By on January 29, 2014

Volvo Drive-E Engine, 2.0L twincharged, Picturre courtesy of Volvo

Engine downsizing is all the rage. Making the engine smaller increases fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and cuts vehicle weight. With ever tightening fuel economy legislation in the United States and CO2 emissions regulation in the European Union, mainline manufacturers are turning to turbochargers like never before. In 2009 just 5% of cars sold in America sported turbos, and that 5% consisted largely of European brands like Volvo and BMW with a long history of forced induction. By 2013 that number had more than doubled to 13%. Honeywell expects the number to rise to 25% in the next four years and the EPA tells me that by 2025 they expect 90% of cars sold in America to sport a turbo engine. With turbos becoming so ordinary, what’s a turbo pioneer like Volvo do to keep a competitive edge? Add a supercharger of course.

I recently had the opportunity to sample the new Volvo V60 (expect a first drive review shortly) but the star of the show wasn’t the car itself, it’s what’s under the hood. New engine designs are truly a rarity in the automotive world with engines being tweaked over time to keep them fresh. Volvo’s own modular engine found under the hood of most Swedish cars (and the occasional Focus RS) turned 24 years old this year, but it’s a spring chicken compared to the Rolls Royce L series 6.75L engine that dates back to 1952. Being the engine nerd I am, I spent a new hours with Volvo’s powertrain engineer discussing their new “Drive E” engine family.

Volvo’s new engine family is primarily a clean sheet design, although many design components are descendants of the old “modular” engine family. The line consists of four different variants dubbed T3, T4, T5 and T6. As before, T indicates turbocharged but now the number represents power output rather than the number of cylinders involved. Yes, this is the death knell for Volvo’s funky 5-cylinder because this is a strict four-cylinder lineup. Volvo has said the 149 horsepower T3 and the 188 horsepower T4 won’t be headed to America at the moment, so don’t expect to see a direct competitor for BMW’s downsized 320i from Sweden this year. Instead we get the 241 horsepower T5 and the 302 horsepower T6 under the hood of everything except the XC90.

Volvo Drive-E engine, 2.0L, picture courtesy of Volvo

All engines share a common block design, but what changes is the boost. T3, T4 and T5 engines use a single turbo while T6 adds a Roots-type supercharger in addition to the turbocharger. VW and others have dabbled with twincharging in the past, with VW’s 1.4L twincharged engine finding a home under the hoods of Euro models and putting down 140-180 horsepower. Volvo is taking things to the next step by calling their 2.0L engine the replacement for not just the 3.0L twin-scroll turbo but also the recently departed 4.4L V8.

While supercharging and turbocharging sounds excessive, there is a logic to the madness. While peak torque on the turbo-only T5 just 15 lb-ft lower than the T6 (when in overboost), the supercharger allows the T6 to deliver approximately 140 lb-ft more torque just off idle. The torque curves converge around 1,500-1,600 RPM when the T6 switches over to the turbocharger. From approximately 2,000 RPM to 3,500 RPM torque remains flat on both engines but the larger turbo on the T6 allows it to maintain peak torque all the way past 4,500 RPM. When torque does start to wane it does so more gradually than turbo-only engines.

Aisin AWF8F35 8-speed transaxle, picture courtesy of Aisin

Why not stick with a supercharger alone like Jaguar and other auto makers? The reason is two-fold. Turbochargers operate off of “waste energy” from the exhaust. Exhaust gases spin the turbine which in turn spins the compressor forcing more air into the engine. In truth “waste energy” is a misnomer because there is a horsepower toll for having the turbo interfering with the exhaust stream, but in general this toll is smaller than the power required to operate a supercharger. The downside to a turbo is well known: turbo lag. Turbo lag is the time it takes the turbo to start “boosting.” Although the turbo is spinning at idle, it’s creating little positive pressure. Step on the gas and it takes a while for things to start humming along and boost to be created. That’s why the T5 has a lower torque rating off idle.

Superchargers are typically driven off the accessory belt. Because of the “direct” connection to the engine, they are always creating boost. Because this boost happens in sync with engine RPMs, the response is immediate. On the down side superchargers can consume up to 20% of an engine’s total power output according to Honeywell. This is considered a good trade since they can boot power up to 50%. Because of design trade offs, factory supercharged engines tend to “run out of breath” at higher RPMs which explains why Jaguar’s 5.0L supercharged engine lags the 4.4L and 4.7L twin-turbo German engines by a wide margin in peak torque.

Volvo’s answer to both problems was to use a supercharger for immediate response at the low end. From idle air flows into the supercharger then through the turbo into the engine. This not only improves low end response but it also helps get the turbo up to speed faster. At some point determined by the car’s computer (around 3,500 RPM) the engine opens a butterfly valve to bypass the supercharger and then de-clutches the supercharger to eliminate the inherent loss. This process allows a supercharger tuned for low end response and a turbo tuned for higher RPM running to be joined to the same engine. The result is a horsepower and torque curve superior to Volvo or BMW’s 3.0L twin-scroll turbos in every way, from torque at idle, length of the torque plateau, to high-RPM torque. To further increase efficiency Volvo relies on a variable speed electric water pump for cooling, direct-injection for combustion efficiency and low friction bearings and rings. Volvo’s marketing literature hails this as the answer to the V8.

But is it really? Yes and no. The pint-sized engine allows the XC60 to deliver 29 MPG on the highway in 304 horsepower T6 trim which is a 50% increase over Volvo’s 2009 XC90 V8. Score one for Drive-E. Out on the road, the 2.0L engine delivers more low end torque than any other 2.0L four-banger sold in America giving the XC60 more punch off idle than I expected. The T6’s torque curve may be flatter than Volvo’s sort lived 4.4L V8, but it’s not quite as robust at the top end or at idle. The broad torque band and the Aisin 8-speed auto allowed the XC60 T6 to tie an XC90 V8 to 60 MPH.  Aurally, Volvo’s “burbly” V8 is the clear winner. The Drive-E engine has a distinct (but muted) supercharger whine under 3,500, a definite four-cylinder exhaust note and an eerie silence at idle. Volvo was cagey about any Polestar tunes for their new engine, but I suspect considerable work will need to be done to best Volvo’s own Polestar I6.

My inner engineer is excited by the possibilities of modern forced induction technologies and small displacement engines. I suspect that the vast majority of American shoppers would be hard pressed to notice the difference between Volvo’s twin-charged 2.0L engine and a V8 in the 4L range in terms of power delivery and drive-ability. The constant march towards fuel economy also fills me with sadness. No matter how you slice it, a naturally aspirated V8 has a sound that we’ve grown up associating with performance and luxury. This association is so strong that BMW pipes V8 sounds into the cabins of their turbo V8s because the turbos interfere with the exhaust notes. As our pocketbooks rejoice, join me as I shed a tear for the naturally aspirated inline-6 and V8.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

184 Comments on “Twincharging Is Volvo’s Replacement For Displacement...”


  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    This is nothing new for Volvo.

