To our eyes, the new Volvo C70 is much more successfully styled than some recent coupé-convertibles, with none of the dumpiness around the rear three-quarter that afflicts the Peugeot 307 CC, say.
Volvo claims that it first designed the C70 as a coupé, only setting out to make it a hard-roofed convertible later. And it shows. If there’s a downside to this approach, it’s that the C70’s boot space is limited when the roof is stowed.
Although it has a fairly large load area of 404 litres with the hood up, lower the roof and maximum space falls to just 200 litres. Worse still, access to that space is through a narrow gap beneath the C70’s loadbay divider. This must be locked into position to separate the boot into two spaces; one for luggage, one for the roof mechanism. Lowering the roof turns a spacious, wide and deep boot into something suitable only for a couple of squashy bags.
The roof mechanism has been, as with so many coupé-convertible models, developed in conjunction with Italian design house Pininfarina. In the C70’s case, it’s a three-piece item – one comprising the rear window and surrounds, with the two other pieces making up the lengthy roof. To raise or lower the roof you just have to press a button on the centre console: one for up, one for down. The operation takes about 30 seconds either way.
The C70 is a full four-seater, so the roof is longer than that of a 2+2 coupé-cabriolet. With so much of the structure unable to boost structural strength with the roof down, it is an enormous challenge to retain rigidity in the bodyshell.