2006 Volvo S40 T5

By Gaywheels.com Staffers

Gaywheels.com staffers recently spent some quality time with a 2006 Volvo S40 T5. Vastly improved over the previous S40, the design is in its second year and hasn’t lost its uniqueness in the ultra-competitive entry-luxury category. Volvo, long known as a safety innovator, finally has a product that can compete in the swimsuit category. The question is, can she sing?

Like the best pageant contestants across the land, the S40 is an all-around package with substance to backup a curvaceous body. We were impressed at first sight; beautiful lines and gorgeous accessories complement the stylish interior – notably the very sleek remote-control style “ultra slim” center console and wonderfully comfortable seats. The love affair continued with the first turn of the key. Although not as melodious as some 6 cylinders, the turbo-charged five cylinder had a distinctive sound; not glorious but not offensive either. It marches to its own tune.

It looks great, sounds good, is stylish and is even incredibly comfortable. But what about the catwalk? How does it strut its stuff compared to other models? We’re happy to report, that the S40 handles even the toughest competitors with aplomb.

Our tester was equipped with a 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder turbo-charged engine with 218 horsepower. 218 horsepower may not sound sufficient but it is plenty to get this Swedish entrant down the road with a skip in her step. We had the optional $1,200 automatic transmission, which provided seamless shifting and we only noticed minor turbo lag at launch. The more athletic 6-speed manual would no doubt enhance the sporty character and fun-to-drive quotient.

We spent a lot of time driving around Atlanta and appreciated the compact size and maneuverability of the S40. We did notice that the rearward visibility was somewhat difficult because of the chunky rear c-pillars that make up Volvo’s signature beefy shoulder styling. Ah, the price of beauty!

So, how does the S40 stack up? Would it earn the crown or simply be a numerical runner up? We ask you to be the judge. The S40 definitely has enough style and grace to compete with the Mercedes, Audis and BMW’s that are driving around Midtown Atlanta, but without the same price tag. If you want the prestige of a luxury brand but don’t want to wear the same “uniform” as everyone else, the S40 should definitely be on your shopping list. Sexy, fast, safe, fun and gay-friendly – it is definitely a “contenda”.

Likes:

  • Center console – “Ultra-Slim” and very cool
  • Stylish and Sleek – love the beefy shoulder design
  • Solid and safe – Volvo is well known for their safety
  • Front seats – extremely comfortable
  • T5 Engine power – with no significant turbo lag

Dislikes:

  • Price –  gets steep with options
  • Interior plastics – some switches in the center console are sub par
  • Poor turning radius

Specs:

  • 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder turbo-charged engine with 218 horsepower @ 5,000 RPM and 236 lb. feet of torque @ 1500 – 4800 RPM
  • EPA rated at 22 city/31 highway

Price:

  • Base MSRP $24,040
  • As tested  $33,275

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