    Back in college I was working part time taking engines apart for a little machine shop. We had a Volvo Penta (marine) six cylinder diesel come through there with a twin-charge setup like this. This was about 10 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Well, it’s nothing new for the industry; VW’s been doing it for a decade. But it looks like Volvo is doing it on a larger scale.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Wasn’t this common with airplanes in WWII, or that me misunderstanding the terminology?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        A “turbo-supercharger” back then was what we call a “turbocharger” now.

        • 0 avatar
          Conslaw

          I believe the Allison 1710 in the P-38 retained the integral single-stage geared supercharger like on the P-40 but added a GE exhaust-driven turbocharger.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            I don’t have my Jane’s in front of me, but I think you’re correct. Somewhat on-topic, the P-63 had a second supercharger engaged by a hydraulic clutch at high altitudes.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo-compound_engine

          Even more complicated…

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          Detroit Diesel has been using a combination of superchargers with turbochargers on it’s two cycle diesels since WWII. The two cycle design requires the supercharger to start and operate at low speeds while the turbo contributes boost at mid and higher RPM. Detroit Diesel also pioneered modular engines by allowing two V6 diesels to combine into a V12 and two V8’s into a V16.

          My motorhome has an 8V92 with the Supercharger and Turbocharger combination; it’s a very durable engine.

          What Volvo is doing is just a more refined version of a design that has been in wide (although non automotive) use for a long time.

          In the video link here you can see an old V12 Detroit Diesel with both the twin turbochargers and the supercharger mounted between the valve covers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19eQBQep-sc

          • 0 avatar
            Advance_92

            The EMD 567 diesel two stroke that appeared in 1939 had a roots blower from the start (though mainly to help push exhaust out of the cylinders). It was turbocharged in the late 50s. Granted it’s a big engine to put in a vehicle…

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        I recall seeing a cutaway radial engine at the Air Force Museum that had a setup like this. it had an enormous compressor integrated into the block. It was geared directly off the crankshaft, but also had little shafts that would go to the outside of the radius and connect to a few big turbines. I suppose the turbines helped directly drive the crankshaft and the compressor in this manner, making this a sort of transition between piston and turbine engines.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          That’s the turbo-compounding that JMO mentioned.

          I’ve long thought that this is the solution to one of the main problems with Wankel engines, the enormous amount of energy that goes out the tailpipe. Capturing much of the exhaust-gas energy and physically applying it to the crank could, conceivably, do wonders for the poor Wankel.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      As Jack says VW has been doing this for a while and others have done it in the past especially in racing applications. What’s new this time is that Volvo is replacing turbo sixes and V8s with this engine while VW was replacing turbo and naturally aspirated fours with their 1.4L engine. It’s a different take on the same technology.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      2-stroke Detroit diesels were doing this back to the 1950s I believe. All 2-strokes have to have some form of forced induction to get the air pumping in the correct direction for operation and when they wanted to use turbos on diesels they discovered that the turbo wouldn’t produce enough intake pressure to get a 2-stroke kicked off. They added a supercharger (blower, really) as it would pressurize the intake at cranking speed.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Weren’t the superchargers tasked with scavenging exhaust gases on the two-stroke diesels rather than forcing induction?

        • 0 avatar
          carve

          Yeah…how can you have any appreciable level of boost when the exhaust port is open at the same time as the intake? How can a turbine in the exhaust run a compressor on the intake that’s pushing against the turbine in the exhaust? The only extra power the turbine could make is in that brief time before the intake port opens?

        • 0 avatar
          AMC_CJ

          On the 2-cycle Detroit, the supercharger applied a minimum amount of boost, about 1-2psi at most, just to get air moving through the engine in the right direction. Nothing really more then a “blower”, or fan. Later models added a turbo to the mix for more power.

          But the same roots blower that only made 1psi on a Detroit, could make considerably more on a smaller engine back in the early hot rod days, and is where a lot of the early superchargers came from.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            I remember reading a very interesting article in Hot Rod a few months back that covered the early days of fitting scavenged GMC blowers to flatheads. Most required a total rebuild as a result of the built-up byproducts of combustion.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Alex,

    A+! One of the best written most informative posts ever of TTAC. I’m very impressed.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Volvo has got much bigger problems than worrying about making tiny supercharged engines. Maybe they should spend some of that money on platforms and interiors, and NOT making them in China.

    • 0 avatar
      CH1

      @CoreyDl Those platforms and interiors need engines that meet regulatory and consumer efficiency requirements, so Volvo is working on all three simultaneously. The new SPA platform will underpin everything from the S60 up and debuts on the new XC90 that launches later this year. A new platform for the smaller vehicles is also under development.

      The new XC90 will feature many of the interior and exterior design cues of the award-winning Coupe and XC Coupe concepts.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Right, they’re making that mistake again. One platform for all models. It has to be everything for every product they sell, making none of them particularly good.

        Concepts winning awards doesn’t mean much to me until I see it ON a production vehicle.

        • 0 avatar

          Want to talk about Volvo’s problems?

          It’s price and fuel economy, not platforms.

          People don’t avoid the XC70 because it doesn’t drive well, they avoid it because it costs a heck of a lot of money for what you get and guzzles gas in comparison to potential competitors. Developments like this help to narrow or erase the fuel economy gap Volvo currently has when compared it’s European (and American) rivals. And I say that as someone who loves the otherwise excellent T6 engine.

          Besides, if Volvo’s platforms are so bad, why has Ford decided to underpin most of their CUVs and some of their cars with a Volvo platform from 1997?

          • 0 avatar
            Neutron73

            Ding Ding Ding! I have a 2004 S60R and it loves fuel and it is a very expensive car to maintain. I will likely dump it soon for some way more economical, and Volvo’s current lineup falls far behind the competition in fuel efficiency. I think the XC60 is a nice vehicle, but not at the price and fuel inefficiency it provides.

          • 0 avatar

            well the new Drive-E motors will help with fuel economy. We just got a V60 T5 in to the dealership I work at, the window sticker is 29/37. That seems best in class for 3-series ETC non-hybrids.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            Improve fuel economy at a vastly increased level of mechanical complexity. Really, worth it?

            (Yeah I know government yada yada ..)

        • 0 avatar
          CH1

          I identified two platforms, which is all that needed for Volvo’s line-up for the foreseable future. VW will be using a single platform for vehicles ranging in size from the Audi A3 to the VW Passat.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You seem to have a mistaken notion of what a platform does.

          It basically places limits on the car’s dimensions and the mounting points for the motor. It’s possible to take a single platform and modify it in order to produce a variety of vehicles, each with differing driving characteristics.

          And in any case, Volvo is going to have more than one platform. Volvo’s problem is a lack of platforms, but the fact that most of its potential customer base would prefer to have a German car.

  • avatar
    imag

    Probably not the best engine to buy in the first year. Or two.

    Their V8 was developed by Yamaha. It will be sad to see it go.

    • 0 avatar

      It may have sounded good, but it got atrocious fuel economy and accomplished nothing the T6 couldn’t do.

