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New Volvo C70 Entices Sun Worshipers

The Volvo C70 banished the perception that the Swedish marque only produced load-luggers for country folk obsessed with maypole dancing.

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The Volvo C70 banished the perception that the Swedish marque only produced load-luggers for country folk obsessed with maypole dancing. Twelve years later, this newly revitalised icon is cruising into town in a sharp designer suit.

The latest C70 is a four-seater convertible with a retractable hard-top roof. There are four engines available, the 2.4-litre and 2.5-litre petrols - and 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre diesels. The T5 2.5-litre is the most powerful model producing 230bhp, roaring to sixty in 7 seconds, and charging to a licence loosing 150mph.

The penalty for this exhilarating performance is the mediocre fuel economy of only 31.7mpg (combined). However, there is an enticing compromise between performance and economy - the D5 2.4-litre. This diesel model is only 1.6 seconds slower to sixty than its illustrious stable-mate, and capable of a similar top speed. The major benefit is that it returns a combined average of 42.8mpg - 11.1 more then the wallet-wrecking T5.

There is more good news in terms of safety. The C70 features a 'roll over protection system' which, if the vehicle rolls, expands the survival zone by forcing protective bars through the rear glass. This is in addition to anti-lock brakes, seat belt pre-tensioners, and more air bags than a maypole has ribbons.

The Volvo C70 will be available from early 2010. Prices are expected to range from £25,000 to £34,000 on-the-road.