From £29,035
Cheaper than the Mercedes CLK, but still not cheap, the D5 diesel engine is refined enough and neatly suits the C70's cruising ability.

What's new? Not all that long ago, the notion of a diesel Volvo cabriolet, let alone one as handsome as the new C70, would have been derided. But here it is, and we’ll waste no time at all by letting you know right from the off that it’s really rather good.The C70 doesn’t need glamorous locations or scorching weather to look good: this folding hard-top coupe-cabriolet looks just as appealing with the roof up on a grey, rainy day as it does in the sun by the coast with the roof down. Which is just as well, given English weather.The transformation from tin-top to drop-top takes about 30sec, the folded roof taking up half of the otherwise 404-litre boot. Very impressive, but what we’re really interested in here is the installation of Volvo’s 2.4-litre five-cylinder D5 turbodiesel engine up front.What's it like? Turn the key and there’s no mistaking the engine’s rumblings for anything but those of an oil-burner. It’s not unduly clattery, but neither is it especially tuneful at tickover. For the moment, the D5 is only available with a five-speed automatic gearbox known as Geartronic - a six-speed manual will be available from next summer.So, stick it in Drive and rumble off, and straight away the engine reveals a rather characterful mooing, which is a far from unpleasant accompaniment.Should you wish, you can be doing 60mph in 8.8sec, but we suspect you may take longer. It’s not that we doubt Volvo’s performance claims, more that the whole experience of driving this car is so relaxing that you won’t be in any hurry.On the move and below 2000rpm the engine is so muted it’s near inaudible, regardless of whether the roof is up or down. At speed the loudest thing is road roar, which in itself is not unduly intrusive, while the plentiful torque (258lb ft from 1750-3250rpm) means there’s no need to thrash the engine.The ride is similarly relaxing, treading the right line between softness and agility. It’s a decent drive, although the steering is slightly heavy rather than feelsome, and has a too-aggressive self-centering action.Should I buy one? So, the D5 engine fits very nicely into the whole C70 package, but at £29,420 in base Sport trim, rising to £30,670 and £33,170 in SE and SE Lux trims respectively, it isn’t cheap, even against its BMW 3-series and Audi A4 rivals. Then again, next to a Merc CLK it seems positively good value.Rory Lumsdon

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