      As for reliability? Hard to say, their current engines have been good. Volvo was in the top ten brands for reliability this year with CR (#7 I think?). Maybe this engine will start off better?

    • 0 avatar
      pb35

      I’m not buying a Volvo anything in the first year or two. As for the V8, you can have my XC90 V8; when you pry it from my cold, dead hands :)

      My V8 has been reliable overall but only has 56k on it in the seven years that we’ve owned it (it will be 7 this summer). Wow, time flies. I am patiently awaiting the new XC but will wait a year or 2 before making a decision. My wife took the Volvo when our twins were born 4 years ago and she likes it but is ready to get back into a car.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    90%? LOL.is that like the study that was done saying we’d all be driving flying cars in 2001

  • avatar
    Tom Szechy

    Lexus still uses NA V8s, right?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yes.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      And Toyota’s V6 gets better gas mileage in the Camry than the 2.0Ts in the likes of the Sonata and Fusion. I’m not really sold on the whole turbo thing just yet.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        A 3.5l V6 from Hondaa or Toyota almost double the CO2 emissions from GM’s 2.0T Ecotec. So the V6 might be going the way of the dod-do bird sooner than you think or about 5 years.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          ” A 3.5l V6 from Hondaa or Toyota almost double the CO2 emissions from GM’s 2.0T Ecotec.”

          Placed in the same vehicle and geared to give roughly equal performance, impossible. Just like your mileage claims. Carbon comes from the gasoline. If the two cars get the same mileage, the CO2 output is the same, no matter the configuration of the engine. And the sixes mentioned here are nice engines to drive.

          The 2.0T from GM is not an inspiring engine to drive, based on my ATS experience. It is coarse and unpleasant, and technically far backward compared to the BMW N20 engine for example. And I’m not a particular fan of that engine either.

          The winner among all these 2.0T engines will be the one that is pleasant to drive, forcing the other makers to get off their duffs and compete.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Makes sense on a warmed up engine. But on a cold start your knuckle dragging 3.5l V6 buddies will consume more fuel heating larger mass engine than my 1.4T, with two separate rows of cylinders compared to my one. V6’s stink on cold starts when you have to back right away.

            Over 100 lbs of metal will spew more CO2 and NOX emissions.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            GM Ecotec 2.0T not onpar with BMW N20? They were bot in Ward’s top 10 engines last year.

            http://m.wardsauto.com/vehicles-amp-technology/gm-20l-turbocharged-i-4

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Who gets EPA fuel economy?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          No, that’s just wrong.

          http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34292&id=33843&id=34490&id=34087

          Click the “Energy & Environment” tab. Not only is the Camry V6 on par with emissions as the magical 2.0Ts, but it gets as good or BETTER fuel economy too.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        The writing may be on the wall, at least in Toyota’s case. It seemed obvious that their new 2 liter turbo 4 would replace that dog of a 2.5 V6 in models like the IS. But their recent trademark filings include a 2.0 turbo GS, so it appears that engine may even serve as a replacement for their lovely 3.5 liter V6. They could just be offering a new entry level model, but in what would be considered a normal state of tune these days for 2.0 turbo, there wouldn’t be a hell of a lot of differentiation between the 2.0 and 3.5 (and the 2.0 would obviously have better torque down low). I fully expect to see turbos dominate Lexus’ lineup in the next 5 years. We’ll probably see a ~3 liter turbo 6 next to give them something competitive against the 335 and upcoming C400 (354lb-ft). That’s the engine I’d be really excited about in an IS or RC.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “As our pocketbooks rejoice, join me as I shed a tear for the naturally aspirated inline-6 and V8.”

    “As our pocketbooks rejoice.”

    What a load of total bullsh!t.

    The new era of temperamental, over-complicated (to game EPA loop tests, nonetheless), easy to break yet expensive to fix hotboxes shoehorned into ever-shrinking engine bays has arrived.

    Ford’s ecoboost scarlet letter (i.e. Black dot) across the board in Consumer Report’s Reliability Index is the precursor of things to come, as the world gets its first taste of mass market TURBOWINNING in plain Jane commuter vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think you’re right. This is going to be a problem down the line. Cars won’t last 150K without major incident when they have a tiny turbo engine. Too much heat, too much pressure, too hard to work on.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        The same was said of turbo diesels as well as small turbo gas engines but Europe’s history has proved these theories to be incorrect. My first turbocharged car is with its second owner and is currently at 320,000 miles on the original turbo, original engine. As long as the engine is designed properly there is no reason it won’t last 150-200,000 miles plus. Does that describe Volvo’s new engine? Who knows. It’s too soon to tell.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Riiiight…nothing like the much touted, well proven European reliability success story, along with your anecdotal one-off experience in the joys of wunder-turbo ownership to set th record perfectly straight.

          Here’s a tip, Alex – the next time you do one of your reviews, take the time to have a real conversation with a real life mechanic/tech who does the unremarkable feat of repairing and/replacing the small displacement turbocharged mills that are now powering an increasing number of portly commuter cars.

          You may or may not be able to strike up and maintain a real conversation and get such a person to tell you the reality of what they’re already seeing on their daily basis (this takes a certain personable, human touch).

          If you find that difficult, do what you always have, as SOP: Blindly repeat the claims of OEM marketing material.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            p.s. – The “they’ve been turbocharging diesels to no serious illl-wanted effect” meme needs to just die, the sooner the better, as a preemptive claim that turbocharging small displacement gasoline engines in mass-marketed (aka built to a very zealous price point) commuter vehicles will not be problematic (and maybe seriously so).

            There’s a big difference in the construction, thus far, of critical engine components and the accessory components that heat and cool these things, between turbodiesel motors and gasoline ones.

            My favorite posts are the ones touting the durability & longevity of the turbodiesels in heavy duty commercial trucks as proof that TURBOS4THEWIN!!

          • 0 avatar
            Alex L. Dykes

            I’m not talking about Euro brands, just cars sold in Europe. If you look at reliability metrics a decent number of the top vehicles in UK and German reliability studies are powered by small turbo engines. Keep in mind that over 60% of cars sold in the EU have a turbo. Meanwhile until 2009 the number in the USA was under 5%. Even now the number is barely higher so there isn’t enough history here to go by. We can however look across the pond for statistics, trends and a general indication of reliability.

            As a person who always does their own vehicle maintenance and repairs, including an engine rebuild, two transmission rebuilds, a transfer case rebuild and more engine and exhaust modifications than I care to remember, I have several friends that are mechanics and believe me, their advice is always taken to heart.

          • 0 avatar
            Advance_92

            Just be sure the mechanic isn’t a curmudgeon that hasn’t gotten any training for the last twenty years and refuses to touch metric tools.

            By the way Alex, by 2009 there were quite a few turbos in Subarus, and not just punks with Imprezas.

          • 0 avatar
            Alex L. Dykes

            I’m not sure why you think we aren’t on the same page with

            “There’s a big difference in the construction, thus far, of critical engine components and the accessory components that heat and cool these things, between turbodiesel motors and gasoline ones.”

