Volvo builds a 2,400-hp custom truck to crush land-speed records

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The ‘Iron Knight’ is 9,920 pounds of recording-breaking fury

Since it tips the scales at almost 10,000 pounds, you might not expect Volvo’s custom-built “Iron Knight” big rig to take on anything more than a trailer full of cargo. Instead, the 2,400-hp and 4,425 lb-ft of torque oil burner will challenge the standing 1,620-foot and 3,240-foot land speed records. Taking care of sending the immense power to the rear wheels is the relatively quick I-Shift dual-clutch automatic, which should be faster than rowing an unruly big rig transmission’s gears.

Aside from the hilarious amount of power, Volvo did as much aerodynamic cheating as possible and features a fiberglass cab, with air ducts in the side skirts to help keep the engine cool.  

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Top-10 oldest new cars you can buy

Although most models are treated to a thorough refresh every few years, there are cars that haven’t been treated to a substantial update since they first went on sale.

Just because they aren’t the latest and greatest though, doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. There are some advantages to buying something that’s been around a while. For one, the car maker would have worked out all of the model’s foibles, but also with a long production cycle there should be a good supply of parts. With this in mind we scoured the new car price lists to find the ten best oldest models you can buy now.

1.Land Rover Defender

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With production ceasing in the UK this year, the Defender just makes our cut. Although it has changed substantially over the decades, it’s visually, conceptually and philosophically close to the 90 and 110 it replaced in 1984. The pick-up version even shares a component with the 1948 version.

It’s crude and noisy by modern standards, but it’s the epitome of ruggedness, strength and capability. To acknowledge the car’s passing, Land Rover launched three special editions priced from £27,800 which will be available to buy from August – the last chance you’ll get to buy a current Defender in England. Although rumours are, there is an all-new Defender coming next year.

Launched in 1984.

Continue reading “Top-10 oldest new cars you can buy”

Volvo’s ‘zero fatalities from 2020’ mission a vision, not a target

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Volvo Cars has cleared up any confusion regarding its bold and well-publicised Vision 2020 stretch target that nobody should be killed in one its cars from next decade.

Jan Ivarsson, Volvo Cars senior technical advisor for safety, clarified to Australian media in Gothenburg this week that the radical statement embodied by the company from the top down was a vision, but not a target per se.

“It’s a very firm vision to the future, it’s not a target, it’s a vision,” he said. “A very firm direction for the company [that] everyone knows.

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“We have targets on every car we deliver, we have challenging targets. But (Vision 2020) is not a target, it’s a way of thinking.”

In other words, Volvo is simply acknowledging that it can’t control every little thing its owners may do, and cannot possibly cover all eventualities. The world “should” also appears to be a key.

Still, the idea that nobody will die in its vehicles is feasible. Volvo’s data shows that 30 years ago, the risk of being seriously injured in an accident in one of its cars was 10 per cent, and that this was reduced to 2 per cent 10 years ago.

Considering the rollout of partial autonomous and preventative technologies, as well as much tougher passenger cells with up to 40 per cent Boron steel, since then, it’s obvious this figure has dropped further.

By 2020, Volvo will have autonomous cars on sale, though it stops short of calling them ‘driverless’ because humans will be to take control at times.

2017 Volvo S90 pricing and specifications $79,900 entry point for Swedish sedan flagship

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The all-new Volvo S90 sedan range is on track to hit Australian showrooms during the final quarter of this year priced from $79,900 plus on-road costs.

This high-tech successor to the S80, which uses a version of the scalable (flexible) architecture that also underpins the new XC90 SUV, is the Swedish company’s rival to the Mercedes-Benz E-class, BMW 5 series, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.

Volvo cars today told its dealers of the local launch rollout for the all-important new sedan flagship, its most important new passenger vehicle in years.

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Kicking off the local launch will be the high-grade AWD Volvo S90 T6 Inscription and D5 Inscription, arriving in mid-October. In November, these will be joined by the price-leading front-drive T5 Momentum and D4 Momentum grades.

The entry-grade T5 Momentum will cost $79,900, the same as a base Audi A6 1.8 TFSI and cheaper than entry petrol-fired 520i ($82,300) and E200 ($80,400). But the S90’s 187kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged engine outguns these rivals on paper.

