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Details Emerge On Volvo's New Four-Cylinder Engines


2012 Volvo S80

2012 Volvo S80

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Last fall, Volvo announced that it would move away from five and six-cylinder engines, switching instead to three and four-cylinder variants across its entire model range. The “why” is no mystery, as the move will increase fuel economy from individual models by as much as 35-percent.

The change won’t happen overnight, and Volvo plans to phase in the new engines over the next decade. The new four-cylinders will be introduced first, within the next two years or so, and will borrow “twincharger” technology pioneered by Volvo’s KAD marine diesel engines some 20 years ago.

As Volvo’s product and vehicle line chief, Lex Kerssemakers, explained to CarSales, Volvo’s twincharger design uses a supercharger to boost power at low engine speeds, coupled with a turbocharger to boost power at higher engine speeds. The net result is relatively seamless acceleration, or “very good driving performance,” as Kerssemakers calls it.

Expect to see twincharging on Volvo’s largest vehicles first, such as its flagship S80 sedan or its XC90 crossover. Kerssemakers also indicated that electrification was coming for the XC90 and S80, although he didn’t elaborate on whether the vehicles would benefit from mild hybrid or full hybrid drivetrains.

Kerssemakers didn’t discuss the introduction of three-cylinder engines into Volvo’s product line, but it’s safe to assume their launch will follow the successful introduction of four-cylinder engines.
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