            The key in my statements is/was and always will be: when properly designed. You can’t just jam a turbo on any old engine and expect it to survive long term. Designing an engine for long term turbo reliability requireS a different focus on cooling, materials engineering and proper accounting of the forces involved. The turbo diesel parallel is that there were plenty of early turbo diesels that went wrong. Heck, Ford was still having issues not that long ago. But when done designed properly they can have a long service life. The same is true of gasoline turbos. It’s all the design.

          • 0 avatar
            saabophile

            What’s your deal DeadWeight? Are you Alex’s ex wife or somthin? If he likes something he’s been paid by the manufacturer. If he explains some interesting tech to us he’s just reading a crib sheet. If he dislikes something he’s not disliking it hard enough. If he says the sky is blue you say he’s a pinko commie sky lover. Chill out dude.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          People believe that I have a personal problem with Alex, when I’m just blunt in general, and often full of piss & vinegar.

          I’ve never personally attacked or insulted Alex in an ad hominem way. I’ve just vehemently disagreed with a lot of what he’s written lately, and I’ve taken issue with the general tenor of his reviews, which I personally believe to be lacking in substantive criticism when and where its due.

          I won’t apologize for my viewpoints when it comes to Alex’s claims in this article, or, as just one other recent example, my criticism of Alex when he speaks glowingly of the Acura RLX.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “Too much heat, too much pressure, too hard to work on.”

        Right, because no advancements in design, manufacturing or metallurgy have been made in the last 20 years. The ’86 K-Car turbo was the end state of the technology.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I know nothing of the reputation of K-Car turbos. You need to chill out though.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            From my experience, k-car turbos often kill their headgaskets at 100k or so or require a re build for something else. Chryslers 2.2, according to the designer, was designed with supercharging in mind, but Chrysler demanded the then more trendier turbos.

            I feel like a loser now.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            All things equal in the power department a supercharger is harder on the engine than a turbocharger for reasons cited above. As Honeywell stated a supercharger at full song can absorb up to 20% of the engines output ergo the engine is actually dealing with greater combustion pressures and heat compared to a turbocharged variant producing identical power on the dyno.

            If Chrysler had identical power targets in mind and developed the engine for supercharging first it should have been able to handle the turbocharger with no difficulty.

            If Chrysler exceeded the output of the supercharged engine by more than that 20% ( for example) and not done anything in response then reliability would suffer.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            @ralph, knowing the heat that one power adder can make, I can.t fathom the size of the air-to-air intercooler on this engine with the air passing through a hot supercharger..

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I’m still bitter about the fact that Henry Ford replaced the handcrank starter on the Model T with one of those newfangled electric gizmos.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            I know! Think how reliable a hand crank is. None of that electric motor crap. Just a man and his crank.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            “Just a man and his crank.”

            Like the Abrahamic God of the Anglo-Saxon bible intended!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The thing that is most likely to break on a handcrank starter is your arm.

            Hell, I’ve got two of those, and they don’t need no electricity. Darn tootin’.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I don’t believe that for a minute. Cars will last just fine with small turbocharged engines. The concept isn’t exactly new. Small turbocharged engines have been around a long time now and have had very good longevity.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Does the Hyundai/Kia 2.0T receive black dots as well? If so, you’d expect a load of warranty claims.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I just wish there was an internet back in 1984 so we could go back and read your rants about the horror of electronic ignition, fuel injection and overly complicated 4 speed automatic transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      DW,
      I agree you cannot romp and stomp on a T/C’d engine and then just shut it down. But, I think your longevity concerns are overstated. I have owned numerous boosted cars over the years with no induction/exhaust problems.

    • 0 avatar
      CH1

      Small turbocharged engines are nothing new. They have served reliably in Saabs, Volvos, other brands and in racing circles for decades.

      The fall in Ford’s reliability ranking is due mostly to things such as infotainment systems, not the engines; and is relative to today’s cars which are considerably more reliable than those of the past. In other words, a model that’s ranked below average today is actually as reliable as the reliability leaders a few years ago.

      The average 2010 model year car is more reliable than 2007 Toyotas were at the same age, according to the 2013 and 2010 JD Power 3-year dependability surveys. The average 2010 model is also more reliable than 2000 models from Lexus, the most reliable brand on the 2003 survey.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Despite the frequency of the “Ford got hit on reliability ratings because of MyFordTouch” claim, it is patently false, at least if one gives credibility to large-scale data of the type Consumer Reports compiles (I do, since I’m big on data pools that incorporate feedback from end users that number into the hundreds of thousands annually, and millions upon millions over anything longer than a 4 or 5 year time frame, depending on the make/model).

        Not a single Ford ecoboost motor manages to earn higher than a “worse than average” reliability rating, while most earn the notorious “much worse than average.”

        • 0 avatar
          CH1

          Ten years ago or earlier, before the advent of those turbo engines, Ford was in a similar position in the Consumer Reports rankings. The difference is that the same ranking today actually means higher reliability; i.e, a lower number of problems per 100 cars.

          Your basic premise that the drop in reliablity ratings means lower reliability than in the past is dead wrong, because those ratings (red and black dots) are not absolute but relative to average for each model year. A black dot this year is equivalent to a red one in the not-too-distant past, because the average problem rate decreased just about every year.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Not really, or actually, not at all.

            Problem rates began to increase at approximately year 2006.

            Some of these increases were attributable to new tech gadgets, but many weren’t, including CVT & DCT problems, as well as things such as the aforementioned ecoboost motors.

            It’s an erroneous belief that a Model Year 2014 vehicle will be more reliable, on average, than a Model Year 2005 one.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            From Consumer Reports’ own website:

            “In the past 20 years, the reliability of all vehicles has improved greatly, on average. Of course, some models have remained quite unreliable, while others have improved quite dramatically. American models have made the greatest improvements, but they historically have had the most improving to do. Asian models have improved as well, so the gap between domestic and foreign cars has narrowed, but it still remains.”

            A 2014 car, statistically, is more reliable on average than a 2005. Michael Karesh keeps stressing this point as well at True Delta and has the data to show this.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          You make a good point there. I don’t think the issue is necessarily the turbochargers and plumbing anymore though, I think the issue is direct injection.

          VW reliability results in CR and Truedelta also showed a shifting in issues (to fuel system) between the direct and port injected motors. I believe MINI also tells the same tale. Since those brands were early adopters in the states the DI/turbo motors were in clearly identified trim level and model choices (GLI, GTI, CC, CooperS etc…) The problems we’ll be seeing soon will be DI incorporated alongside turbos across entire main stream product lines. It doesn’t make sense to go turbo but not DI anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Didn’t a Ford issue a recent recall on a CUV that would catch fire? I beleive it had a turbo 1.6l.

        And turbo Volvos were only reliable if the owner was a meticulous neat freak, you CAN get one to 300k if you’re careful.

