Amid Volvo’s announcement of a plug-in hybrid for markets besides diesel-loving Europe came another tidbit about the lone Swedish brand’s future direction. Rather than 5, 6 or 8 cylinder engines like years past, Volvo will be downsizing, much like BMW – and using modular engines to boot, much like their Bavarian rivals.
While Volvo’s plans weren’t articulated as well as BMW’s modular engines, the 4-cylinder will not only form the core of Volvo’s lineup, but a 3-cylinder version is possible. Each cylinder will be 500 cc’s by itself, and use a variety of turbochargers to attain various power levels. Volvo is also claiming that fuel economy will be 30 percent better than their current engines without any sacrifice in performance. Good news, considering that the XC60, which offers a punchy T6 engine that can move the XC60 and S60 sedan down the road pretty well (as much as 325 horsepower and 350 lb-ft depending on trim level), but also offers V8 fuel consumption, returning an EPA rated 19/25mpg.