Volvo has shown off its V40 family hatch resplendent in R-Design trim for the first time. The pack comprises sporty body addenda and wheels, tweaks to the interior and an optional sports chassis.
Similar to the M Sport or S-line packages offered by BMW and Audi, R-Design is expected to be specced on 25% of UK-bought V40s.
What exterior mods do Volvo V40 R-Designs models get?
The Volvo V40 might be the safest car Euro NCAP has ever tested, but Volvo has decided not to play it so safe with the R-Design styling. The rear gets twin exhausts, a cheeky diffuser arrangement and silver highlighting, while at the front you'll spot a deeper front bumper and LED running lights.
V40 R-Designs ride on 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, but 18s can be specced as an option. The show car heading for Paris in a few weeks is the same shade of 'Rebel Blue' you can see in these pictures, but if don't fret you're not a fan - there's other exterior hues on offer.
And on the inside of the 2012 Volvo V40 R-Design?
Unique to the R-Design cabin is branded part-leather upholstery, a sports steering wheel and pedals, and aluminium trim inlays.
Upgrade to to the R-Design Lux and you get full-leather , adaptive xenon headlights with headlight cleaning system, rain sensor, cruise control, keyless start and rear ambient lighting.
So what's this sports chassis - on a Volvo?
Yup - it's actually been developed with input from Swedish racing driver Robert Dahlgren in the Volvo Polestar Black R team. Polestar, in case you need a refresher, are the skunkworks team responsible for squeezing 400bhp into a C30, and then building a £300k 560bhp S60 for an American customer, which CAR drove earlier this year.
Choose the sport chassis for your V40 and you get a 10mm ride height drop, and firmer springs and dampers. Beefed-up anti-roll bars also feature to keep the car flat in hard driving. Clearly it's the UK that Volvo sees as its most dynamics-focused customers: 25% of V40s are expected to get the R-Design treatment here, compared to 10% worldwide.
I'm one of the 25% - when can I buy an R-Design V40?
Prices will be announced in early October, with dealers taking orders immediately. Customer deliveries are expected to start during January 2013. You can spec R-Design on any V40 in the range regardless of engine, though you know the one you really want is the 254bhp T5 turbo...