Volvo C40 Recharge review

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo is doing its bit to save the planet, and it has an ambitious plan for a zero emissions future.

By 2025, 50% of its global sales will consist of fully electric cars. By 2030, it aims to sell only EVs before turning “climate neutral” 10 years later.

The Swedish car maker’s latest model, the C40 Recharge, is a case in point. It’s electric-only (there will be no petrol or hybrid variants) and it’s manufactured using a variety of sustainable materials.

Volvo C40 Recharge

For instance, the carpets are made from 71 recycled plastic PET bottles, and thanks to renewable wool fibres, it’s the first Volvo to feature leather-free upholstery.

You could even say the car itself has something of a recycled feel to it because it shares its EV powertrain and much of its body with the XC40 – Volvo’s big-selling SUV.

Unlike its sibling, it’s sleeker with a lower roof line and steeply-raked rear window, while the front end introduces a new face for electric Volvos. Here, the signature Thor’s Hammer headlights are augmented with pixel technology designed to avoid dazzling other road users.

Volvo C40 Recharge

It’s also fitted with the latest version of Volvo’s infotainment system, jointly developed with Google and based on the Android operating system.

So now there’s access to Google Play apps and services like Google Assistant and Google Maps. It’s also capable of over-the-air updates, which means the car is constantly kept up to speed with the latest software.

The voice commands (prompted by “Hey Google”) usefully cut down on the swiping, pinching and scrolling otherwise needed to control the features within 9.0-inch central touchscreen.

Volvo C40 Recharge

C is for Crossover and Volvo claims the C40 Recharge provides buyers with the high seating position that its owners prefer. The reality is that there’s very little difference between the siblings apart from the design.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way because the pure electric XC40 Recharge is a fantastic package, offering the combination of style, practicality, performance and a decent range of up to 259 miles.

The C40’s lower roof line looks smarter and makes it more aerodynamic, resulting in a higher range of 273 miles.

It also differs from other models in the Volvo range because it can only be bought online and it’s also available with a ‘Care by Volvo’ package (monthly subscription from £729) which offers a warranty, servicing and roadside assistance, as well as insurance and home charging options where available.

Volvo C40 Recharge

At launch there’s just one version of the C40 Recharge available with an eye-watering ticket price of £57,400, though in time we can expect other more affordable specs.

Like the XC40 Recharge, the C40 has twin electric motors – one on the front and one on the rear axle – and is powered by a 78kWh battery that can be fast-charged from 10 to 80% in about 40 minutes (via a 150kW rapid charger).

Inside the factory

We were given a quick tour of Volvo’s impressive state-of-the-art plant at Ghent in Belgium, where the C40 is assembled on the same production line as the XC40 and V60 estate.

Volvo C40 Recharge production line in Ghent, Belgium

Volvo is increasing EV capacity at the facility to 135,000 cars per year, and already expects more than half of the plant’s production volume in 2022 to consist of fully electric cars.

On the road, the C40 offers the same combination of blistering performance and polished road manners as the XC40 Recharge.

Developing a combined 402hp, it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is almost supercar fast. Plant your right foot on an A road and before you know it, you’re travelling at the legal limit.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The ride is smooth and refined, the light steering is sharp and it handles well for a relatively heavy crossover.

There’s surprisingly good body control in faster, more challenging corners and plenty of traction thanks to all-wheel drive.

The brakes are progressive, which is relatively rare in EVs, and the regenerative braking system (which recovers kinetic energy otherwise lost during braking to recharge the battery) works well, especially in one-pedal mode where a simple lift off the accelerator is usually enough to slow the car down without using the brakes.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Ultimately, the C40 is a smoothie, at its best cruising. And as most EV drivers will tell you, the challenge of squeezing as much range as possible out of the battery is irresistible, so apart from the odd burst of instant-torque acceleration, it’s more about economical driving.

I have a few criticisms. I would have liked some drive modes (no Sport or Normal – just one-pedal or not). And even though the C40 Recharge ticks lots of eco-friendly boxes, the lack of leather and Scandi chic wood veneers made the interior less special to me.

