in 2011 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $15,199 - $15,264
Original MSRP: $27,750 - $31,150
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2011 Volvo S40 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

It's not a hot rod, but the S40 has decent performance that will satisfy most drivers' needs. Auto writers are especially impressed with the turbocharged five-cylinder engine which is now standard in all trims.

  • "Power in the base car is far from exhilarating and all-wheel drive is available only with the pricier T5." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "T5s are snappy and suffer little irksome turbo lag. The automatic is generally smooth and responsive." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

As for power, reviewers say the S40’s engine isn’t impressive compared with the Volkswagen GTI or BMW 1-Series. Volvo made a wise choice, however, by making the five-cylinder turbocharged engine and automatic transmission standard.

Both the T5 and R-design trims have the same 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine. This engine has 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Compared with the base engine Volvo used to offer with the S40, reviewers like 2011 engine best because it has more personality. This engine also comes with a five-speed Geartronic transmission with “Auto-Stick” with manual and automatic modes. The EPA says the S40 gets 21/30 mpg city/highway.

  • "The base 2.4-liter engine provides acceleration that's only slightly sprightlier than your typical four-cylinder family sedan. The turbocharged 2.5-liter unit is far superior, though it does have a rather peaky power band, with noticeable turbo lag off the line." -- Edmunds
  • "The T5's five-speed Geartronic automatic is not as quick as Audi's DSG manual-shift transmission, but it's the only choice for those who prefer shifting their own gears." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The automatic is generally smooth and responsive." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The 2011 Volvo S40 does not have the most thrilling or sporty ride, but it is described as controlled, stable and accurate.

  • "Handling is crisp and entertaining with either the standard or sport-tuned suspension, though the S40 isn't as sharp as the A4, 3 Series or G35." -- Edmunds
  • "One serious automobile, well-suited for both the highway and twisting back roads. Stable and solid on the road, the S40 T5's steering yields sharp reasonably quick responses." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Steering feel is accurate, but some testers find it too light for best highway-speed control. The brakes ease speed quickly with fine stability and moderate nosedive." -- Consumer Guide