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 T-5R, 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 saloon or Sport Wagon.
Production of the 850 R ran between 1996–97 (the final year of the 850) and unlike the T-5R was not limited.
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.
For a limited time in 1996 only, Volvo offered a new heavy duty manual transmission designed specifically for the 850 R called the M59, which featured a viscous coupling limited slip 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 transmission cars to produce 250 hp and 260 lb·ft versus 240 hp and 240 lb·ft for the automatic transmission.
Limited Slip Differential, Bosch Motornic 4.4 ECU, Antilock-Braking System (ABS), Traction Control Systems (TRACS), Sport suspension with self-leveling rear shock absorbers, Cruise control, OBC, Electric windows, Electric heated mirrors, Volvo Guard alarm with remote control, Front fog lights, Electronic climate control (ECC), Leather & Amaretta (suede) upholstery and steering wheel, Heated electric memory seats, Volvo SC-801 double-din radio, Burled Black Walnut trim on dashboard and floor console, Leather gearknob, Electric sunroof, Child booster seat, 4 airbags (driver, passenger and SIPS sidebags),17-inch Volan wheels
Draped in signature Olive Green metallic, this stunning R shows a delicious gold flake throughout having been carefully prepared by our in-house team. The body kit free of blemishes or signs of previous repair while the black plastic inserts are particularly susceptible to fading and present consistently well around the car.
Sunroof cassette is in again in good shape whilst surrounding trim to the windows and windscreen feel soft, supple and fit as they should. The R badge to the rear signs off this homologation special perfectly.
In typical fashion the cabin space belies its age and mileage – the leather / alcantara combination has remarkably managed to remain both durable and delicate to touch. The dash fascia remains completely standard with a rich array of options from new; Heated Seats, Cruise and Climate control all working as they should. Pride of place; the gearknob and surround show no hard signs of use and present beautifully in keeping with the rest of the interior space.
Green 850 scripted carpets match the body colour to the grey footwells, with the usual lashings of burled black walnut trim crack free and offering a consistent shine throughout. The boot space is cavernous and has been well kept over the years.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Start up procedure cracks the Inline 5 into life before settling to that renowned warble that reassuringly drums through the cabin. A sound many of us (and the dog) are familiar with!
The connection with the car is totally elevated by the 5 speed box. Mated to a heavy duty clutch, with an LSD governing torque to the front wheels, the car’s performance can be truly explored with a feedback and intimacy not found in the Auto variant.
Whether climbing the revs or wafting along on a wave of torque, the Manual certainly offers another dimension to an already compelling all round package.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The Iconic Volan wheels present unmarked wrapped in matching Yokohama tyres showing plenty of tread.
Brakes are adequately matched to the performance, with plenty of disc and pad material remaining.
Delivered new to Japan in May of 1996 this R has been pampered handsomely throughout its 20 years.
Having just returned from esteemed Independent garage PGI in Farnham the car is fresh from a major service inclusive of timing belt kit and auxiliary belt replacement.
With all UK taxes paid the car is ready to register immediately into the first UK owners name.
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