We’re big fans of Volvo’s V40 – which is a true rival to BMW’s 1 Series and Audi’s A4 and yet is still an individual’s choice with its own unique qualities. But the model that will account for at least 25% of all V40 purchases is the R-Design, which Volvo has this morning announced the UK pricing for.

The top of the range V40 T5 Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav with all-wheel drive starts from £31,390 – which is both 65bhp down on BMW’s M135i and £865 more expensive. Audi’s all-new 296bhp S3 will be priced just as aggressively as the BMW, putting the V40 at an immediate disadvantage not to mention the T5’s CO2 emissions of 185g/km compared to the Audi’s of 159g/km.

The V40 R-Design range starts from £22,295 for the 113bhp 94g/km D2, which benefits from the same R-Design features as the T5, including a re-profiled front bumper and rear diffuser, five-spoke 17″ Ixion wheels, silver matt door mirrors, unique R-Design embossed nubuck upholstery, sports floor mats, sports steering wheel and pedals.

In addition to this, as standard, the V40 R-Design benefits from a TFT crystal display screen with unique blue colouring, illuminated gear-knob, unique R-Design aluminium trim and vertical LED day-running lights.

Those wanting a bit more luxury can upgrade to the R-Design Lux, with its active xenon headlights with cleaning system, rain sensor, leather-faced R-Design embossed seats, cruise control, keyless start and rear theatre lighting (for those special occasions..).

The V40 Cross Country, which in some respects offers more road presence than the R-Design, is available from £22,595 for the D2 Cross Country SE with the T5 Geartronic Cross Country Lux Nav with All-Wheel Drive starting at £33,875.

The V40 is Volvo’s answer to the premium compact sector, attracting buyers who choose to downsize for something with lower CO2 emissions and a lighter Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax burden.

But buyers of the performance T5 R-Design model will be expecting parity with its main rivals from BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes (Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG) and the V40 looks like starting the fight at something of a disadvantage.