Our cars: soon we will drive our Volvo 850 estate from Volvo Ghent to Torslanda…


Volvo 850 voor kerk Eizeringensm30

Faithful readers know that our Volvo 850 estate is already quite some years with us. If you missed it, just read our report on our previous site autoprova.net. Besides, we let you look again at the photos of our Volvo here, and you will agree it still looks pretty good indeed.

It still soldiers on reliably, and recently passed the official Belgian technical control and safety test again with flying colours, living proof of the saying that “Volvo’s are for life”.

To reward it for its two decades of faithful service, we decide to take it from the Ghent factory, where our was born in 1995, to the Torslanda plant, where 850 Volvo’s were then also assembled. This will be done in a few weeks from the moment of writing, and we will open on our site a “travelvlog”, so we can report you extensively on this trip. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Why we love the Volvo 850…

Like many other Volvo 850 enthusiasts, we like it first and foremost for the way it drives and performs. It was built on the so-called Volvo P80 platform, which was engineered for mid-size sedans with front wheel drive and was adapted to all wheel drive. This platform was used from 1991 to 2005, and built not less than 1,3 million times. It was seen also in the S70 and V70, and with modifications by TWR, also in the C70 coupé.

Volvo 850 sel 2sm

It still feels quite modern, with its excellent handling and surefootedness. Mc. Pherson struts are front, with Volvo’s patented Deltalink suspension for the rear axle. Despite its size, a total length of 4,7 meters, the turning circle is merely 10,2 meter. So it is quite maneuverable also in town…

Its interior is quite spacious with of course excellent Volvo seats, with outstanding ergonomic comfort, fit for very long trips indeed. Another forte is the comfortable suspension.

The heart of any car is its engine, and this is where the 850 truly counts. It is the five cylinder version of Volvo’s modular engine family, which it started to build in 1990 right up to…2016. Now you know why the engine of our Volvo still feels so modern! This engine generation was built in 4, 5 and 6 cylinder versions, with capacities ranging from 1,6 to 2,9 liters. Both cylinder head and block are aluminum, and it has DOHC valvetrain, of course.

Volvo 850 sel 3sm

Our 850 estate has the B5252FS engine, which is a 2.4 L (2,435 cc) straight-five. It is naturally aspirated and it is equipped with Siemens Fenix 5.2 engine management. Bore is 83 mm (3.3 in) and stroke is 90 mm (3.5 in) with a compression ratio of 10.0:1. It is naturally aspirated, and delivers 144 PS (106 kW; 142 hp) at 5400 rpm with 206 N·m (152 lb·ft) of torque at 3600 rpm. It is coupled to the five speed manual, ideally suited to the engine’s characteristics. Indeed, this unit likes to rev a bit, and the close ratio gears keep it beautifully on song.

Performance is quite inspiring, with acceleration from 0 to 100 in 10 seconds, top speed being 205 kmh. Despite its boxy shape, the 850 is quite aerodynamic, with the 850 R, the superfast Turbo version, being equipped with a rear spoiler, having a drag coefficient of merely 0,29 (!). Our 850 is therefore a quite fast cruiser, keeping up easily with anything that rolls out of the factory doors nowadays.

The styling of the 850 is pretty timeless, and the car is very well proportioned, certainly the estate version. The masterful hand of designer Jan Wilsgaard, who was the chief designer of Volvo Cars from as early as 1950 to 1990, was responsible for all this.  He designed the Amazon, 145, 760 and 850 series, and also the iconic estate versions of these cars. He is also responsible for the beautiful P1800 ES. No small wonder that he was one of the twenty-five designers nominated for Car Designer of the Century…

The engine was built by Volvo Powertrain AB (a company within the Volvo Group) for Volvo Cars. It saw life in one of the world’s largest automotive foundries in Swedish Skövde, Volvo being one of Skövde’s largest employers. Skövde is situated some 150 km northeast of Gothenburg, between Sweden’s two largest lakes, Vänern and Vättern.The plant is also known worldwide for being AB Volvo’s biggest producer of industrial diesel engines (Volvo Powertrain AB also produces blocks, cylinder heads and flywheels as well as engine mounts and disk brakes).

The companies together produced over half a million engines per year in Skövde and combined had over 4000 permanent employees (2100 employees at Volvo Powertrain and 2008 at Volvo Skövde in 2011).

Soon we will tell you more about the route we have chosen for the trip, and who we will meet both in Ghent and Torslanda plants…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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