Volvo’s had long been popular for their reliability
and safety, yet they had also been seen as stolid
By the time the Volvo 265 GLE arrived
in Australia, it became evident to all who cared
to take a slightly closer look at the Volvo that
the cars coming from Gothenberg were better handling
and more attractive for those who wanted something
a little more exciting to drive.
The 265 GLE was powered
by the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 2664 cc engine, which
featured fuel injection courtesy of the Bosch
K-Jetronic system. Maximum power was rated at 104
kW at 5700 rpm, with torque of 216 Nm at 3000 rpm.
Unfortunately, the high power output was somewhat
blunted by the vehicle's hefty 1435 kg curb weight
and its poor aerodynamics.
Maximum speed was around
170 km/h with similarly unimpressive acceleration,
0-100 km/h taking a leisurely 15 seconds.
extent this lack of performance was offset by the
excellent engine refinement, and even when revved
to its 6000 rpm limit the engine remained quiet and
smooth, its long-legged gait making for a very relaxed
cruising vehicle with 145 km/h sustainable all day.
Volvo was as sure footed and controllable as the
marque's reputation says it is. The excellent power
steering was sensibly weighted, direct, and possessed
Although it rolled strongly, the 265 handled
well, particularly in the wet, and while the suspension
may have been set up for heavy loads, it still offered
a compliant ride when unladen. The power steering
helped parking of course, as did the tight turning
circle of 11 .5 m. The car was easy to place in tight
situations or traffic.
Most people purchased the 265
GLE for the enormous accommodation and the versatility
it offered. It looked big and it is was big. There
was plenty of leg and head room for both front and
rear passengers and a large flat area behind the
rear seats for luggage. The rear seat folded down
to create a flat, fully carpeted load area, and significantly,
the intrusions from the wheel arches were only minor.
driving position was high and rather old fashioned
in this respect, however it did afford a commanding
viewpoint. The front seats were fully adjustable,
including adjustable lumbar support. The interior
finish was of a very high standard and the dash,
though rather messy and complex at first sight, was
easy to follow after some practice. The GLE was also
extensively optioned, and offered a hard-to-equal
range of standard fittings.
In the end, most purchasers
had to balance the excellent cruising and load-carrying
capacity combined with safety and comfort, against
the relatively unimpressive fuel consumption and
poor performance in relation to engine output. They
are not particularly collectable today, however there
is a growing allegiance of Volvo fans out there who
love ‘em, and if you have
ever had the pleasure of driving a 265 GLE, you could
hardly blame them.