What do you think of when you picture Volvo? Think towing a caravan on the A303 with a tailback longer than the Seine? Think accident-prone old biddy drivers with brown leather driving gloves? Think again..

The Swedish brand, once owned by Ford, is making some unbelievably good cars – especially in the performance car market – in the vein of their cult T5, T6 and V70 R’s of old. But now, in new R-Design form, they’re quicker, better looking, better handling, better finished and are loaded with smart technology, titanic turbo power (boosted by Polestar) and brilliant interiors: A brand re-invented.

In this Volvo special issue, we’ve got four fab features to show you what we mean about R-Design.

There’s the young and funky C30 T5, ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing V60 T6 and the tough XC60 D5 – all re-mapped and revitalised by Volvo’s official tuning company, Polestar, and all utterly brilliant.

Finally, to prove how sorted Volvo’s are not just on the road, but in the speedy world of motorsport – our USA correspondent, Ashley Van Dyke tracks down the bionic K-Pax Racing S60 at the excellent Pirelli World Challenge, Mid-Ohio. Prepare to re-map your brain on the Volvo brand.

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