The S40 is based on Ford's C1 platform, which also underpins the new Mazda 3 and Ford's next generation Focus, due late 2004. While Ford officials stress the C1 strategy does not mean a simple sharing of hardpoints and hardware, preferring to talk of 'shared technologies' the reality is that the S40 will share some 60 per cent of its components with the Mazda 3 and the Focus.
Visually the new S40 retains familiar Volvo design themes, albeit closer in style to those of the S60 than the current S40. Under the disguise pictured above is a rakish C-pillar that sweeps back almost to the rear-most lip of the bootlid. Up front the Volvo grille is more pronounced, standing forward of the headlights. The car also features the pronounced catwalk along the bodyside first seen on the Volvo S80, and the now trademark wrap-over tail lights.
The estate version, which will be badged V50, and is scheduled to appear late this year or early 2004, has similar frontal styling, but gets a taller roofline, upright tail lights and a substantial rear bumper. There will also be an XC50 version, distinguished by its 4wd driveline, raised suspension and extra cladding on the body.
Engines are expected to include a range of five cylinder petrol and turbo-diesel powerplants, ranging from 125bhp. Headline engines are expected to be a 200bhp 2.4-litre high pressure turbo petrol engine, which will only be available with 4wd, and a 170bhp 2.4-litre turbodiesel. Entry level engine will be brand new 110bhp 1.8-litre four.