Volvo V40 D4
The Volvo V40 - not a top choice for those looking for a sporty motor. But, the new D4 promises to change that, with superb GTD-rivalling performance and GTD-shattering economy.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the V40 D4 is all-new, a part of Volvo's new Drive-E engine family that will make its way into the entire Volvo line-up soon. The statistics of this engine are really rather remarkable; for a long time, performance diesel engines have been able to keep up with performance petrol engines whilst delivering superior economy, but this engine takes this to a whole new level - in fact, it puts the V40 D4 into a class of its own.
The V40 D4 engine produces 188 horsepower and 295 lb /ft of torque. It is driven to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox, and will it will get the V40 from 0 - 62 mph in 7.4 seconds, which is 0.1 seconds faster than a 6-speed manual Volkswagen Golf GTD.
But those are not the headline figures. You see, while the V40 D4 will just beat the Golf GTD to 62 mph, it does so by literally sipping fuel.
Get this; the Volvo V40 D4 will return 74.2 mpg with CO2 emissions of 99g/km. These economy figures would be respectable for an entry-level diesel car, such as a Golf 1.6 TDI, let alone a performance-diesel that can out sprint a Golf GTD. By comparison, a Golf GTD with less power can only manage 67.3 mpg with CO2 emissions of 106 g/km - that's good economy, but nowhere near what the D4 can achieve.
So, the combination of performance and frugality with the Volvo V40 D4 is remarkable, and it should be the top choice for motorists who want a performance car that doesn't drink fuel. But you and I of course know that there's more to a performance diesel than straight line pace and economy - a performance diesel must also sound nice and handle well, something which diesels traditionally struggle with because of the heavy engines with make a car nose-heavy.
Well, the V40 D4 isn't what we would call nose-heavy. The new engine is 30kg lighter than the older five-cylinder engine, thanks to a unique range of materials. The engine is, as you would expect, lighter than the 2.0-litre TDI in the Golf, which is sure to please handling enthusiasts out there. The V40 D4 actually weighs around the same as the Volkswagen Golf GTD, which has a kerb weight of 1,377 kg.
Volvo is said to have addressed a major criticism of the D2 and D3 with the D4; power bands and gear ratios. In those cars, maximum torque is delivered at 1,750 rpm, but the gear ratios always kept you out of those sweet zones. In the D4, we are promised that the car will always be on boost.