Swedish tuner cars... really? Betcherass, Jan Jensen (pron. Yahn Yen-sin)! Saab started turbocharging tax-dodging small-displacement motors way back when, so now here comes a Volvo with some sheer evil within. By way of central Germany, sure, but where better to get any Euro tuned than in the hotbed of Euro-tuning?
Besides, our wait for a kicker S40 R is in vain, folks. Ain't gonna happen. So it's up to others to manage for the Swedes what big and hurting FoMoCo can't.
I tracked down Heico Sportiv in Weiterstadt, Germany, after having seen at the 2005 Essen show last December what you see here in these photos now. Turns out that I'm one of the first punks to drive this chilly blue beast the company calls "HS4 Odin." Heico does a lot of enhancing for every Volvo model and they've done good business in Europe futzing around with the S40 and its 2.5-liter T5 motor.
The car's shaman, I guess you could say in the sprit of Odin himself, is Martin Mller. He is the company's lead engineer, chief driver at races and "The Imaginator" behind Odin. "We've never done a show car before," he told me. In fact, Heico tries to maintain a Scandinavian-style lower image, especially lately since their parts warehouse has been robbed by Polish thieves three times. The guys at Heico have since decided that they don't want anyone to know where their HQ is. The building looks like a sleek bunker for secret police operations.
Mller led the charge for the HS4 Odin primarily as a way to make the company's new endurance racer pull double duty as a poster car for the company. Besides contesting various races in the new SP4T class under FIA rules, this prototype is meant to let the world see all of the delectable possibilities Heico designs for the attractive yet somber S40.
This completely tricked S40 show car, with a T5 powertrain from the S60/V70 R, claims 335 bhp peaking out at 6000 rpm and 368 lb-ft at 4500 rpm. Starting with the S60 R's original "B5254T4" T5 mechanicals, the Borg-Warner turbocharger is bigger and now pumps 17.4 psi pressure at its peak versus the S60 R at 14.5 psi. A big BMC carbon-fiber airbox gulps in outside wind directly and there's a high-capacity intercooler in place. A new variable-locking differential developed with Quaife helps drive all this power and torque to the front axle. A lighter and stronger GKN driveshaft and CV joints help lay everything to the pavement.
The rear seats are gone and have been replaced by a full roll cage. This step allowed for the entire front half of the interior-custom dashboard, seat mounts, shifter orientation, pedals, etc.-to be moved back by 11.8 inches for better fore/aft weight distribution, a better hip point and lower center of gravity. Hunkered down in the competition Recaro buckets, you nearly disappear under the window sills-handy while cruising drive-by territory.
The exterior of the HS4 Odin is matte-finish blue. It's all very Volvo, even using the Volvo typeface everywhere anything is written. Mller told me: "We went through five different coats of paint before it ended up like is now. The first coats looked completely wrong, but the painters knew what they were doing." Replaced or added items include the front spoiler lip, rear apron, side skirts, front fender panels, rear trunk spoiler and, as you can see, the quick-release competition hood and trunk lid covering the competition fuel tank.