It’s taken a little while, but Volvo has finally replaced the V40 hatchback which went off sale in 2019. Well, kind of - the ‘C40 Recharge’ is a very different car to the one it indirectly succeeds.
As the name implies, it’s fully electric, and also the first Volvo-branded model to entirely eschew internal combustion. It’s also not a traditional C-segment hatchback either, with much more of a crossover vibe, apparently because customers will be after a lofty driving position. We’re surprised Volvo didn’t follow the herd and call this an ‘XC40 Coupe’ or similar.
The other thing that sets it apart from the old V40? It’s enormously fast. The only powertrain available from launch will be the same ‘P8’ dual-motor setup used in the XC40 Recharge, which is good for a fairly silly 402bhp and 487lb ft of instant torque. Mash your foot on the go pedal from rest, and 62mph will arrive in a mere 4.9 seconds. The top speed meanwhile is limited to 112mph.
The motors are fed by a 75kWh battery pack which will give a range of 261 miles (WLTP), so long as you’re not trying to do 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds every five minutes. The range will improve over time thanks to over-the-air updates, Volvo says. Charging at the C40’s maximum input of 150kW, it’s possible to juice the battery from empty to 80 per cent in about 40 minutes.
For anyone not bothered about being able to give a VW Golf R a run for its money away from the traffic lights, we suspect there will be less powerful and thus cheaper versions filling out the range at a later date. That’s a good thing since the expected starting price for the C40 T8 will be about £50,000.
Inside, it’s much the same as the XC40 Recharge, Google Android-based infotainment system. We spent some time with a similar setup in the related Polestar 2 and were left impressed, even if it commits the cardinal sin of ditching the physical climate buttons and dials for digital controls.
Production will begin this Autumn at the Ghent, Belgium factory used to produce the XC40. UK deliveries may not begin until early 2022. It’ll be sold exclusively online.