What is it?
The new R-Design Volvo C30. Classified as an option rather than a trim level, adding R-Design will cost an extra £500 and gets you a host of design tweaks, the most significant of which is the two-tone leather interior and external body kit. The R-design model we're testing is the C30 T5 SE Sport.
What's it like?
The R-Design kit itself is a worthwhile option if you want your C30 to look particularly sporting inside and out. As well as the R-Design badges, you get a rear roof spoiler to match your colour-coded body kit, and on the lower SE trim level you get unique 17-inch alloys, although the SE Sport model tested here keeps the 18-inch design that is standard with the trim level.
It comes as no surprise that this engine - also used in Ford's Focus ST - mated to a six-speed gearbox gives the C30 considerable pace, albeit without the involving dynamics of the Ford.
The cabin is quiet, the engine refined and the interior pleasant – especially with the black and cream leather and subtle console design you get with the R-Design option breaking up the greys of the dashboard.
But even with such decent motorway manners and the draw of the C30's attractive styling and premium feel, there is no getting over the fact that this model comes at a price it cannot justify.
Our test car was fitted with £3700 of options, including the £2150 'communications pack' that accounts for sat-nav and telephone integration, and the excellent Blind Spot Information System worth £650.
At the list price of £23,495, the T5 SE Sport R-Design seems lacking in equipment and dynamics next to its rivals, but with the options that everyone will want it competes in price with the BMW 130i and Audi S3, and it simply isn't as good.
Should I buy one?
Yes, absolutely. But only if you're looking on the used market in 2010, when the range-topping C30 will likely be a sub-£12k purchase and a better ownership proposition in every respect.