Mine grabs pretty abruptly towards the top -- I agree that it's not as gradual as other clutches I've been used to, but I haven't considered it a problem (just a quirk.) At least it's not ultra stiff clutch like I had in my early 70s 145s many years ago.
Sorry I can't comment on adjustments or fixes -- that's beyond me. I haven't had any problems driving it this way, although stop and go traffic is a bit more challenging than I would prefer.
I do not believe this to be a problem, it is a characteristic of the clutch. The clutch is not just some regular clutch for an ordinary manual transmission. It is definately heavy duty more than capable of handling the 300+ hp the car produces. I am not certain, I seem to recall something in my training where they mentioned multiple clutch plates.
I have a 2004 R with the 6-speed. I began to complain about the jerky clutch from day 1 and continuted to complain. The two different Volvo dealers I took it to said they could do nothing. I believe the problem is two fold - The gear ratio relies on 2nd gear as a huge excellerator gear so it is very difficult to shift from 1st to 2nd. I told the dealer I was bound to go through a clutch. My car has just over 50,000 miles on it and the clutch as just fell apart. I have a 100,000 warrantly but the clutch is not covered. The other problem is that Volvo put a regular clutch in a high performance car. I also use downshifting to help break the car since R's are also known for squeeky brakes. My service rep told me this contributed to the failure of the clutch. There is a tremendous amount of torque on that clutch with a 300 hp engine and all wheel drive. It is a shame our friends in Sweden didn't have the foresight to put in a heavy duty clutch but went on the cheap. If I were you I would document your complaints. The dealer I go to had another R with only 16,000 miles in for a slipping clutch. I think he drove it a lot harder than I have. Volvo pushes this as a performance car. So far that performance has cost me $1900 for an extended warranty that didn't cover an $1,800 clutch.
I agree that 50,000 wouldn't be considered a low mileage for a clutch replacement although most clutches can last 80,000 to 100,000 miles. However, about 90 percent of the miles I have put on the car are highway miles. I literally don't shift for 90 of the 100 total miles I put on the car to commute each day to and from work since the highways are not congested. When compared to someone who drives around town primarily on congested streets or highways it probably is more equivelant to 25,000.