The Volvo V70R Is a Subtle Swedish Sleeper

Electric-blue Polestar wagons aside, Volvo’s performance cars tend to be rather low-key. That includes models like the C30 hot hatch and 850R wagon. But then, that’s the joy of having a sleeper car: extra speed without unnecessary attention. And it’s a concept the Volvo V70R embodies extremely well.

Volvo V70R: specs and features

A light-blue 2003 Volvo S60R taking a corner on a racetrack
2003 Volvo S60R | Volvo

While the 850R and earlier T-5R were fairly sporty for their time, they were hampered a bit by their front-wheel-drive design. In contrast, the Volvo V70R and its sedan counterpart, the S60R, have AWD, Motor Trend reports.

A silver-gray 2004 Volvo V70R
2004 Volvo V70R | Bring a Trailer

They also have more power. The Volvo V70R has a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine with 2 intercoolers, rated at 300 hp. With the 5-speed and later 6-speed automatic, the engine produces 258 lb-ft of torque, Car and Driver reports. But with the 6-speed manual, the wagon makes 295 lb-ft, which gives it a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds, TFLCar reports. That’s the same time as a modern V90 T6 Inscription, Car and Driver reports.

In addition to the AWD, the Volvo V70R has Brembo brakes with ventilated discs, Automobile reports. And in a preview of modern Polestars, the sleeper wagon rides on Monroe shocks and Ohlins-developed adjustable dampers. There are 3 settings: Comfort, Sport, and Advanced Sport; the latter also sharpens the throttle response.

The 2005 Volvo V70R's interior, with brown leather seats, blue gauges, and a 6-speed manual
2005 Volvo V70R interior | Bring a Trailer

The Volvo V70R also has a few interior and exterior upgrades. It has a functional rear spoiler, and a different bumper, Autoblog reports. Plus, the leather sport seats are heated.

What’s the Volvo V70R like to drive?

White 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon driving on a city bridge
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon | Cadillac

The Volvo V70R isn’t quite on the level of a BMW M car or one of Audi’s sporty Avants, MT reports. And the last-gen Cadillac CTS-V wagon makes significantly more power.

That being said, while the V70R isn’t a track car, the Swedish wagon is sporty enough for back-road fun. And while the traction control can intervene a bit too much, it is adjustable, Car and Driver reports. The brakes are excellent, and while there’s not a lot of steering feel, the steering itself is suitably quick.

On pock-marked roads, the suspension can lead to a somewhat harsh ride, even in Comfort Mode. But the trade-off is sharp handling with minimal body roll. In MT’s slalom, the wagon out-sped contemporary Corvettes.

And when you don’t want to carve in the canyons, the Volvo V70R is a genuinely luxurious car, the New York Times reports. The seats are extremely comfortable, and the options list included a 6-disc CD changer and a Dolby Prologic audio system. Plus, it’s a wagon, with seating for 5 and enough space to carry all their cargo. And if you don’t get in a loud color, it just blends into traffic. At least until you put your foot down.

Getting one for yourself

As with the V60 Polestar, Volvo V70R production was rather limited. Only 3407 were made from 2004-2007, TFLCar reports. And most were automatic-equipped models.

A blue 2006 Volvo V70R
2006 Volvo V70R | Bring a Trailer

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That being said, the Volvo V70R is fairly affordable these days. New, it retailed at $40,000. But it’s possible to find a well-maintained example on Bring a Trailer for $10,000-$15,000. As of this writing, there’s a 2006 example listed for $6000. Manual models, though, command a premium: they typically go for $15,000-$20,000.

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