        I can’t speak for Saabs, theres not many around anymore.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I am also an engine nerd, and also an engineer, and I really like the concept behind twin charging. I had hoped we would see some of VW’s twin charged efforts here.

    I also thought that the GM Ecotec 2.0 would be an excellent candidate for this type of treatment, in a mild sort of way. The LSJ was a peppy motor, and the LNF/LHU even more so, but despite the assertions of a certain B&B who shall remain nameless, the 2.0 Turbo needs some time to build the boost (about 2000 rpm). Slap an M62 on there, have it fully disengage at 2200 rpm, and I think that would be much better suited to bigger cars like the Regal and Malibu, and make a suitable base engine for the Impala rather than the 2.5.

    Looking for that lazy, 3800 style torque. :)

    Alex, kudos for the detailed writeup.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Some warplanes in WWII used turbo-supercharging:

    http://rwebs.net/avhistory/opsman/geturbo/geturbo.htm

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Hey SCE, I think theres a bit of terminology confusion here.

      Back in the day, all forced induction was referred to as supercharging. “Turbochargers” as we know them today were referred to as “turbosuperchargers”, as in turbine driven superchargers.

      So, I believe the linked article is referring to, basically, a turbocharged engine, by modern terminology.

      Here is an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbocharger

      “Turbochargers were originally known as turbosuperchargers when all forced induction devices were classified as superchargers; nowadays the term “supercharger” is usually applied to only mechanically driven forced induction devices.[3] The key difference between a turbocharger and a conventional supercharger is that the latter is mechanically driven from the engine, often from a belt connected to the crankshaft, whereas a turbocharger is powered by a turbine that is driven by the engine’s exhaust gas. Compared to a mechanically-driven supercharger, turbochargers tend to be more efficient but less responsive. Twincharger refers to an engine with both a supercharger and a turbocharger.”

      Apologies for being pedantic.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Thank you for your pedantry; it’s refreshing to encounter others who understand supercharging as a general term.

        For those willing to learn, a supercharger is any device which increases volumetric efficiency. The 2 types are either chemical or mechanical superchargers, with the latter group further subdivided into directly or indirectly coupled systems.

        To avoid confusion, we pedants reserve use of the word “blower” to refer to directly coupled mechanical superchargers.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          What about an exhaust-driven turbo with an integrated motor that spins up electrically for zero lag, and can generate power instead of wastegating? Wouldn’t that technically be both? Seems like that would be ideal for a Miller-cycle engine.

          (And jacketing the exhaust manifold with liquid cooling that could drive Seebeck thermopile or a Stirling-cycle “radiator”?)

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Dr. Ken

            Are you describing a hybrid turbocharger?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_turbocharger

            Exhaust gas drives electrical generator, which then powers an electrical compressor. This allows lag free boost, as the compressor can be run by the ECU, spinning up as required, and the exhaust gases simply charge a battery which drives the compressor.

            Its still a supercharger at the end of the day. The drive system is the difference.

          • 0 avatar
            Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

            I suppose I am, and that design’s likely a lot simpler and more robust than trying to fit an electric motor inside a turbo :p

            Actually looking at that, it’s pretty genius since you can design the blower into the intake manifold and locate the “turbo” pretty much anywhere along the exhaust path you can find space for.

          • 0 avatar
            Felis Concolor

            That would still fall under the indirectly coupled heading, along with all those ghettocharged LeMons leaf blower setups. Be it a wire or puff of exhaust, it’s not a direct linkage to the engine itself.

            It’s also a very cool idea, the better to squeeze every possible erg of energy out of the process.

            I read about the new wave of remote turbo kits several years ago: that’s a great way to obviate the need for a close engine compartment location in tighter quarters – and there’s usually a lot of free space in the fender wells.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          And what about the various types of compressor designs? When I hear “blower” I think of a roots type supercharger using a set of meshing lobes that pressurizes the plenum below the blower to achieve its supercharging effect as opposed to a twin screw which primarily compresses the air axially along the length of its rotors rather than pressurizing the plenum itself or a centrifugal supercharger which is more or less a crankshaft driven turbocharger. The distinction in terms of efficiency and the way they build boost ( and the effect on the power curve) is enough that using “blower” as a catchall for crankshaft driven supercharging doesn’t really do any of the three types justice.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        The correct term for anything that compresses air is compressor. How it is driven is secondary. Centrfugal, scroll, reciprocating etc. Used in jet engines, diesel and gasoline engines.

        Now the confusion car guys have come from the turbine in the exhaust that most likely drives a centrifugal compressor. So “turbo” refers to what drives the comressor. In theory an electric motor, a turbine or the ICE could drive any type of compressor. However, for rpm and torque reasons a centrifugal compressor mostly is driven by turbine.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    With all of the 2.0T obsession, my question is why can’t anybody do a 2.0 liter V6, flat 6, inline 6 or V8? Are more cylinders inherently less reliable, less powerful or less efficient at that displacement? I would take a turbo 2.0 V8, especially a flat-cranker.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      More cylinders are more expensive. More cylinders for a given displacement produce higher HC emissions due to an increase in total volume of top ring/piston crown gaps. More cylinders produce more piston ring and skirt friction, not to mention bearing friction.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The primary reason for a four is that it is the lowest number of cylinders in a four-stroke engine where there is no “dead” time. In other words as one power cylinder ends its power stroke another begins. Five cylinder engines exist because it is the first design where power stroked overlap.

      With that in mind, in general, the fewer number of cylinders the less internal friction you get. Again, that is a general statement. Engines need to balance these things out so although a 3 cylinder would be lower friction than a 4, they are rougher and if you look at things one way, 25% of the time the engine isn’t making any power.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Less powerful and less efficient due to increased internal friction. Much more expensive to build.

      I too would love to see more small V6 and V8 engines, but it’s not gonna happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      BMW has a pretty sweet little 1.6l inline 6.

      Too bad they only use it for their ubertourer bike :p

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I think Volvo is going the wrong direction here. Volvo’s reputation for long-term durability is bound to take a hit with this complexity. How many people really will want a 20 year-old Volvo with a supercharger and a turbocharger? It seems to me a better direction would be a direct-injected engine with enough displacement for moderate performance and an optional conventional turbocharger. Give it an efficient transmission and aerodynamics, keep the curb weight reasonable and fuel economy would be good enough. If you need better CAFE numbers, offer a diesel.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I really like the new V60 and am really hoping this engine proves to be reliable as the old 5 cylinder. I’ll probably put off my purchase for a year just to be sure there are no immeadiate problems.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    While this is interesting technology, I don’t see the point for those of us who don’t live in jurisdictions where cars are taxed on engine displacement, or on CO2 emissions which are measured on a test cycle where small engines seldom get on the boost.

    “The pint-sized engine allows the XC60 to deliver 29 MPG on the highway in 304 horsepower T6 trim…”

    For comparison, a Pentastar / 8AT powered Charger delivers a bit better mileage while making similar power in a large, heavy car. A C7 Corvette makes delivers similar mileage while making much more power. Both use larger displacement, normally aspirated engines.

