By Matthew Brand
ImageI couldn’t have chosen better wheels to enjoy the journey from Cape Point to Cape Town—especially considering the empty stretch of about 29km of freeway between my starting point and final destination.
The vibration of the engine worked its way up my spine, like Morse code tapping out a message: Floor this machine!
The primary focus of Volvo has been safety. So it’s quite refreshing to prowl up behind a BMW or Audi in a Volvo that can accelerate from 0-100 in six seconds. That’s the C30 T5. A combination of both safety and power. Putting one’s foot down is pure exhilaration. This chariot of fire has 18’’ alloys, sexy curves and sports suspension cocooning a more-than-modest 2,5 litre turbo-charged engine boasting an output of 169kw. The engine has a guttural, primal sound that is both satisfying and reassuring.
Even with its 10 per cent faster steering response time, at high speeds you’ll find yourself holding onto the multi functional steering wheel with both hands. And, idling at a stoplight, you won’t be able to wait for the admiring looks of pedestrians shocked by the short four-wheel spin and devilish acceleration to the next intersection.
Unlike changes in previous Volvo models the C30 T5 has undergone a comprehensive revamp. The entire front has been redesigned. It gives the car a radical new appearance from the front. This, coupled with the angled lines of the front bumper and the new headlamps, reinforces the impression of speed and sportiness.
Since Volvo’s birth in 1927, quality craftsmanship has been the name of the game. That’s the beauty of the C30 T5. It doesn’t look out of place in any situation, whether you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt or a suit and tie. The car has charisma, stance and energy. And no matter what kind of music you enjoy—hip hop, Gregorian chants or the karaoke version of umshini wam—the high-performance sound system satisfies the most discerning hi-fi techie.
There is a bit of a let down in the case of the interior trim, especially given the plush, padded nature of the cabin’s front half. Other niggles are the small glove box and the inexpensive, monochrome LCD characters in the information display. And, when people want to get in the back, the slow forward motion of the front seats that are electrically driven.
That said, the C30 is set to replace all vehicles in its class as one of the trendiest hatches in town.