Volvo is making rear-wheel-drive cars for the first time in 25 years | Top Gear
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Volvo is making rear-wheel-drive cars for the first time in 25 years

Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge EVs get new powertrain options and better range for 2023

Published: 16 Jan 2023
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The last rear-wheel-drive car to wear a Volvo badge from the factory was called S90, and that was 25 years ago. It’s now 2023, and Volvo is bringing sideways back. Sort of. And because it’s 2023, it’ll be electric.

Both the single-motor XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge EVs switch from front-wheel-drive to rear-wheel-drive, driven by a slightly more powerful electric motor kicking out 235bhp – 175kW versus the outgoing FWD car’s 170kW.

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The battery’s the same size at 69kWh, but Volvo’s been tweaking the cooling efficiency so on the XC40 Recharge, range increases from 264 miles to 286 miles (WLTP), which is a fair old increase.

The C40 Recharge improves even more – that’s up from 272 miles before to a shade under 300 miles (296). Slipperier shape, innit. Volvo tells us the 10-80 per cent recharge time on a 130kW DC public charger is just 34 minutes.

There’s a more powerful RWD version available but we won’t get those in the UK, and to rub it in, both get just under 250bhp from that rear-mounted e-motor, and ranges of 320 miles for the XC40 and 331 miles on the C40.

The dual-motor, AWD versions of both cars called Recharge Twin – get updates too, replacing the dual 150kW motors front and back for a 117kW motor up front, and 183kW motor on the back. The total output remains the same, mind, at just over 400bhp. Both get bigger batteries too – 82kWh – and so get more miles on one charge (311 for the XC40, 315 for the C40).

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“These updates are another big step in our work towards becoming a fully electric car maker by 2030,” said Volvo COO Javier Varela. “Range and charging times are new key factors for more and more of our customers, and these improvements make our fully electric models even more attractive than they already were.”

Key factors, of course. Though we live in eternal hope that a rogue Volvo engineer programmes in a 500bhp RWD version and someone at the top greenlights it…

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