    I suspect bigger real world improvements in fuel efficiency would result from finding ways to reduce weight, wind resistance and rolling resistance than from boosting tiny engines within inches of their lives.

    While I have no doubt that this complex new technology will eventually become reliable, I would expect some teething problems on the way. If a problematic new engine arrives in the first Chinese made Volvos it won’t help the brand…

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      There are some good points there. In general the smaller engine and lower cylinder count engine would still be more economical due to reduced friction. There are too many variables between an XC60 and a Charger at play to compare directly. We have different transmission designs, different gear and final drive ratios as well. (According to the EPA, the fairly heavy S60 gets 35 MPG with the 302HP engine which is 4 MPG better than the larger and heavier Charger. Sounds about right in my head.)

      If you put the new Volvo 4-cylinder engine in the Charger I would wager that it would get better mileage than the Pentastar V6. How much better would be the question, and that I can’t say. Keep in mind also that the Pentastar V6 doesn’t provide nearly as much torque as the 302HP 2.0L engine (295 vs 260) or have as broad of a torque curve. However as you say, when you get on the boost you’re going to be drinking more fuel.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        Having a huge engine that can lop along at low rpm and gearing it very high gives a similar sort of displaced-air-on-demand effect as forced induction. Response is a mixed bag- you can summon more torque with zero lag by opening the throttle, but need to wait for a downshift to get significant power (no different than on a turbo). You just need a very responsive and wide-ranged transmission to make it practical.

        • 0 avatar
          PenguinBoy

          A modern 8AT is very wide ranged and responsive, and if instantaneous throttle response is desired can be downshifted manually in advance of stepping on the gas.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      A Charger has less frontal area, and a Corvette far less frontal area, than a tall XC60. 29 mpg highway out of a low-slung car isn’t a big deal. 29 mpg highway out of a powerful crossover is very impressive — we’re just now getting to the point where vanilla crossovers with far less power are getting that sort of highway mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        29 mpg highway out of a crossover is a lot less special when your “highway” is actually a treadmill loaded to simulate driving at 48 mph.

        On an actual highway at 60-70% higher speeds, the Charger (Corvette, any other aerodynamic car) will still run 30ish mpg. While the crossovers are in the low twenties, EPA lies be damned.

        • 0 avatar
          CH1

          There are numerous Saabs and Volvos with turbos that have exceeded 150K miles without failure. There are countless turbo diesels in Europe that have done the same.

        • 0 avatar
          CH1

          Dan, the average speed on the main EPA highway test exceeds 48 mph. There is also the supplemental test introduced in 2008 with speeds over 60 mph (up to 80 mph) most of the time and aggressive acceleration and braking.

          Fuel economy isn’t a constant. It varies with driving style and conditions. Hence, the specific test cycle used to obtain a mpg number is an integral and inseparable part of a mileage claim.

          Saying that the EPA ratings are lies makes as much sense in principle as saying a claim of 30 mpg on the highway is false because you only get 20 mpg in city driving.

          The good news is that the preliminary numbers from journalists’ test drives indicate that the new Volvo 4-cyl engines meet or exceed the EPA numbers in real-world driving.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        While I doubt anyone cross shops them, it’s reasonable to compare a Charger to an XC60 if your requirements are a large comfortable car big enough to haul a family and their stuff, and with available AWD for Winter traction. The gains in fuel consumption from the small boosted engine (if any) are more than offset by the increased frontal area of the crossover.

        I agree comparing a C7 to an XC60 is a bit ridiculous, but the C7 engine is over three times the displacement of the XC60 engine, and even the base engine makes 50% more power – so it makes the point that a large engine can still get good fuel economy.

        At a given speed, the engine only has to make enough power to overcome wind and rolling resistance regardless of its displacement. With technologies like direct injection, variable displacement, and multi speed transmissions there’s no reason a vehicle with a large normally aspirated engine can’t get excellent real world fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      DaveBeNimble

      “I suspect bigger real world improvements in fuel efficiency would result from finding ways to reduce weight, wind resistance and rolling resistance than from boosting tiny engines within inches of their lives.”

      These things are interlinked. Boosting a small engine means you have a lighter, smaller block. This in turn means the supports and strucure around the enginer can be lighter, the car’s profile can be smaller, and the rolling resistance (less directly) reduced. Getting a smaller engine with the same power gives you benefits all over the place, not just in direct fuel consumption.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As an engineer, I think twincharging is an interesting solution to the problem of increasing emissions and fuel economy requirements.

    As an enthusiast, I’m sad this solution has to come at the expense of simplicity, cost, and most importantly engine character.

    Thankfully, I guess, engine note synthesis technology is getting pretty good, so maybe one day it won’t even matter.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      sporty, what kind of engineer are you?

      The engineer demographic of ttac interests me. Even though I am guessing most of us aren’t automotive or mechanical engineers, its interesting to read the thoughts of people who had similar training.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    As engines get increasingly complex, the question of how robust they are becomes increasingly important. An old normally aspirated engine with a carburetor was extremely fault tolerant. That’s why they keep running in weird places like Cuba. Same for an old normally aspirated diesel. A complete electrical system failure would not shut these engines down. By contrast, modern engines run on the razor edge of criticality, as owners of the new generation of clean diesels — especially that European wonder 3-liter from Mercedes — are finding out. Or as the owners of the BMW 3-liter DI twin turbo wonder found out, when their high pressure fuel pumps started failing because of the ethanol in U.S. gasoline.

    The point is that the motor vehicle is supported by a system that keeps it operating. That system includes the components of the motor vehicle, the fuel that runs and the mechanics who repair it. Because these vehicles themselves are less fault-tolerant, the performance of the entire system has to be improved. My fear is that, when manufacturers get into price competition, they will skimp on those elements of the system that are not immediately visible to the consumer. And the customer will suffer . . . and pay, a lot.

    BTW, Alex, in the 1980s when turbos were touted as the performance answer by Saab and Volvo and Peugeot (!) here in the U.S., BMW advertised the absence of turbos in its engines as a feature, not a bug, citing reliability and driveability (all of which was true). Of course BMW did not bring into the U.S. its 754i car, which was a turbocharged version of its big 3.2 liter 6.

    While its true that smaller engines have the advantage of weight and packaging, it’s also true that there are other ways to do “variable displacement” engines with, perhaps less complexity than a system of superchargers and turbochargers.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “An old normally aspirated engine with a carburetor was extremely fault tolerant.”

      No, they broke down all the time, it was a miracle when they made it to 100k miles. WTH are you talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        ‘Fault tolerant’ and reliability are two entirely different things. What was meant is that the older, simpler engines could have a lot going wrong and still operate. Your plugs could be dirty, carb gummy, and the engine may not run well, but it would run and get you to your destination.

        On modern car engines, there are literally thousands of things (if you count all of the transistor junctions involved in the operation of the system) that can go wrong and cause it to be inoperable. The difference is that the higher overall reliability means that we can have a more complicated system and get away with it.

