From the July 1982 challenge of Automobile and Driver.
When Volvos first rolled ashore in these United States simply over 25 years in the past, they have been enthusiastically obtained as a result of they reminded Individuals of American automobiles. They appeared like ’47 Fords, had the identical kind of guts, and ran quicker. There was an American temperament in regards to the Volvo, albeit about 10 years behind what Detroit was doing within the marshmallow years of the late Fifties, and we Yanks welcomed Volvos in a method we by no means did the Saabs, Peugeots, English Fords, and Mercedes-Benzes of the time.
With the brand new 760GLE, you would possibly say that Volvo is returning to its American methods. From the sedan’s squarish seemance, you would possibly even say it is the American automotive of the longer term, Volvo having taken GM’s creased-and-folded look one step additional within the evolution. Might this be what GM will do subsequent? And a few would say it is an enchancment over the current A-body design as a result of the Volvo is constantly sharp-cornered whereas the abruptness of the Movie star-6000-Ciera-Century roofline will not be faithfully continued within the decrease physique. In any case, in the event you flip the Volvo aspectmethods, you see the identical ramp nostril, stiff rear-window angle, and excessive tail of the GM intermediates, and this look is rapidly changing into as acquainted to Individuals because the molded–Jell-O profile of the ’47 Ford was in Volvo’s early days.
The brand new Volvo can be nearly identical in measurement to the brand new GM A-body, which places it proper within the mainstream of American vehicles. Its size and width are similar to the A-body dimensions inside about an inch, although the Volvo is 2.7 inches taller and has 4.1 inches extra wheelbase. The additional distance between the wheels preserve the rear wheelhouses from biting into the corners of the rear seat. This can be a downsized Volvo, 4.0 inches shorter and roughly 75 kilos lighter than the GLE it replaces, but it is nonetheless as large as—and a bit heavier than—the latest American intermediates. Early Volvos have been comparatively small automobiles; today’s should not.
Early Volvos made no pretension to luxurious both. The 760GLE is a top-of-the-line mannequin, one of the best Volvo’s obtained, a direct competitor with the underside finish of the Mercedes spectrum in Europe. Right here it is meant to tiptoe proper as much as the $20,000 mark (costs have but to be introduced) with a full load of kit, together with leather-based seats, local weather management, AM/FM/cassette stereo, energy windows, energy sunroof, cruise management, central locking system, bun-warmer seats, and so forth., and so forth. Which will or might not be your concept of royal remedy, nevertheless it positive leaves the ersatz-Ford days behind.
By the best way, this new mannequin replaces solely the top-of-the-line CLE within the Volvo lineup, leaving the remainder of the previous-style vary intact. Considerably, the 760 can be the one Volvo bereft of mud flaps, which might restrict its attraction to traditionalists.
Peeling off the mud flaps is claimed to be an aerodynamic consideration. As a byproduct, it additional Americanizes (perhaps de-Swedes is extra correct) the looks. However when you look underneath the pores and skin, the 760 continues to be very a lot a Volvo. There was no following of the Individuals to entrance drive. A longitudinal engine and a strong rear axle make up the drivetrain, simply as earlier than. There are two engine selections for America: the all-aluminum 2.8-liter V-6 that Volvo has been sharing with Renault and Peugeot for years, and the two.4-liter inline-six diesel from Volkswagen, utilized by Volvo since 1980 however newly turbocharged for the 760. The turbo pumps output to 106 horsepower at 4800 rpm, making this a peppy little unit and one of many quickest diesels going. Transmission selections are restricted to an computerized with the V-6, modernized with a button on the aspect of the shift deal with to summon or reject the overdrive because the driver sees match. The diesel will be backed up with both a three-speed computerized or a four-speed-plus-overdrive handbook.
We sampled a few of every in our take a look ating: a handbook diesel camouflaged by the older 260GLE physique, and a 760GLE with a Euro-spec V-6 and an automatic. The diesel was about the correct weight for an American-spec 760, and it was a high-quality runner, clocking 60 mph in 11.8 seconds. First gear is on the brief aspect for something however drag racing or trailer pulling; beginning in second works high-quality in regular driving. Additionally, the turbo has appreciable lag in routine visitors until you retain the engine buzzing. However you at all times know when to count on outcomes, as a result of you’ll be able to hear the compressor spooling up like some previous J-47 underneath the hood.
The gasoline model was even faster at 9.2 seconds to 60 mph, however this might be a really optimistic estimate of what to anticipate from a U.S.-spec model, for the reason that automotive was down at the very least 60 kilos from the true factor and the engine was considerably stronger. The automated is kind of enjoyable, nonetheless; it shifts firmly, each up and down, with not one of the dithering between gears that we discover on a number of the allegedly extra sophisticated packing containers. The O.D. button is de facto solely a lockout, nonetheless, permitting the motive force to stop the transmission from automatically choosing cruising gear. For efficiency’s sake it is most likely one of the best course to go away that button unpushed.
