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The Volvo 850 is a compact executive car produced by the Swedish manufacturer Volvo Cars from 1991 to 1997 and designed by Jan Wilsgaard. Available in sedan/saloon and station wagon/estate body styles, the 850 was the first front-wheel drive vehicle from Volvo to be exported to North America.

Overview

The Volvo 850 was introduced worldwide as a 1992 model, but arrived in the United States in the 1993 model year. It was sold as a saloon (sedan) with an estate (wagon) model on sale from 1992 in Europe. The Volvo 850 was launched with the slogan "A dynamic car with four world-beating breakthroughs". The four breakthroughs were: the transverse 5-cylinder engine driving the front wheels, a Delta-link rear axle, which combined the dynamics and ride comfort of independent suspension with the reliability of a live rear axle, the SIPS integrated side-impact protection system, and the self-adjusting front seat belt mechanism.

The 850 was the first Volvo model in North America to feature front-wheel drive and an all-aluminium alloy 20-valve straight-five engine. The 850 was Volvo's top-seller in the mid-1990s. In markets outside the U.S., a 10-valve variant of the five-cylinder was popular for its lower cost and better fuel economy.

All U.S. 850s received standard equipment such as dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system, head restraints and three-point seat belts for all passengers, power windows, door locks, and mirrors, cruise control, and dual zone climate control. Side torso airbags became a world first when introduced as an option for 1995. Some other options during the model run included features such as traction control, leather interior, power glass sunroof, power seats, heated seats, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control, and automatic transmission.

All U.S. 850s received standard equipment such as dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system, head restraints and three-point seat belts for all passengers, power windows, door locks, and mirrors, cruise control, and dual zone climate control. Side torso airbags became a world first when introduced as an option for 1995. Some other options during the model run included features such as traction control, leather interior, power glass sunroof, power seats, heated seats, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control, and automatic transmission.

The 850 T5 is capable of top speeds in excess of 250 kilometres per hour (155 mph) when ungoverned. Production models of the estate and saloon have been tested to maximum speeds of 147 mph.

In 1995, a limited-edition version, labeled T-5R, was sold worldwide.

From 1996-1998, a high-end model, the R, was produced. It was based on the aforementioned T-5R.

In 1996 a "Platinum" edition of the 850 Turbo was available. The exterior paint for these models came in a metallic pearl platinum-colour and had special 16 inch alloy wheels. The interior was fitted with leather seats and burled walnut accents. Only 1,500 of these were imported for the U.S. market.[5]

For the last model year (1996/1997), the 850 AWD (All Wheel Drive) model was introduced with a new 193 bhp (144 kW; 196 PS) low pressure turbo 2.4 litre engine (B5254T).

In 1998, the model line was updated, and renamed the Volvo S70 sedan and Volvo V70 station wagon. These vehicles were sold in the U.S. through the 2000 model year when there were still many 850s waiting to be sold. This allowed for an alternatively designed vehicle; the 2001 Volvo S60 and Volvo V70, during the 850's production hiatus.

Rear suspension

For the 850, Volvo created what it called "Delta-link semi-independent rear suspension". Volvo held a U.S. patent for rear axle bushings that compress under load, giving the Volvo 850 passive rear steering. The automobile also has a tight turning circle, 10.2 m (33.5 ft), and is considered very maneuverable. By comparison, later large Volvos had a 11.9 m (39.0 ft) turning circle.

Variants

T-5R

In 1995, a high performance model, developed in part with Porsche, was released and designated the T-5R. The vehicle was based on the 850 Turbo, utilizing the B5234T3 engine with a special ECU (Bosch #628) that added an additional 2 psi (0.1 bar) of turbocharger boost pressure,[6] giving the engine an extra 18 hp (13 kW; 18 PS) for a total of 243 hp (181 kW) and 250 lb·ft (340 N·m) of torque. The engine was mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The T-5R was renowned as a sleeper car; despite its boxy, understated appearance, it boasted a drag coefficient of 0.29 and was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 - 6.0 seconds (depending on transmission and body type). The top speed was electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h). The vehicle came standard with Pirelli P-Zero tires, providing lateral grip of 0.88 g. The engine tuning was co-developed with Porsche, as was the transmission and other powertrain components. Porsche also aided in designing some of the interior, such as the Alcantara seat inserts. Only two options were available, a trunk-mounted Alpine 6-CD changer and no-cost 16" wheels for a smoother, more comfortable ride and driveability in snow when using all-season tires.

