What is it?
The Volvo S40 2.0d is one of three models in the Volvo range to get the new six-speed double-clutch Powershift gearbox already available in the Focus. Volvo claims that by using two wet clutches that work independently of one another, you get the performance of a manual with the benefits of a fully automatic should you want to stick it in ‘D’ and ignore the gearstick.
It won’t be a cheap option, though. The Powershift gearbox will set you back £1400 and is only available with the 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is also one of the more expensive models in the S40 range.
What’s it like?
Effective. The smooth up-change works well with the diesel S40’s generally laid-back character and makes good use of the 134bhp engine’s 236lb ft of torque.
Down-changes are equally effortless provided you’re just cruising, but as soon as you plant your foot in the floor the gearbox is thrown into confusion and will leave a very noticeable pause between being asked to change down and actually engaging a gear.
If you really want to change gear manually then you can, but it seems a minor aside when the ‘box is good enough at picking cogs itself and there are no paddles with which to change gear, either.