As most sales professionals know, the figures don’t lie so it comes as little surprise that the vast bulk of sales of the super new V40 R-Design is the lowest powered version, the D2.
So how come Volvo make a sporty- looking compact executive car sell with just a 113 brake horsepower 1.6-litre diesel engine, boasting a 0-60mph sprint on 11.2 seconds, the most ‘desirable’ in the range? I can tell you it’s not just because that limited performance returns a hugely impressive real-world fuel economy of 50mpg and tax- friendly CO2 emission of 108g/km.
It’s because, despite the modest speed figures, the car remains a very sporty little number. Driver enthusiasts realise that real performance is not just about having a surfeit of horses under your right foot. Cornering speed and torque delivery out of bends has as much to do with lap times as straight BHP. And here the V40 really shines using a surprisingly compliant suspension setup which, while reluctant to allow body-roll, provides one of the best rides you’ll find in this class.
Yet, the car can be buried into bends where it grips like a limpet, the worst of our badly maintained roads soaked up by the suspension, so the whole plot is perfectly poised to fire out of the corner quicker than some other higher-performance rivals. Much of that urgency out of corners is thanks to the healthy 199ft-lbs of torque the lively 1.6 turbo diesel can draw upon from just 1,750rpm.
Visually too, the V40 R-Design is a sporty-looking car that benefits from being distinctly different from the styling of the corporate car park favourites from Bavaria.
However, the V40s story is not all about sport, because the cabin, which feels snug and focused, is nonetheless quiet and civilised on long business trips allowing stress-free, high speed journeys that won’t leave you feeling tired and frazzled entering that vital sales presentation.
Build quality of the interior is superb and the sports seats need a special mention as delightfully gripping for the torso when you are enjoying the G-force of a corner taken enthusiastically.
The rest of the cockpit is the classically understated elegance that the Scandinavians have made something of a speciality. The ‘floating’ central console is easy to use although I did think the sat-nav and Bluetooth initial set-up a bit fiddly but faultless from then on.
All this comes at a very competitive price, against the Volvo’s main rivals, being a starting price of just £24,095. That said, in common with it’s rivals, start dipping into the options list and the price tag rapidly inflates with electric drivers seat adding £600, lane departure warning another £700 and a park assist system setting you back £850.
Still, the V40 R-Design is hard to ignore for corporate user-choosers happy to look a little beyond the usual German fare.
You can follow all Paul’s automotive and transport news on Twitter @PaulMyles_
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo
Top Speed: 118mph