Meanwhile, the entry diesel D4 Momentum will cost $82,400 ($400 cheaper than the Jaguar XF 20d). The engine is a 2.0 twin-turbo unit with 140kW/400Nm.

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Both the T5 and D4 are front-wheel drive and use an eight-speed automatic transmission, with two overdrive gears, from Volvo’s Drive-E family.

Standard equipment includes four-zone climate control, keyless start, an electric boot, LED headlights with auto bending, 18-inch alloy wheels and leather seats. Infotainment is controlled via a 12.3-inch portrait touchscreen as per the XC90 with integrated apps such as Spotify.

Also standard is autonomous low-speed braking that also recognises pedestrians, cyclists and now large animals (not kangaroos yet), blind-spot monitoring, park assist and the company’s Pilot Assist program that combines adaptive cruise control than can re-start the car moving in traffic with steering assist, at up to 130km/h, giving you partial vehicle autonomy.

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Up the model tree are the Inscription variants. The $96,900 D5’s 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine is tuned up to 173kW/480Nm, while the T6 ($98,900) is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged (twin-charged) unit with 235kW/400Nm, giving a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.9sec.

The D5 has Volvo’s new PowerPulse system, an electric compressor pushing pressure into the exhaust side of the turbo fan to spin up the turbocharger more quickly, minimising lag. 

As per Volvo’s global strategy, all S90 internal combustion engines are four-cylinder units.

Both of the Inscription versions are also all-wheel drive (AWD). This system defaults to FWD but can send up to 50 per cent of engine torque to the rear wheels.

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To further justify the almost $20k price hikes to both, the Inscription versions get extra features such as keyless entry, proper walnut cabin trim, ambient cabin lighting, 19-inch alloys and full Nappa leather upholstery.

For comparison’s sake, the MY16 S80 T6 Luxury AWD (the only variant available in its final year) cost $84,900, though in fairness, the S90 is a seismic step up.

Both the Momentum and Inscription come with numerous options, including the $3000 Technology Pack (digital radio, 360-degree camera, head-up display, Apple CarPlay and an extra USB point) and air suspension (about $3760, as per the XC90).

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Rounding out the S90 range will be the circa $100,900 T6 R-Design with bigger wheels and other sportier design elements, plus the tech-leading 304kW/640Nm T8 plug-in hybrid R-Design, priced around $120k.

The T8 PHEV pairs the T6’s twin-turbo petrol engine powering the front wheels with a 65kW/240Nm electric motor that powers the rear wheels, the latter also linked to a lithium-ion battery pack located along the centre tunnel. Volvo claims combined-cycle NEDC fuel economy of 1.9L/100km, a pure EV range north of 45km and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.2sec.

Both of these versions will arrive in the first half of 2017, around the same time as the early V90 wagon derivatives, which we’ll be able to detail at a later time.

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New Volvo XC60 shapes up ahead of 2017 launch


Volvo’s relentless product offensive shows no sign of letting up as the Swedish car maker has been spied putting the finishing touches to its all-new XC60.

Designed to sit in the middle of Volvo’s three-model SUV line-up (with an XC40 arriving later), the Audi Q5 rival is expected to launch next year, with a possible debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Even though the prototype in our spy shot is heavily camouflaged, we know the new SUV will adopt the best bits from the XC90 and condense them into a smaller, more affordable, five-seat package.
Our exclusive main image shows how the final car could look, carrying over the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlights and chrome-bordered front grille. Inside, the portrait-style infotainment system and digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel will also feature, as they do in its bigger brother.
The XC60 will be based on a shortened version of the SPA platform that underpins the XC90 SUV and S90 saloon. The engine line-up will consist of two 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels initially – a 187bhp D4 and a more punchy 232bhp D5.

Once the car has launched, Volvo will introduce a faster T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. Expect this to deliver similar performance and efficiency to the XC90 T8, with around 400bhp and claimed economy of more than 130mpg.
Being a Volvo, there’ll also be plenty of safety kit on the XC60. As part of the brand’s IntelliSafe systems, the SUV will be kitted out with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and autopilot, which allows the car to steer, accelerate and brake itself at speeds of up to 80mph.
Following the car’s launch in 2017, Volvo will introduce the all-new S60 saloon and V60 estate. At the end of 2017 a new, even smaller XC40 SUV will arrive to complete the trio of SUVs. This will be followed by an all-new V40 hatchback in 2018. At this point, the XC90 will be the oldest car in Volvo’s range, despite only launching in 2014.