The lower roofline also results in a slight headroom penalty for rear passengers six-foot or over, while the rear window itself is more post box than panoramic, so the view behind is on the challenging side.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The C40 has less boot space than the XC40 Recharge, but there’s still a useful 413 litres of luggage capacity (down from 452 litres), or a total of 1,205 litres if you flip the 60/40 split rear bench (1,328 litres). That said, rear passenger legroom is generous.

Up front there’s a 31-litre compartment under the bonnet – ideal for storing charging cables. There are also plenty of storage spaces scattered inside the cabin for phones, water bottles and other clutter.

Needless to say, like all Volvos, the C40 is packed with the latest safety and driver assistance tech as standard, including lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and a 360-degree parking camera which makes it easier to get in and out of tight spaces.

However, at this price the C40 is up against tough EV competition – everything from the Hyundai Kona Electric, Skoda Enyaq and Kia e-Niro up to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2, Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron and Mercedes EQA.

Verdict: The stylish new Volvo C40 Recharge is a class act, blending performance, practicality and refinement with a good EV range and extensive safety features. At launch, the sole top-of-the-range model is on the expensive side, but in time the C40 will become more attainable as other variants are offered.

Volvo Cars UK

Electric Police BMW CE 04 and F 900 XR Premiered

Two very different bikes have been adapted for law enforcement, with both an electric police BMW CE 04, and a more traditional F 900 XR both premiered as new models by the German manufactuter.

As an electric scooter, the BMW CE 04 is possbly the more notable of the duo. With the consumer model recently unveiled, it’s been a quickly converted for police operations in urban and metropolitan areas with a maximum power output of 41hp and a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph). The battery has a range of around 130 kilometres, although there’s no research on how this is impacted when you add the special LED flashing lights at the front, the LED beacon at the rear, and a siren, along with an authorities case.

But it does mean the police might be able to sneak up on you with the minimum of noise, in the Eco, Rain or Road riding modes, and with Automatic Stability Contol, ABS and the opton of Dynamic Traction Control to help them handle most weather and road conditions.

The new electic police BMW CE 04 scooter
The new electic police BMW CE 04 scooter

The F 900 XR makes more traditional sense as a police bike, given that it’s a nimble tourer with a relaxed and upright riding position for long shifts in the sadle, and has a 105hp twin-cylinder inline 895cc engine which can propel the bike somewhere above 120mph. Plus it comes with all the equipment options for panniers, heated grips, GPS and electronic rider aids you’d expect from the German manufacturer.

The police-spec BMW F 900 XR
The police-spec BMW F 900 XR

BMW Motorrad produces a range of bikes which can be configured for the police, customs agencies, fire brigade or other uses, with the new CE 04 joining the R 1250 RT-P, the F 750GS-P and the F 850GS-P.

Keep an eye out for the new police BMW CE 04 electric scooter or XRF 900 XR in your mirrors...here. And you can always find ex-police BMW bikes for sale via a variety of places, including a surprising number available via eBay.

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2022 BMW Motorrad Days Dates Set for July in Berlin

After taking a break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 BMW Motorrad Days dates have been finalised as July 2nd and 3rd in the Summer Garden of the Messe Berlin trade fair grounds, following immediately after the 2022 Pure & Crafted festival at the same location on July 1st.

So if you fancy celebrating all things BMW, it’s time to start looking at tickets and accomodation. The 20th event across almost two decades attracts visitors from all around the world to experience everything related to the German manufacturer and the famous roundel logo. And apparently the attractions and activities next year will be broader than ever to cater for all tastes.

The 2022 BMW Motorrad Days dates are set for July 2nd and 3rd in BerlinPlenty of chances to ride at the BMW Motorrad Days, if you can resist the lure of German beer for a while...
Plenty of chances to ride at the BMW Motorrad Days, if you can resist the lure of German beer for a while…

Previous events drew around 40,000 visitors with stunt shows, freestyle motocross displays, exhibitions from the history of the BMW brand, live music, food and drink stalls, and more. And there are usually some new bikes or products revealed at what must be the largest gathering of BMW enthusiasts in the world.

