Volvo Drive-E: Only Four-Cylinders in Volvo’s Future

volvo-drive-e-carsLike most automakers. Volvo is downsizing its engines to make them more fuel efficient. Future Volvo models will be all be powered by a family of Drive-E four-cylinder, 2.0 liter gasoline and diesel engines – no more five and six cylinders. The new engines, developed by Volvo in Sweden, will offer higher performance than today’s six-cylinder variants. They will also be 100 pounds lighter, more compact, and reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 30 percent.

The first new two-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains will appear in 2015 Volvos. These T5 and T6 gasoline and D4 diesel engines will all use the same architecture that includes an aluminum block, dual overhead cams, 16-valves, and continuously variable valve timing. They can be machined and assembled on the same production lines. All Drive-E models feature start-stop and brake regeneration.

volvo-drive-e-engine-wideExcept in the U.S, the new S60 sedan, V60 wagon, and XC60 crossover will be available with three engines. The T5 and D4 will also be available in the new Volvo V70 wagon, XC70 crossover, and S80 sedan. We will not get the diesel engine here in the U.S. Rather, customers can choose between the new Drive-E engines and some current engines until Volvo transitions solely to Drive-E.

The T6 is both turbocharged and supercharged, using a Roots-style blower supercharger that fills in the bottom end torque to lend the feel of a large, naturally aspirated gasoline engine. The mechanically linked compressor starts functioning immediately at low rpms, while the turbocharger kicks in when airflow builds up. Power is impressive, with the T6 producing 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. The T5 is turbocharged only and is rated at 240 horsepower with a torque rating of 258 lb-ft.

2015-volvo-v60Friction-reduction in the T5 and T6 includes ball bearings on the camshaft. There is also high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management with a fully variable electric water pump. Other innovations are built in, with the Drive-E diesel featuring i-ART (intelligent-Accuracy Refinement Technology) with pressure feedback from each fuel injector instead of a traditional single pressure sensor in the common rail. Each injector has an intelligent chip on top that monitors injection pressure. Using this information, the self-adapting i-ART system ensures that the ideal amount of fuel is injected during each combustion cycle.

The diesels also feature refinements such as an advanced twin-turbo, reduced friction, and a smart valve on the cooling system for a more rapid heat-up phase after a cold start. Featuring a very high 36,750 psi rail pressure, the D4 produces 181 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. Drive-E engines are mated with either a new eight-speed automatic or an enhanced six-speed manual tuned transmission, though U.S, models will probably come only with the automatic. Both FWD and AWD will be available.

volvo-s60While official fuel economy numbers are not yet available, Volvo is estimating 36.8 mpg for a Volvo S60 T6 with the new 8-speed automatic and a 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) time of 5.9 seconds. The Volvo S60 D4 with a manual transmission should rate in the 62 mpg range.

Drive-E engines are ready to be used with an electric motor in hybrid Volvos. Because of the compact size of the four-cylinder engines, the electric motor can be located in front or at the rear. The battery pack would be located in the center of the car.