End of the Road for Volvo Rs

By: Glady Reign

All good things must come to an end, that is. And the same is true with the R badge of Volvo Cars. The Swedish automaker has started its venture involving high-performance cars in 1995 with the introduction of the 850 T-5R. But Volvo earlier said that it will be stopping the production of the range.

The Volvo 850, which comes as a compact luxury car, is available in both sedan and station wagon body styles. The vehicle is notable as the first front-wheel drive car from this Swedish manufacturer to be exported to North America. The vehicle was yellow, boxy, and above all, very, very fast. For the automaker, the T-5R model is a milestone vehicle. As a fact, Volvo yielded a series of striking racing successes in connection with the model. The car pushed the Swedish automaker to global auto stardom. The car proves to the world that Sweden could make performance machines for both the road and track.

After the 850 T-5R, the Swedish automaker produced the 850 R. The latter was made even more voluptuous and more powerful. After a short hiatus, the R range characteristics returned, gracing the S60 and V70. These vehicles became the ultimate performance car of Volvo. Today's Volvo S60 R and V70 R are equipped with highly advanced auto parts, equipment and accessories, sporting the Four-C adaptive chassis, upgraded which are mated to an all-wheel drive system built by Haldex.

At 2.5-liters in displacement, the inline-five was eclipsed by most of its competitors in size, but assisted by a high-pressure turbocharger its 300 horsepower five-cylinder was more than enough to keep it in the rearview mirrors of M3s and S4s. But the performance was not the end-all for the R, as Volvo took comfort in stride with wonderful seats and a bump-absorbing "Comfort" setting on the adaptive damping suspension system. These cars were some of the best to travel in for long distances.

For the "R" designation, the automaker said it is permanently over. The demise of performance models was attributed to the slow sales. This was the plight of Volvo's Rs. The automaker was hoping to sell a combined total of 3,800 S60 and V70 Rs, but was only able to shift 1,600 cars. What's more, the biggest market for the Swedish automaker failed to pick up on the car. The target sales were not met and the sales numbers for other countries were also missed.

At present the automaker is looking beyond the present to 2008, there are many cars in the Volvo range that could benefit from having the "R" characteristics. Analysts say it is a logical choice to create an R model for the S40 and V50, not to mention the new C30.

But the automaker assures that it is not the end of the road for fast Volvos. According to Automotive News, Volvo's CEO Fredrik Arp said that the brand would continue to work on new performance models, but not to expect anything soon. In the meantime, he points to the C30 T5, S80 V8 and the forthcoming Volvo V70 T5 with its 295-hp turbocharged version of the new straight-six engine as showing the direction for the future of performance Volvos.

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