the seats folded down, the load compartment floor is entirely flat. The interior is inspired by Scandinavian product design with the emphasis on uncluttered surfaces, honest materials and good function. The Volvo S40 saw the introduction of Volvo’s ultra-slim, free-floating centre console with illuminated storage compartment behind.
The Volvo S40 was also launched with a specially developed upholstery material called T-Tec, which echoes ultra-modern sports clothes and travel goods.
New door panels with improved storage space
In order to increase storage possibilities, the door panels on the Volvo S40 and V50 models have been given a new design and the loudspeakers have been moved. This provides space for a 33cl soft drinks can or a 0.5 litre water bottle positioned on its side. The space is sufficiently large for an A4 size folder. Additionally, there is a unique holder for square ice scrapers.
Completely new tunnel console
The major interior news is the tunnel console and the armrest that has been given a completely new design matching the dashboard’s unique, floating centre console and with the same type of decor inserts. The aim has been to provide the highest possible feeling of quality while still increasing the flexibility and storage possibilities.
More comfortable armrest and increased flexibility
In order to provide increased comfort, the armrest has been extended. The space below is deeper, longer and wider than previously and can house 10 CDs. The audio system AUX input has also been moved here from the back of the centre console. In the armrest cover, there is extra storage space that can house mobile telephones, MP3 players or other odds and ends. The storage space in front of the armrest has room for two removable cup holders. The space is now covered by an elegant black rubber roll-top.
Parking brake with improved functionality
The new "Z-type" parking brake has been completely redesigned. The parking brake is attached to an arm that runs through a small hole in the tunnel console when the parking brake is pulled back. In addition to offering improved ergonomics, this construction also provides more space for storage and other controls. Handles of soft leather are available as an option.
Two new decors have been introduced. Nordic Light Oak, with visible laminate layers and a matte surface finish, is inspired by modern Scandinavian furniture design. Nordic Light Oak replaces Wood Effect, while Virtual White, which was introduced on the Volvo C30, replaces Iced Aqua.
In order to further freshen up the interior, the four controls on the centre console now have decor rings made of muted aluminium as standard.
The air vents on the dashboard have been redesigned in order to achieve better ventilation in the compartment. In addition, the buttons now have chrome trim. The new design also helps to enhance the feeling of quality. Additionally, cars equipped with IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) now have new sensors for improved effectiveness.
High-tech inspired Keyless Drive control
Start buttons in cars equipped with Keyless Drive have been given a new design with a high-tech inspired image. The material is rubber and smoke coloured, semi-transparent acrylic.
Remote control with the Volvo "iron symbol"
The key and the remote control have been given a new design with the traditional Volvo emblem and improved feel and functionality. For example, the battery life has been extended and the remote control now has increased range.
Leather steering wheel from Volvo C70
The Volvo S40, V50 and C30 models all now come with the same leather steering wheel as the Volvo C70, with a type of leather that feels more comfortable and provides a greater sense of quality.
Sportier instrument cluster for the T5 and D5 models
The top models in the petrol and diesel programme, T5 and D5, get a new instrument cluster with a sportier touch. The standard instrument cluster has been given a modified design as well. At the same time, the clock has been moved from the instrument cluster to the audio display.
Passenger airbag OFF and ON
A text message is displayed on the roof console and the legally stipulated symbol showing a crossed airbag symbol is displayed when the passenger airbag is deactivated. This ensures that no child seat is placed in a front seat that has an activated airbag.
In order to avoid an adult sitting behind a deactivated airbag, an information text is now displayed even when the passenger airbag is activated - Passenger airbag ON.
Deactivate button for forward Park Assist
The forward Park Assist function sensors can now be deactivated using a button located on the tunnel console.
Updated upholstery programme
Boda has been launched as a new, common base upholstery material for the Volvo S40, V50, C30 and C70 models, replacing the two upholstery materials Boden and Bodal. Spring Green is a completely new upholstery colour.
Dalarö replaces Dala. The look has been updated with, among other things, a new accent colour for the Off Black interior.
DotCom is leather upholstery with a new surface structure. For the Off Black interior there is a new dark brown accent colour - Cacao.
Powertrain and chassis
The engines in the Volvo S40 are transversely installed in-line units. New methods of shrinking the engine’s external dimensions have made it possible to fit a five-cylinder engine in the compact S40 body. Volvo can thus offer a compact car with high performance and large-car feel. A five-cylinder engine gives low vibration and smooth operation. Together with large displacement, the five-cylinder configuration provides high torque across a broad rev band, and thus also swift acceleration and excellent driveability within a wide speed range. Four-cylinder engines are available as an option.
