Volvo’s brand new S40 has already attracted praise for its unusually compact five cylinder engines, sophisticated multi-link rear suspension and something described as a ‘floating centre console’ which presumably means you’d better keep the windows shut. However, Volvo’s engineers are said to be especially proud to have achieved a remarkable 27 percent increase in pleasantness, compared to the previous S40.
‘Along with safety and nice seats and headlights you can’t turn off, being pleasant is a key Volvo quality,’ claimed S40 project leader Bjorn Ulvaeus (out of Abba). ‘We’re very proud of this pleasant increase. The S40’s pleasantness performance is now as good as the larger S80.’
Sources say that this impressive level of just, you know, somehow being quite nice was achieved thanks to careful development work. ‘That’s right,’ agreed Ulvaeus (out of Abba). ‘To inspire the project team we decorated the main design offices with pictures of Thora Hird and the bloke who does the voice of Wallace & Gromit whilst key members of the team spent time drinking nice cups of tea and listening to Travis CDs. Mmm, that’s good pleasantness.’
Of course, not everything from Sweden is so pleasant. A Sunday afternoon spent in a branch of IKEA, for example, has been scientifically proven to be slightly less pleasant than having a park bench welded to your eyelids and then being thrown into the sea.
This story was originally published in November 2003