A fast take a look at the suspension finds MacPherson struts in entrance and an axle with trailing arms in again, the same old Volvo stuff. However in reality there are lots of minor revisions. Optimistic camber has been diminished to zero from 0.8 diploma in entrance, and caster has been elevated to five.0 from 3.5 levels, which ought to give the entrance tires extra cornering chunk and extra really feel within the steering. Alloy wheels with larger offset (within the route that narrows the monitor) cut back the scrub radius to twenty-eight mm from 37 mm. This nonetheless produces a optimistic radius (the tire contact patch outboard of a line by means of the higher and decrease strut pivots), as opposed to the destructive radius now fashionable on front-drive automobiles, nevertheless it ought to enhance stability when one aspect of the automotive brakes throughout a slipperier surface than the opposite. Different adjustments include extra correct Ackermann angles and a rack-and-pinion gear mounted very low within the automotive. The payoff right here is that the gear will be contained throughout the entrance crossmember for defense. Furthermore, the slack that develops from put on within the gear can have minimal impact on the wheels.
Notable within the rear are a pair of axle-stabilizing torque hyperlinks that connect to an enormous bracket that, in flip, is rubber-isolated from the physique. That is designed to enhance experience with out sacrificing management of the axle. There are additionally height-leveling shock absorbers.
How does all this reengineering really feel to the motive force? Superb. No issues. The 760 nonetheless acts like a Volvo, though it is a bit crisper within the steering. And body-roll angles appear higher managed. However this latest of Volvos is not any Ford within the experience division. It is decidedly direct in the best way it transmits chuckholes, enlargement strips, and particular person pebbles to the seat of your pants. Actual U.S.-spec automobiles can have low-rolling-resistance Pirelli P8s within the 185/65R-15 measurement; there have been 195/60 P6s on the Euro automotive we drove. It will change the experience some, however there may be little probability it’ll turn into plush.
Any plushness that you just really feel shall be a product of the inside. Very probably, you’ll not be dissatisfied. Leather-based has a method of successful over nearly everybody, and the 760’s broad horizontal pleats give it a luxurious look (velour is commonplace on the Euro mannequin). The entrance seats are sometimes Volvo, with advertjustments for backrest angle, top, and lumbar stiffness. The cushions are considerably softer and fewer supportive than these of the previous GLE, that are pretty much as good as automotive seats come. A few of us preferred the brand new seats much less.
The 760’s rear seats are magnificent by any commonplace. They’re extraordinarily high-chair-height for sure and remarkably agency. The truth that the gasoline tank and rear suspension are proper beneath has loads to do with this. Nonetheless, although you’re positioned excessive, the place you’ll be able to see ahead over the motive force’s shoulder, you continue to have loads of head and knee room even in the event you’re a six-footer. The undersides of the entrance buckets have been scooped out for shoe clearance, so you’ll be able to put your toes effectively ahead. Every part is copacetic again there.
It isn’t unhealthy in entrance both. The low beltline eliminates the confining feeling of previous Volvo interiors. The driving position is nice. The sprint is very like that of previous Volvos, however extra complicated. Now there are 5 dials within the instrument cluster as a substitute of three, and we’re conscious of extra grilles within the vent system, creases within the molded padding, and knock-out panels for yet-to-be-added switches—extra complicated however not bewildering. There is a continuity of favor right here that previous Volvo house owners will recognize instantly.
We might wish to see just a few enhancements within the 760. The physique of this explicit automotive is a bit clattery, and wind rush is conspicuous across the A-pillars. The experience would not fairly appear as much as 1983 standards both. However maybe these things shall be much less objectionable when the official U.S. fashions roll on this fall.
In any case, this new Volvo will not be a automotive of surprises. Like its predecessors, it eschews the fashionable in favor of a common-sense strategy to automotive constructing. That theme has attracted a fairly substantial throng of patrons through the years, and if any of them have $20,000, it ought to proceed to work with the 760.
1982 Volvo 760GLE
Car Sort: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
As Examined: $20,000 (est.)
turbocharged SOHC diesel inline-6, iron block and aluminum head
Displacement: 145 in3, 2383 cm3
Energy: 106 hp @ 4800 rpm
Torque: 139 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/trailing arms
Brakes, F/R: 10.2-in disc/11.1-in disc
Tires: Pirelli P6
Size: 188.0 in
Width: 68.9 in
Top: 55.5 in
Passenger Quantity, F/R: 50/43 ft3
Trunk Quantity: 17 ft3
C/D TEST RESULTS
30 mph: 3.6 sec
60 mph: 11.8 sec
1/4-Mile: 18.3 sec @ 73 mph
80 mph: 23.0 sec
High Gear, 30–50 mph: 15.4 sec
High Gear, 50–70 mph: 13.8 sec
Braking, 70–0 mph: 191 ft
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 32/29/37 mpg