The performance headline grabber in the C70 is the sole petrol engine, the T5. Volvo's five-cylinder unit – which also powered the old 2.5-litre Ford Focus ST in a higher state of tune – develops 230bhp at 5000rpm, but more importantly 236lb ft of torque all the way from 1500 to 5000rpm. It’s a very flexible unit that sounds good: a cultured and endearing noise that’s smooth and characterful.
It’s a shame that the C70’s engine has so much weight to lug around, and is hampered further by the slow-acting Geartronic automatic gearbox. The C70 is not a small car, and it tips the scales at more than 1700kg. Nevertheless, the T5 makes a decent fist of hauling itself around. Our wet figuring session saw the C70 scrabble to 60mph in 8.4sec (Volvo claims 7.4sec to 62mph), but in-gear flexibility is commendable.
Unsurprisingly, the core engines are both diesels with two different power outputs. The D3 and D5 – both 2.0-litre units – develop 148bhp and 174bhp respectively, with peak power arriving at 3500rpm. The D3’s 258lb ft peaks at 1500rpm, with the D5’s 295lb ft reaching its maximum at 1500rpm.
Both engines give respectable performance and plentiful in-gear flexibility, leggy sixth gear aside. The engine emits more than its share of volume – although because it’s a five-cylinder unit rather than a four-pot, like all of its rivals, the noise isn’t unpleasant.
Both diesels are available with a smooth six-speed manual gearbox, which is a far better choice than the sluggish Geartronic five-speed automatic.