Volvo 480 Turbo – Driving Test – From the Old Box

The nicest from Born?

Volvo 480 Turbo - Driving Test - From the Old Box

Over the years, many different cars have rolled off the line in Born, but the Volvo 480 was perhaps the best. A Volvo that was not only quite Dutch because of its production location. Exactly thirty years ago we drove the tastiest version: the Turbo.

Perhaps you also think back with nostalgia to the 80s and 90s, when numerous car manufacturers still came up with sporty-lined models that were also somewhat accessible to the ‘ordinary man’. The Volvo 480 was one of them. It appeared before the 440 with which it would share its base and, in addition to the 340 still in production at the time, almost seemed to come from the future. Especially his sporty nose with folding headlights and Ferrari Daytona-like daytime running lights got their hands together. It was the work of the Dutchman John de Vries, who wrote down the basic shapes of the winning design in the first half of the 1980s. Under the leadership of Robert Koch, the design of Volvo’s design department in Helmond was further elaborated. The 480 would eventually also roll off the production line in the Netherlands, a little further in Born. Quite a Dutch party, that 480.

Despite its fairly modest base, the 480 with its flashy appearance had to be able to look sporty. Partly for this reason, Volvo screwed a turbo on the 1.7 from Renault. This made it only marginally stronger, the atmospheric 1.7 delivered a maximum (without catalytic converter) 109 hp, the turbo version 120 hp. Yet it gave the 480 a different character. The maximum torque of 175 Nm was still 35 Nm higher and of course the presence of the turbo also made a noticeable difference in the intermediate sprints.

We discovered that the turbo really had added value exactly thirty years ago, when we set out with the Volvo 480 Turbo. “Compared to the unblown 1700 engine, the turbo version doesn’t even offer that much more power and torque, but more torque at the bottom of the rev range. That makes driving in the turbo very relaxed and ensures a perfect ‘connection’ of the Acceleration on the highway in particular benefits from this: a time of less than 9 seconds for the sprint from 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear is really very fast. still spry enough, because that only takes 3 seconds more than in ‘4’.” What we also found a plus was the responsiveness of the turbo and the limited turbo lag. “For example, the turbo engine already delivers its highest torque of 175 newton meters at 2,400 rpm: compared to the ‘regular’ 1700 engine, that is 1,500 rpm less.”

More than enough praise for the 480 Turbo, also for its handling. We thought the regular 480 was already fine in that area and we also think the 480 Turbo could easily lose its extra power. We did miss some playful character. The 480 felt ‘safe and quiet’ in corners rather than really challenging. “The 480 Turbo is therefore not so much a sports coupĂ©, but rather a comfortable, safe and fast travel car, which impresses with its appearance and performance. Its exclusivity in particular makes it worth its money.” We did fear for the 480 Turbo that the additional cost of ten grand compared to the 480 with atmospheric 1.7 was a bit on the strong side. In addition, it handed over the baton to a 2.0, which came a little closer to the Turbo in terms of performance. You also had to be able to live with a fairly impractical car, because you didn’t have to be with the 480 for luggage space. Anyway, you bought a 480 more with your heart than your mind, right?


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