Advanced Drive-E powertrains to remain as they are.
When Volvo announced its new Drive-E powertrain and its commitment to downsizing, it’s safe to say that critics and observers were taken aback by the radical approach to propulsion. Of course, Volvo then detailed the design and engineering behind their Drive-E engines, and we quickly learned that the Swedish marque led the way in terms of outright efficiency and specific output (that’s kilowatt-per-litre).
With the release of the XC90, Volvo essentially shrugged off any and all concerns about a lack of power, with top-spec T8 TwinEngine plug-in hybrid models good for 300kW & 400Nm. The brand shoehorned a turbocharger and a supercharger under the bonnet, to ensure seamless (and relentless) power delivery and unbelievable fuel efficiency, with the most powerful XC90 managing just 2.1L/100km in average fuel consumption.
Speaking at the 2017 Geneva motor show, Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson admitted that he was sceptical of the move to 4-cylinders in the beginning, too. Since the downsized motors have been implemented however, he’s sold on the idea entirely. “I think we’re even more committed,” Samuelsson said of Volvo’s move to shun anything with more than a four-pot.
“The reaction of that decision,” the CEO continued, “has been very positive. Even in the US, the XC90 was even truck of the year in the US, a big SUV with a four-cylinder engine. That’s a good indication that we took the right decision. The number one reason is to bring down fuel consumption: you have lower friction in a smaller engine, it has better consumption. There is cost, especially in installation – even if you get an engine from a partner, which we got from Ford, but installing it in the car is a nightmare with all the piping and everything.”
Under the stewardship of Ford, Volvo was in relative disarray, revealed the CEO. “I think we had eight different engines in the old Volvo. All different, and all requiring different wiring harnesses and that’s, of course, a lot of complexity, and it eats up the synergy in the base engine itself. Now we have, always, four-cylinder, always installed in the same way, so it’s much more modular and positive.”
Volvo’s Drive-E powertrains encompass four-cylinder petrols and diesels (which share very similar architecture, pulling costs down further), and three-cylinder petrols. Electrification is catered for across the range, with T8 PHEV models packing the most punch.