The 2022 BMW Motorrad Days dates also mark the first time the event will be hosted in Berlin
The 2022 BMW Motorrad Days dates also mark the first time the event will be hosted in Berlin

It’ll also be the first time that the event has been held in Berlin, as it was previously hosted at Garmisch-Partenkirchen just outside the Bavarian manufacturers’ headquarters in Munich. But the company has strong links to the new location, having produced bikes there for more than 50 years, and potentially attracting a new audience by moving the BMW Motorrad Days into a large city. Plus it’s helpful if you want to go along, but need to accomodate less-enthusiastic family members!

Check out a range of motorcycle events and shows to attend, from small local gatherings to the biggest attractions, here. And keep up with all our BMW Motorrad coverage, including new, classic or custom motorcycles, here.

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MR2-Based Audi R8 Kit Car is a Hard No

Audi R8 Kit Car

Who is both delusional enough to commission a terrible Audi R8 replica and flush enough to pay for it?

The automotive hobby is full of nooks and crannies, and gets stranger every day. I mean, the “Carolina Squat” is a thing, and given how stupid-dangerous it looks? I’m kind of glad it’s going to be illegal come December. That said, few corners of our world are stranger than the dark one reserved for kit cars. These bastard machines are the vehicular equivalent of Elvis impersonators, and I have to admit, I have a fascination with them. Particularly well-done, but still bad, examples like this fake Audi R8 which recently popped up for sale on eBay.

This poor thing began life as a 1993 Toyota MR2 — which, it should be noted — is already an cool car. Good looks, a mid-engine chassis, and Toyota reliability made it a darling of enthusiasts the world over. So it’s unclear exactly why someone thought it’d be a good idea to turn a great car into a bad approximation of an awesome one. Unfortunately, the listing is no help there, though it does reveal that the windshield is cracked, it’s a right-hand drive, and that you sometimes have to wiggle the driver’s window switch to get it to work.

The true shame here is that while the proportions are dead wrong and literally nobody is going to be fooled by this costume, a lot of effort went into this imposter. At least from the — admittedly crappy — photos the work appears to have been done to a high standard. That means it cost money. A lot of money. So the situation we’re left with is something akin to a doctor entering the waiting room to announce that while the surgery was a success, the patient died. Seriously, who is delusional enough to commission something, like this but flush enough to pay for it?

Now, I should be clear that I’m not against all kit cars. In fact, I’d happily rock a replica Porsche 356, Jaguar C-Type, or Lancia Stratos. I think they could be built to be far better than the originals, and still look the business doing it. But something like this R8? The only people who are going to be convinced are the automotive illiterate, and aficionados are going to snicker whenever you’re seen in this thing. Maybe the window tint is so dark because nobody wants to be seen in this thing. If you have another idea, let me know.

Photos: eBay Motors

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Bonovo action BMW Sign Laverty and Baz for WorldSBK

There will be another two-rider squad on the grid next year as Bonovo action BMW sign Laverty and Baz for WorldSBK in 2022.

Eugene Laverty will enter his third consecutive season with BMW Motorrad Motorsport, with the 35-year-old from Northern Ireland racing in World Superbikes since 2011. He’ll be joined by Loris Baz, who is returning from the Moto America series. The 28-year-old French rider has two World SBK victories in his career, with a total of 18 podiums, and finished fourth in the American series in 2021.

Eugene Laverty: “I’m very happy to continue with BMW Motorrad and join the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team for the 2022 World Superbike season. It is fantastic to remain in the BMW WorldSBK family. The past six months have been tough for me as a rider and so I’m very grateful for the continued support and belief from everyone involved in this project. I’m very motivated to repay that faith in my abilities and I feel confident that following a solid winter testing campaign we can arrive ready and competitive at round one.”

Bonovo action BMW Sign Laverty and Baz for WorldSBK Click here.

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