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Words: Tim Barnes-Clay
Featured in the December 2014 issue

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The Volvo V40 boasts class-leading driving dynamics thanks to a chassis that offers an agile connected experience, which in turn creates real-world driving pleasure.

In standard guise the car appears low, squat and capable. It looks even better with the ‘R-Design’ body kit. This exterior comes with a host of subtle, yet cool characteristics such as twin exhaust tailpipes and five-spoke, diamond-cut alloy wheels.

The cabin also gains from unique features such as embossed R-Design upholstery, sports steering wheel, sports pedals and aluminium inlays.

A muscle-bound, 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine churns out 250bhp, propelling the machine from 0–62 in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is an even more impressive 155mph.

In some ways it makes the perfect sleeper car. If you’re not sure what that is, a sleeper or Q-car is a vehicle that has high performance and an exterior that looks little or no different from a standard motor. In other words it’s a bit of a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.

Behind the wheel you soon realise what hooligan-like behaviour the V40 T5 is capable of. Bury your right foot in the carpet and it pulls like a freight train. Direct it into a bend at speed and you come out the other side wondering how on earth you did it. The way it hangs on to the tarmac and turns in to corners is, by and large, superb.

In wet conditions under aggressive driving you do get the front understeering, but lift off the throttle and the Swede soon pulls back into line. By the way, if you’re unsure what understeer is, it’s basically what occurs when your car steers less than the amount commanded by you.

Most of the time, though, the Volvo makes winding country roads fun, and with its precise, nimble moves it has all it takes to stay on top of busy urban traffic too.

The V40 T5 starts at £31,900 and my test car included extra bells and whistles such as a ‘Driver Support Package’ which came with lane change alert, blind spot assist, driver alert control and collision warning.

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