Volvo C70 2.4i Sport
Temptation can be tricky to resist. Big engines, sky-high trim levels and electrical toys are nice to have, but do you always need to spend a fortune to get the best car in the line-up?
To find out, we've sampled one of the first right-hand-drive examples of the new Volvo C70 coupé-cabrio: the entry-level 2.4i Sport. Does it represent better value than the flagship T5 SE Lux driven in Issue 894? At £26,200, the Sport is £7,025 less than the range-topper, and features a 170bhp five-cylinder engine in place of the T5's 220bhp turbo.
Despite its status, equipment is generous, with climate and cruise control, leather trim, a good stereo and 17-inch alloys as standard. Of course, you also get some of the sharpest looks of any convertible on the road; wherever you go, the C70 attracts admiring glances. Drop the Pininfarina-developed three-piece roof, and you'll draw a crowd.
The delicate hard-top is a design masterpiece, and on bumpy UK roads, the structure proves rigid, with only a little wobble in full open-top mode - although some minor creaking is notice-able with the roof up. It all blends well with the warbly 2.4-litre engine. The Sport is 50bhp down on the T5 and can't match its muscular performance (0-60mph takes 9.1 seconds against the flagship's 7.6), yet it's brilliantly refined and makes for a good cruiser when you factor in the C70's taut but comfort-oriented driving experience.
And while economy could be better at 31mpg combined - something the imminent 180bhp D5 diesel will address - there's no doubt that the 2.4i Sport is the current pick of the C70 range.
All variants of the C70 are well equipped and, with excellent residuals, great value. But the 2.4i Sport is the best choice. While it's no sports car, the engine is refined and it's a relaxed cruiser. Add in the roof and styling, and you have one of the best cabriolets around.
At a Glance
* Engine: 2.4-litre 5cyl, 170bhp
* Price: £26,200