Also included in the 1995 T-5R package was a front bumper with a lip, rear spoiler, side skirts, polished aluminum door sills, special graphite leather and Alcantara seats, and a black interior with deep walnut wood grain accents. Both yellow and black versions came with the same black interior as the only choice. The T-5R has an additional badge to the left of the "850" on the trunk, referred to as "The Motorsport badge". The standard road wheel was the titanium-gray 5-spoke 17×7 "Titan". 1995 was the only year that the a model was badged as a "T-5R"; the following year, as Volvo recognized the vehicle's popularity, the model was renewed with the designation "850R".

The Volvo 850 T-5R was also noted for its safety features. It was the first automobile to be fitted standard with four airbags.[citation needed] The side airbags were installed in the seat cushions. The side airbags were integrated into the rest of the Volvo model line the following year as an option, and became standard a year after that; other manufacturers soon followed suit. The car was also fitted with an early example of daytime running lamps. It was also the first sedan to have three-point seatbelts at all five seating positions (previously, cars had only a lap belt for the center rear seat). The T-5R also used the OBDII diagnostics system, a year before OBDII was made an automotive standard.

5500 T-5Rs were produced worldwide, of which 904 went to the United States, 185 were yellow. The 1995 850 T-5R was limited in exterior paint color choices:

  • Cream yellow - 1975 worldwide including saloon and station wagon
  • Black - 3025 worldwide including saloon and station wagon
  • Emerald green metallic - 0500 worldwide including saloon and station wagon

850 R

In 1996 Volvo introduced a new high performance Volvo 850 as a replacement for the hugely successful limited edition T-5R. Volvo decided there should be no direct successor to the T5-R, but due to its huge hand in improving Volvo's image and the big sales success Volvo decided to develop a new high performance model. The new car should be based on the T-5R but with some improvements. The new car was called the Volvo 850 R which again came as either a sedan or Sport Wagon. In 5-door form, the turbocharged station wagon can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 6.5/7.4 (manual/auto) seconds and reach up to 158 mph (254 km/h).

Production of the 850 R ran between 1996-1997 (the final year of the 850) and unlike the T5-R was not limited. Various Volvo sources estimate between 5000-7000 of all 850 R variants were produced and sold worldwide.

The only colours available were Bright Red, Black Stone, Dark Grey Pearl, Dark Olive Pearl, Turquoise Pearl and Polar White. In the US market only Bright Red, Polar White and Black Stone were available. Cream yellow was discontinued for the 850 R. The saloon featured a newly designed rear spoiler. Spoiler was now standard on the estate. The interior upgrades included bucket style heavily bolstered 'sport' front seats (alcantara centre with leather bolsters), alcantara door cards, 2-tone leather steering wheel, stainless steel '850' kick plates and R branded over mats. A 200w amplifier was also added to the 8-speaker audio system as was the option to have an SC-805/815 in-dash CD player (some markets).

For a limited time in 1996 only, Volvo offered a new heavy duty manual transmission designed specifically for the 850 R (excluding US market), called the M59, which featured both a viscous coupling and a Torsen LSD differential. Furthermore, the M59 equipped cars were fitted with the B5234T4 2.3-litre 5-cylinder engine featuring a larger TD04HL-16T turbo, re-designed turbo manifold & intercooler, unique ecu with motronic 4.4, uprated fuel pressure sensor and a heavy duty clutch. These modifications enabled the manual(M59)cars to produce 250 hp (190 kW) and 350 N·m (260 lb·ft) versus 240 hp (180 kW) and 300 N·m (220 lb·ft) for the automatic transmission.


Further changes on the 850 R were made to the suspension:

  • 20mm front and 19.5mm rear anti-rollbars
  • Firmer damper settings
  • 7x17 7-spoke heavy duty volan alloy wheels
  • Viscous coupling with Torsen LSD differential (M59 manual gearbox)
  • Some European spec cars had a 302mm brake upgrade as standard.


There were 2 choices of colour for the 850 R interior:

  • Graphite grey leather with dark alcantara seat and door inserts, burled black walnut wood trim on instrument panel and floor console with Graphite carpeting/interior trim, light Grey coloured; leather gear knob, parking brake handle, seat piping and steering wheel insert.
  • Ivory/very light brown leather with beige alcantara suede seat and door inserts, Scandinavian light birch wood trim with light brown carpets with beige/ivory interior trim. Steering wheel insert, seat piping, handbrake handle and gearknob finished in beige leather.


Due to encumbrances placed on engine volume by the Italian government, 850 Rs sold in Italy were based on the 2.0 litre 850 Turbo. The transmission was the standard AW/50-42 used in all U.S. 850s, the M56H being available in other countries..

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