What we’re experiencing is the first of a completely new generation of Drive-E engines designed and built by Volvo (in Sweden); and over the long term, if they prove as strong, smooth, and versatile as what we sampled—and as fuel-efficient as Volvo hopes—it could make the brand more a viable contender against the likes of the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz CLA (as well as anticipated rivals like the upcoming Acura TLX).
Before you get too excited, we need to attach an asterisk to this. Okay, several. This new engine won’t be offered until early next year, likely on early 2015 models; and for now it’s only offered with front-wheel drive.
Volvo Drive-E four-cylinder engine - turbocharged and superchargedEnlarge Photo
New engines, stop-start, hybrids: all on the way
While that engine, making 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, is slated to be the top T6 engine for many of Volvo’s models, like the S60, XC60, and soon-to-arrive V60 wagon, the mainstream T5 engine will be a 240-hp gasoline four that’s merely turbocharged (not supercharged) but has a short-duration overboost mode providing 280 lb-ft of torque (258 lb-ft otherwise).