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The 2012 Volvo V40 marks the first time in 16 years that Volvo has had a car to compete in one of Europe’s biggest segments: the compact hatchback. More important, it represents a new commitment to the driver. Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby is German, and came from VW. He has installed fellow countrymen in key positions. And he insists Volvos, and specifically this Volvo, will go head-to-head with BMW and Audi in the driving dynamics department.

The V40 turns eagerly, doesn’t melt into understeer, and provides decent steering feel and an opportunity to trim the line with the throttle, even with the stability systems on.

So while the drive was brief, it was enough for me to say that the BMW 1 Series there for comparison felt less agile than the Volvo.
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