        And as somebody who drove 1960s – 1970s cars for the past 30 years, I will have to disagree with you about them breaking down “all the time.” More maintenance? Yes, absolutely. But properly maintained, I would drive one cross-country (and did, a few times, in my 1969 Cadillac Ambulance).

        • 0 avatar
          CH1

          Instead of speculation and theory, I suggest you look at the actual reliability data. The data show that today’s complicated cars not only have far less problems than the simpler cars of the past, but the problems are far less serious.

          Problems that render the car inoperable are now a lower percent of the total, while comestic issues, software glitches and design issues are a larger portion of total. Design issues are where the system works as designed but the user doesn’t like it.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          My first car had a carburetor. It didn’t like starting in the cold and the used oil smelled like gasoline. The electronic multiport fuel injected engines in the cars that replaced the first one kept the fuel/air ratio correct over a wide range of conditions despite a fair amount of neglect. They always start. They kept the oil relatively clean and functioning as a lubricant. They made the concept of tune-up mostly obsolete.

          My concern with small displacement engines with forced induction is heat and pressure, not complexity. The engine control electronics is well sorted out by now with limp home capability if a sensor breaks. The question is if the engines will last in the presence of high ambient temperatures and owner neglect.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      A lot of those cars in Cuba are powered by anything but the motors that came with the car. The engines are transplanted from tractors, industrial equipment, old Ladas, you name it. People here may romanticize them, but the cars are mostly crap (but a testament to the ingenuity of people who have to make do with very few resources.)

      Cars are far more reliable today. They are harder to fix when they do break, but they break a lot less often. The Cubans should be so lucky.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Thanks DC Bruce for such a nice, level-headed synopsis of the subject. One addendum: fuel, its price and availability is also an important part of the chain.

      Europe has high fuel prices and a potentially acute vulnerability of supply. Worse case, Europe might have to rely just on North Sea oil plus probably Russia (at a dear price) with maybe Libya and Algeria (or not, if Arab Spring is any harbinger) for a fairly extended period. With no real navy, they would be dependent on the kindness of others. Facing that possibility, their policies make sense, at least for now. Small turbo and supercharged engines are just the ticket.

      North America is a different story. We are looking at regional self-sufficiency in oil by 2020 at a price of probably $50 to $70 per barrel. The ‘fracking’ technology that (we expect) will make this possible is already spreading to Australia, Mexico, Poland, China and elsewhere. You might consider the Eagle Ford, Cline, Wolfcamp and Bakken shale as being alpha test sites. Oil production from these areas (once considered almost totally mined out) has gone from almost nothing to two million barrels per day in just over two years, and it is still headed straight North. Since global oil production is less than 100 million barrels per day, so you can see that even these little alpha tests are not insignificant.

      In short, larger, less highly stressed internal combustion engines will likely be the ticket in North America. EV’s et.al. will likely fade. Think $2.50 USD per US gallon or less for regular gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        I wouldn’t bet on lower gas prices. If it does drop then expensive tech like fracking and deep sea will become prohibitive.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          Deep ocean oil, yes. Fracking, not so much. It is an entirely new mining technique. The final technical breakthrough was ‘measurement while drilling’ which was simply based on modern computing power. None of this is inherently expensive. The cost of oil from fracking is considered to require $70 per barrel today. Such costs will eventually go down with more experience and as current oil boom costs are deflated.

          My advice to you. Pick another horse to ride.

          • 0 avatar
            fredtal

            The cost of fracking is around $70/barrel. While the oil companies get more efficient they are also facing environmental issues that will not help with lower gas prices. Add to that increased world wide demand there is nothing on the horizon that says oil price is going down.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    People over in Finland make big power with a similar recipe on Merc OM606 diesel engines. They use huge holset turbos along with a supercahrger to make crazy amounts of power.

  • avatar
    gasser

    +1 on disbelief of turbo durability. Admittedly I grew up in the era of do it yourself “blowers” for VW bugs and the early turbo Audis which ate a turbo annually, but I still don’t trust these technologies long term. My distrust centers around the execution of forced induction. I live in L.A., where summer temps are over 100 F and the blacktop can be 130-140F in the sun. Couple this with snail like traffic, air conditioning and most drivers’ ignoring service reminders plus outsourced low bid parts and Ta-Da…..disaster. You might entice me to lease a new technology car, but buy one…..no thanks.
    I’ve bought used NA cars but the thought of a used twin turbo makes my hair stand on end. Just my $.02.

  • avatar
    carve

    It seems a waste to have two seperate compressors. Something I’d like to see is an electric turbo supercharger hybrid.

    Picture an electric motor/generator between the compressor and the turbine, that can be selectively declutched from the compressor. During normal cruising, instead of dumping all that hot exhaust through the wastegate, you’ll keep it closed and extract a bit more energy by having the turbo turn the generator, whose energy will be used to charge the battery until it’s full, at which time it’ll be fed directly to a small electric motor (or perhaps clutched into the accessory belt with a CVT or something). The compressor will be bypassed during cruising.

    When boost is needed, the compressor is clutched in and a supercapicator spools the whole thing up to the appropriate speed very quickly. You get almost instant boost, the turbine is up to operating speed so it can continue to deliver a continous load (the motor only has to deliver high output for a second or two- not a continuous electric supercharge duty cycle), and hell…the turbine may even be drawing a vaccum on the exhaust for a tick, helping things spool faster yet.

    As long as I’m thinking out loud, you could probably do something similar mechanically if you had that mini CVT. During crusing, the turbine could be geared down to help drive the engine via the belt. During acceleration, the compressor would clutch in and engine shaft power would accelerate both the compressor and turbine, after which the CVT would declutch from the engine.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    All of this engineering and complexity to get a whopping 140-180hp horsepower out of an engine? So the consumer can save what, $6 a month on their gas bill and have a smaller carbon footprint?

    Somehow, we were getting more horsepower than this out of conventional 4 cylinders in the 90’s.

    I appreciate the engineering that goes behind this, but good luck when you get a supercharged/turbocharged engine outside of a factory warranty. If this is the nonsense that’s going to be shoved down our throats by bureaucrats, those few extra mpgs are going to awfully expensive.

    I’d much rather have a slightly larger, naturally aspirated engine than this ticking time bomb.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The twincharged engine described here is making 302 hp, not 140-180.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        Below is a quote of some of the actual applications of these types of engines:

        “VW and others have dabbled with twincharging in the past, with VW’s 1.4L twincharged engine finding a home under the hoods of Euro models and putting down 140-180 horsepower.”

        And color me unimpressed that Volvo’s promised replacement for a V8 that uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger puts down around 300hp. That’s pretty exotic technology, I’ll take the simpler V8 if it’s a car I’m owning outside a warranty.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Oooh, exotic technology! Scary!

          Until you realize that every single Class 6, 7, or 8 truck in the world has a turbocharger, and that superchargers were invented shortly after internal-combustion engines.

          This really isn’t that complicated, except for the software that controls it.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            Yes, I would call both a supercharger and a turbocharger on the same engine “exotic”.

