For 2006, Volvo introduces its second-generation convertible, the C70, a four-seater with a retractable hardtop that folds away into the trunk.

Slightly shorter but just as wide as its predecessor, the C70’s crowning achievement is its three-piece roof, which folds automatically at the touch of a button in thirty seconds, and contains a normal-size glass rear window. Volvo says it is first car company to offer this on a four-passenger car in North America; the C70 is designed and will be built as a joint venture between Volvo and Italian designer and builder Pininfarina.

Sharing its basic technology with other Volvo models, the C70 features front-wheel-drive, electro-hydraulic steering, MacPherson front suspension and multi-link rear axle. The chassis is lower than a standard Volvo chassis, by 10 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear for better driving dynamics, and Volvo’s Dynamic Stability and Traction Control System is standard equipment.

One engine is offered, a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine with light-pressure turbocharger that’s borrowed from the S40/V50; transmission choices are a five-speed automatic with Geartronic manual mode, or a six-speed manual originally developed for Volvo’s high-performance models.

Other features include a thin “floating” centre stack, borrowed from the S40; special “Vulcaflex” synthetic seat material, with optional leather interior; optional power seats; available Dolby Pro Logic II Surround audio system with up to fourteen speakers; and ski hatch.

The C70 is a beautiful vehicle; it was originally designed as a coupe to achieve its overall shape, and then adapted as a convertible. When in place, the roof adds 15 per cent rigidity. Side curtain airbags deploy from the tops of the doors, functioning whether the roof is up or down; the C70 also features rollover protection, with two roll bars that deploy from behind the rear seats. Should the car be greasy-side-up, the bars and the hydroformed A-pillars are designed to support twice the vehicle’s weight.

The C70 is a late introduction and is expected to be available in the summer of 2006.

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