Here’s what the Volvo V90 Cross Country wagon will look like


Gothenburg’s new wagon will battle luxury crossovers
Sales of the Volvo V90 station wagon haven’t even started, but the Swedish automaker has already been caught testing the next iteration: The Volvo V90 Cross Country is in the works and it will feature a raised ride height, all-wheel drive, a reworked suspension, body cladding, redesigned bumpers and front and rear fascias, roof rails and some beefy tires.
The V90 Cross Country is expected to pick up where the XC70 Cross Country will leave off at the end of the year, replacing a model which has been on sale since 2007. The new Cross Country wagon is expected to be powered by the brand’s now-ubiquitous 2.0-liter inline-four connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission pumping out 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque in T6 guise.

While other markets will likely receive the diesel D5 version as well as a front-wheel-drive T5 good for 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, North America will likely get just the T6 AWD model — Cross Country buyers won’t want a soft-road wagon with only two driving wheels. A T8 plug-in hybrid AWD version, good for 410 hp, may be offered as well. The base V90 wagon, meanwhile, will likely offer the T5 powerplant coupled with front-wheel drive.
Expect the V90 Cross Country to debut at the end of 2016 or early 2017, going on sale during the first half of next year. Volvo won’t be facing Subaru alone; by 2017 expect to see a response from Mercedes-Benz in the form of a similarly upgraded E-Class station wagon.

Volvo Could Add Variants outside of Core Models, Including Possibly a Coupe or Convertible

Volvo is in the midst of a comprehensive overhaul of its lineup, and right now the focus is on renewing the three core vehicle lines—from the range-topping 90-series cars (XC90, V90, and S90), to the mid-level 60-series, to the entry-level 40-series compacts. But what happens when that task is done? At the reveal event for two concept cars previewing the XC40 compact crossover and one other 40-series car/crossover mix, a video animation depicted the brand’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) with a variety of different body styles, including a convertible. The point was to highlight CMA’s flexibility—after all, this platform will underpin at least two 40-series Volvos, as well as an unknown number of cars for Volvo’s parent company, Geely—but it turns out the video might not have been pure hyperbole.
In a sit-down with Volvo’s head of research and development, Peter Mertens, we asked whether the CMA platform could support variants beyond the crossover, wagon, and stilted-up sedan Volvo has proposed so far. His response? Of course CMA could sit beneath a convertible or perhaps even a coupe, but for now, Volvo’s focus for that platform—and its larger sibling, Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which sits beneath the full-size 90-series cars and will underpin a new generation of mid-size 60-series Volvos—is on the core models. Over the next few years, Volvo hopes to bring out V (wagon), S (sedan), Cross Country (lifted V or S), and XC (crossover) versions of the 60- and 90-series cars; the 40-series, per Volvo, is only confirmed to have V, Cross Country, and XC variants.
The timeline for that core-model rollout stretches for another four years, at which point Mertens intends for the new-for-2016 XC90 to be “the oldest Volvo” on sale. After that, Volvo’s R&D chief left open the possibility of adding “emotional products” such as a convertible, a coupe, or even a coupe/SUV modeled after the BMW X6.


As attractive as Volvo’s recent products are, none compare to the Concept Coupe and the Concept Estate two-door shooting brake displayed at auto shows in the past few years. Sure, the shooting brake ultimately previewed the production V90 wagon, but a true two-door shooting brake like Volvo’s classic P1800ES would be a hell of a thing. So far, the 2013 Concept Coupe hasn’t directly foreshadowed any production Volvo, but we think it would make quite the competitor for the next-generation Audi A5, as well as for BMW’s 4-series and the upcoming Infiniti Q60. Whatever Volvo has hidden up its sleeve, however, we’ll need to wait awhile. We don’t expect further hints of non-core Volvo models to surface until closer to 2020, when the automaker’s fully revitalized lineup will be in showrooms.