A 193bhp 2.5-litre 20v engine equipped with a light-pressure turbocharger has been brought in to sit alongside the original 240bhp 2.3-litre T5 on the C70 specification list. One's quick, the other's very quick, and their characteristics are markedly different. The lesser-powered 2.5T tested here is designed to provide performance in the grand touring manner. The T5, of which 380 have been sold since its launch in Britain early this year, is an out and out thriller. By December Volvo Car UK expects to have sold 920 C70s - sales boosted by the 2.5T - and 1,400 should find buyers in 1999. Neither is cheap: the 2.5T 'platform' car costs ú30,455 on the road, and the T5 ú32,455. While both are well-equipped compared with a Mercedes-Benz CLK 230K, for instance, extra tailoring can bump the price up significantly.
Our test car came with the GT Pack, which includes electronic climate control, cruise control, TRACS traction control, an SC900 three-stack CD stereo radio-cassette, a 4x100W amplifier, wood dashboard and tunnel console trim, heated front seats, information centre and front cupholders - ú3,500-worth. It also had Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound (ú600 on top of the GT audio), leather/Alcantara upholstery (a ú1,250 option) and an auto dim interior rear view mirror (ú200).
The accessory list is extensive, incorporating items like RTI road traffic information system (ú2,500), automatic transmission (1,100) and a lowered sports chassis (ú215). In fact, up-speccing the C70 can easily put it into the ú35,000 bracket and beyond - normally the preserve of Mercedes and BMW competitors.