The Volvo S40 T5 is the top model, featuring a turbocharger and five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox. The T5 model is also available with electronically controlled All-Wheel Drive. In addition, the T5 model is now available with improved power output. The increase in power, from 220 to 230 bhp, is the combined result of a number of minor changes.
The winter button has been removed from the Geartronic gearbox.
The manual gearbox for the four-cylinder, 2-litre diesel, 2.0D, now has altered gear ratios, primarily for the sixth gear, in order to improve the driving comfort. Five-speed manual gearboxes are no longer offered with this engine.
The chassis, with spring struts at the front and Multilink axle at the rear, is set up for stable, reassuring driving manners and alert steering response. The Multilink rear axle is an independent rear suspension system featuring a number of links and it is designed to offer a good combination of controlled wheel movements and high ride comfort. Some of these links have the task of providing a certain degree of anti-skid steering effect. A long wheelbase and wide track, together with a very torsionally rigid body, contribute to the predictable, controlled driving manners. Volvo’s advanced DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) stability-enhancing system is fitted as standard. DSTC cuts in and helps stabilise the car if it registers any tendency to skid.
Volvo Cars adopts a holistic view of safety that encompasses both Preventive and Protective safety. Preventive safety is closely linked to the car’s driving properties. The body of the Volvo S40 features immense torsional rigidity and the car has a sturdy chassis, a combination that results in consistent, predictable behaviour on the road (see also under "Powertrain and Chassis"). Volvo Cars has developed various information systems designed to help the driver while on the move. One such system is IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System), which for instance delays incoming phone calls in complex traffic situations that require the driver’s undivided attention. Protective safety in the Volvo S40 is structured around a network consisting of exterior and interior safety systems that interact with one another to reduce the risk of occupant injury in a collision.
The exterior systems have the task of distributing and absorbing incoming collision forces so that the passenger compartment remains as intact and undamaged as possible. The body is therefore built in the form of a metal cage made using different grades of steel, where all the components interact with one another to ensure controlled deformation.
The interior safety systems aim to keep the passengers securely in place and also to reduce the risk of serious injury. In order to provide the most effective protection possible, Volvo Cars has developed a number of in-house systems, such as WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System), SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) and IC (Inflatable Curtain). All are fitted as standard in the Volvo S40. What is more, all five seats are equipped with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, belt pre-tensioners and head restraints. The highest possible safety requires that all the car’s occupants always use their seat belts.
Audio and information
As previously, Volvo offers a factory-fitted audio system on three levels: Performance, High Performance and Premium Sound.
In order to further improve the quality of the listening experience, Premium Sound now has loudspeakers from the Danish loudspeaker specialist Dynaudio. This will be evident in the form of a Dynaudio emblem on the central speaker housing on the dashboard. New loudspeaker housings with chromed frames also add to the new, fresh design of the door panels.
At the same time, the AUX input becomes standard on all three audio levels.
Volvo’s navigation system, RTI (Road and Traffic Information) is very effective. The range of maps has recently been increased with the addition of several new countries, primarily in Eastern Europe. There are now three DVDs for Europe and three for the USA, where Hawaii and Canada have been added. The material has also been updated with new roads, restaurants and hotels.
The system has been further developed with a new processor, which among other things means that alternative roads can be calculated much faster than in previous systems. And new information, such as national flags and facts about the country, such as speed limits and rules for use of mobile phones when driving, are shown on the screen when a national border is crossed.
The Volvo S40 is designed and equipped to impact as little as possible on the global environment and to offer a clean and healthy interior climate. Petrol engines with low internal friction, efficient combustion and advanced exhaust filtration technology result in low emissions. Energy-efficient diesel engines with particle filters produce low emissions of carbon dioxide and soot particles. In addition, the Volvo S40 is available on the Swedish market with an ethanol-powered FlexiFuel engine.
The five-cylinder versions of the Volvo S40 can be optionally specified with a catalytic radiator coating - PremAir®. This system converts harmful ground-level ozone into pure oxygen as the car drives. Its benefits are greatest in dense city traffic and in strong sunlight. Volvo’s IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) effectively reduces the amount of particles, pollen, gases and certain unpleasant odours in the air entering the cabin. All the textiles and leather upholsteries are certified according to ÖKO-TEX 100, an international standard that ensures that the interior trim is free from allergy-producing and hazardous substances.