There has been a lot of coverage on the 2013 Volvo V40 – from its safety credentials and exterior pedestrian airbag to tuned models from aftermarket manufacturers like Heico Sportiv. The V40 replaces the C30 and V50 and is aimed at the thick of the entry level market in Europe. Unfortunately the coolest, most stylish Volvo won’t be offered here in the United States. Whatever.
Twisting the knife just a bit more for Volvo fans is the new V40 R-Design. A relatively new Volvo trim level, R-Design has spread across the Volvo lineup. It is a way for customers to add additional style and performance tuning, and lately has included a power upgrade thanks to Polestar. It isn’t the full R monte, but for many it strikes the right balance.
While R-Design models in the U.S include Polestar to boost power, the V40 R-Design doesn’t – and that’s OK. The car’s turbocharged inline five-cylinder makes 254 horsepower, a nice figure for a car like this. R-Design by itself is – like its name implies – about appearance. That means unique 17” or 18” five-spoke wheels and more aggressive front and rear fascias. It also is available with a Polestar-like color (pictured) dubbed Smurf Blue. Very attention getting. Inside, there are aluminum trim pieces, embossed R-Design logos, white contrast stitching and a blue background to the electronic gauge cluster.
Other details include Nubuck textile and perforated leather, along with a black headliner. The result is a stunning cabin. Ticking the Sport option drops the suspension by 10 millimeters and it includes stiffer springs, shock absorbers and front struts, as well as beefier anti-roll bars. In back there are new mono tube dampers that help round out the package. Curiously, R-Design is available with any engine in the Volvo range – even the diesel with 115 horsepower. Yikes – now we’re glad THAT is staying in Europe.