VOLVO 850 (1991-1996)
Volvo unveiled the first car of an entirely new model series in June 1991, the Volvo 850 GLT. The Volvo 850 GLT was launched under the banner of "A dynamic car with four world-beating breakthroughs".
The four new features were: a 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 security of a live rear axle, the SIPS integrated side-impact protection system, and the self-adjusting front seat belt mechanism, the ARH reel.
The exterior design of the 850 bore a strong Volvo identity, and its 740 and 940 heritage was immediately apparent.
The Volvo 850 GLT received a tumultuous welcome; seldom has a new car reaped so many awards as the 850.
Over the following years, the 850 series was expanded with additional variants, among them turbocharged petrol versions and a direct-injection turbo-diesel.
Less than two years after the introduction of the 850 GLT in 4-door sedan form, the 5-door estate car version was unveiled in February 1993.
When Volvo decided to return to the racetracks in 1994, it did so under the banner of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). The first Volvo to take on the competition was an eye-catching Volvo 850 estate car, a load-lugger and road-burner in one.
A high-performance 850 was put on the market the same year: the T5-R. With a spectacular yellow as introduction color and 240 hp, the T5-R was the most powerful Volvo ever made. The successor, the 850R, in 1995 put another 10 hp to that figure.
The Volvo 850 was also the first car in the world to offer side-impact airbags, which were introduced in autumn 1994.
In model year 1997, the S70 and V70 replaced the 850 Sedan and Estate.
Variants: AWD, T5-R, R
Body: 4-door sedan, 5-door estate
Engine: 5-cylinder in-line DOHC unit, 1,984 cc to 2,435 cc or 5-cylinder in-line 2,461 cc SOHC turbo-diesel
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, FWR or AWD
Brakes: Hydraulic, all-round disc brakes
Dimensions: Overall length 467 cm Wheelbase 267 cm.