Volvo 480

Contents:

Specifications

Production years
1985 - 1995
Production volume
80,464
Engine type
Transversely mounted straight 4
Transmission
M50 manual five-speed gearbox
-
ZF 4HP14 automatic with overdrive
Steering type
Rack-and-pinion with speed dependant power steering
Front suspension
Independent McPherson, coil springs and anti-roll bar
Rear suspension
Watt-link trailing arm, with beam axle and panhard rod, and spring gas shocks
Braking system
Servo-assisted diagonally split with front and rear discs
Curb Weight
996kg - 1039kg
Weight Payload
1355kg - 1460kg
Class
Compact
Body Style
2-door coupe
Layout
FF (Engine at Front, Drive at Front wheels)
Cw-values
below 0.34
Dimensions

Wheelbase
2502mm (98.5in)
Length
4257mm (167.6in)
Width
1709mm (67.3in)
Height
1316mm (51.8in)

Volvo 480 for Sale

More Volvo 480s for sale

History

The 480 or 'Project E12', marked a big change within Volvo. The car was designed by Robert Koch and John de Vries in 1981, after a design-off between three different departments.

The car has some great style, with a sleek swept back looks. But the car does not look out of place next to other Volvos of the same era thanks to its chunky bumps and angled corners.

Its quirky design is not its only feature, the car sports some wonderful technical inivations, including being one of the first cars to have a full engine management unit and innovative use of plastics.

Also as part of the changes at Volvo the 480 was the first Volvo model to come with front wheel drive from a transverse mounted engine, after Volvo had safety concerns on over-steer caused by rear engine cars.

The 480 also had a helping hand from some other car manufacturers with Lotus helping design the suspension and Porche getting involved with the engine tuning. The engine was also a joint venture between Volvo and Renualt.

You can see the heritage of the 480 from its resembelance to the P1800E, as is highlighted by these image:

The similarities between the Volvo P1800ES and the Volvo 480 - rear view of the Volvo 480 The similarities between the Volvo P1800ES and the Volvo 480 - rear view of the Volvo P1800ES
The similarities between the Volvo P1800ES and the Volvo 480

The car was unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow in 1986, and quickly gained a reputation for its roadholding as you can see in this video:

The feature pop-up headlamps where never in the original design, but Volvo wanted the sleak sweeping lines and a narrow front and due to a minimum height restriction for headlamps, the headlights where fitted as flip-ups. Shortly after the flip-up lights were fitted, the law on minimum height was dropped. But as time was short the lights stayed, later to become one of the greatest design features on the 480.

Volvo also used the 480 platform to create the 440 and 460 Sallon and hatchback models.

Production ended on 7 September 1995 with about 80,463 units produced.

Next in this line is the Volvo C30, wich it's similar stylings, featuring the distinctive frameless glass hatchback.

Volvo 480 Videos

Volvo 480 Interior

There are some unique features inside the 480, the first being a generous use of plastic.

The rear seats are separated, so each passenger has their own fully adjustible seat. Unlike other coupes you can comfortably fit two fully grown adults in the back.

The interior was the vision of Corien Pompe, who spent a long time selecting the right mix of fabrics, plastics and metal.

The dash board is a typical Volvo design but with some great retro featurs like green LCD digital read-outs.

The boot also featured an estate model with the ability to fold back the rear seats to accomodate bigger loads.

Volvo 480 Models

The first production 480 was the 90bhp 1.7lt normal asperated engine.

Volvo introduced the 120bhp 1.7lt Turbo model in 1988 the fastest 480 build.

In 1993 new emission laws meant that the 480 range had to be fitted with catalytic converters, this dropped the power slightly.

After a long run with the turbo model, Volvo brought out a 110bhp 2lt model.

With a limited run of 250 Volvo 480 GTs being made before the new 2lt model was made.

February 1995 saw the introduction of the limited run 'Celebration' editing of the 2lt model, where 480 individually number cars where made.

Prototypes

Volvo also experimented with some prototypes:

  • 480 with an electric drivetrain
  • Supercharged version
  • 16-valve engine
  • Turbocharged 2lt

The most talked about prototype was the 480 convertible, which went public in the 1990 Geneva Motor Show. But at the last minute a company that produced some of the key parts went in to receivership and the project was scraped.

The Volvo 480 Turbo Convertible

Volvo also worked on a 480 second edition, this had smaller bumpers, a one piece bonnet and no flip up lights. This fortunately never went into production as the 480 range was stopped. This second edition model seemed to lose all of the features that made the 480 great.

Volvo 480 Galleries

The Engines

1.7lt

Engine
B18FP, B18ES, B18F, B18E
Production
1986 to 1992
Engine type
4-cilinder in-line engine with bowl-in-piston chambers
Valvetrain
8 valve single overhead cam (SOHC)
Fule / Ignition
Bendix/Fenix 1 or 3.2 engine management system
-
Bosch LH jetronic engine management system
-
Fenix 3B multipoint injection Bosch LH jetronic 2.2
Forced induction
None
Capacity
1721 cc
Bore * stroke
81 * 83.5 mm
Compression ratio
9.5 : 1
BHP
95hp@5400rpm (70kW) to 109hp@5800rpm (80kW)
Torque
140Nm @ 4000rpm to 140Nm @ 4000rpm
Fuel system
Fenix 3B multipoint injection
Oil capacity
4.8 litres
Cooling system
Watercooled system with thermostatic electric fan
Top speed
118mph (190kmh)
Acceleration
0 - 100kmh (62mph) 9.5 sec

1.7lt Turbo

Engine
B18FT
Production
1988 to 1995
Engine type
4-cylinder in-line engine with bowl-in-piston chambers
Valvetrain
8 valve single overhead cam (SOHC)
Fule / Ignition
Bosch LH jetronic 2.2
Forced induction
Watercooled Garrett T2 Turbo and intercooler
Capacity
1721 cc
Bore * stroke
81mm * 83.5mm
Compression ratio
8.5 : 1
BHP
120hp (88kW) @ 5000rpm
Torque
175Nm @ 2100rpm
Fuel system
Bosch LH jetronic 2.2
Oil capacity
4.8 litres
Cooling system
Watercooled system with thermostatic electric fan
-
Additional electric pump for turbo cooling
Ignition system
Bosch EZ 210K
Top speed
127mph (205kmh)
Acceleration
0 - 100kmh (62mph) 9sec

2lt

Engine
B20F
Production
1993 to 1995
Engine type
4-cylinder in-line engine with bowl-in-piston chambers
Valvetrain
8 valve single overhead cam (SOHC)
Fule / Ignition
Fenix 3B multipoint injection
Forced induction
None
Capacity
1998 cc
Bore * stroke
82.7 * 93 mm
Compression ratio
9.5 : 1
Max. power
109hp (80kW) @ 5200rpm
Max torque
165 Nm @ 3500rpm
Fuel system
Fenix 3B multipoint injection
Oil capacity
4.8 litres
Cooling system
Watercooled system with thermostatic electric fan
Top speed
121mph (195Kmh)
Acceleration
0 - 100kmh (62mph) 9.8sec