            And supersonic jet engines have also been around for a while, that doesn’t make them less exotic.

            It’s “scary” because it’s far more complicated than a naturally aspirated motor for incredibly menial gains. I think the tradeoff is a joke.

            What is the cost of a 150hp naturally aspirated engine vs one with a turbocharger and a supercharger that makes roughly the same power? hint: the difference is a lot more than whatever the consumer spends on gasoline over the ownership experience for the “antique” engine, with far less potential service costs and issues to boot.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “the difference is a lot more than whatever the consumer spends on gasoline over the ownership experience for the “antique” engine, with far less potential service costs and issues to boot.”

            If that were true, large trucks would still be powered by massive naturally aspirated lumps. Trucks are designed to operate as cheaply as possible, full stop. Every single one uses a “smaller” (this is relative) turbocharged diesel. Every single one.

            Eventually the same will be true of cars, at least for those that still use internal combustion. (Full electric will take over a part of the market but I don’t think it will ever work for some drivers.)

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            Are you really comparing a diesel truck that carries hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo of cargo and drives a million miles to a passenger car to make a point about fuel savings?

            A turbo diesel engine is cheaper to operate than a conventional gas powered engine for a semi, but no one is making that argument. Why are you?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Naturally aspirated diesels are plain terrible, that’s why over the road trucks have turbos. If they could make the same output in a reasonable powerband without them, they would.

            With gas engines, we’re not seeing the use of turbos because they’re particularly reliable, but because the costs of not meeting emissions and fuel economy standards are greater than the associated warranty costs.

            Without the regulations in place, automakers would prefer to sell you your horsepower in naturally aspirated form.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      For most of the non-dense urban areas of the US, extra horsepower is wasted. Does it really matter if it takes 9 seconds to go from 0-60 instead of 6 seconds? Mid size cars of the 1980’s had between 80 to 100 HP and everyone survived, by letting people merge onto the expressway instead of cutting them off. A 4 cylinder 150 HP engine is plenty for 5 seat cars.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        And people “survived” with the Model T and 20hp. Is that the rationale for car enthusiasts? I don’t want my cars designed for people who commute in San Francisco.

        My point was not about the power being insufficient for daily use, it was that it’s a lot of exotic technology for menial gains in both fuel economy and total power vs existing conventional engines.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    This twincharging thing first made me think of the absolute monster that was the Lancia Delta S4, with its 1.8 twin-charged inline 4 that managed to produce 250 hp in street trim around the time when larger turbo 4s couldn’t even manage 200 hp.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Alex….

    Just a bit confused and perhaps cause I didn’t understand. But is the engine you are talking about in the CX60 the NEXT CX60 or the current one?
    I ask this because I looked at the CX60 out now and the turbo didn’t get nearly that 29 MPG HWY.

    Oh…and the bashing of the Ford Ecoboosted above has the reliability ratings all wrong.
    At least from what I can tell. The engines seem to be getting along nicely. You can say all the bad things you want about their electronics and Ford Touch…and eventheir crappy, late to react and loose as a goose clanking AWD systems…but the engines are holding up well.
    Some early issues with the 3.5, especially in the F150…but those seem to be well past.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Most of the 3.5EB issues were fixed after the first year. The plug change and intercooler fix cleared up most of the issues. It is a monster of an engine that is almost too strong in some applications. The engine is limited by the current crop of Ford transmissions. Once the new transmission come out, the power from the 3.5EB will go up even more.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I wouldn’t say the jury is out on that:

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/05/16/ford-ecoboost-engine-problems/2168865/

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/05/28/ford-f150-ecoboost-governemnt-probe/2367197/

      Also, many people are upset that the fuel economy differences between the EcoBoost vs V8 in real world driving are incredibly inflated.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        Well…yeah. The mileage is only there if you’re not on boost, which is the whole idea. If you’re on boost all the time you’re burning just as much air, and therefore fuel, as you would if you’re whipping a V8. The idea is than under light duty you can get much better mpg.

        As an example, my girlfriend has an e90 325i and I have a 335i, slighly modified. It makes about an extra 100 hp, doesn’t have valvetronic, no magnesium block, and a 10% lower compression ratio. Under normal driving (staying off boost, everything from around town to 90 mph cruise) they get about the same mpg.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          The turbo charged engines in the 335 make great power, but they’re service nightmares. That’s my fear.

          Most BMW owners go from lease to lease, but if you’re a consumer that owns a car outside a warranty, reliability and service costs are a really big deal.

          Ford has hand their hands slapped repeatedly for being too optimistic about their new engine designs and real world fuel economy.

          But regarding how people drive their cars and getting better fuel economy, that’s true on any car. And many cars now even with conventional engines have better fuel management when in a cruise mode.

          • 0 avatar
            carve

            You missed the point: that the turbo can get you more available power, but no mpg hit when you’re not on boost. Or, hypothetically, better mpg off-boost and the same power.

            It is a bit harder to work on, and their first generation fuel pumps were problamitic. Other than that, my only issue has been with the VANOS solenoids, which are readily accessible and also found on my GF’s 325i. The turbos are oil and liquid cooled, with a pump that runs after shut down, and not that difficult to access from under the car (almost impossible to even see from above though!). Things like changing belts, filters, and plugs are the same on both cars.

            Yes…it is a bit more complex, but I have performance that you could only find in exotic cars 20 years ago in a car that gets 30 mpg highway, is super comfy, has super confidence-inspiring handling, and seats four

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            No one is arguing that engines aren’t more efficient when forced induction is involved, what I’m arguing is the actual payoff is usually not worth it in many applications.

            A 150hp economy car that needs both a supercharger and a turbocharger like the article discusses to get there would be a good example.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Most of the lawsuits are from earlier builds, like the 2010 Taurus SHO or 2011 F-150. I don’t know what the owner’s dealers have done to address the concerns, but there are some fixes out there.

    • 0 avatar
      CH1

      The new new 4-cyl engines roll out for the 2015 model year, starting with the with V60 that’s in showrooms now, but only with the 240 hp version. S60s, S80s, XC60 and XC70s with the same engine are coming into the showrooms now. The 302-hp engine will be in the showrooms on the S60 and XC60 in June/July this year.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Volvo is throwing a curve ball. 2014 brought nose jobs to all cars in the USA except the XC90 and 2015 brings the new engines in everything except the XC90.

      All 2015 Volvos (except the XC90)get the new engines. T5 and T6 FWD only cars are the new ones, everything else us the old engine lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        CH1

        Alex, the current plan is to offer the new 302-hp engine in the S60 and XC60 along with the 240-hp version in model year 2015. The V60, S80 and XC70 get only the 240-hp version. The XC90 gets the new engines upon its redesign.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I’d take a tuned GM 2.0T Ecotec that holds power until redline with no perceivable drop off. The torque in a tuned 2.0T with 6MT is very good at throttle tip in.

    A tuned Ecotec 2.0T makes that power at the wheel(15% driveline energy loss.)

    http://shop.zzperformance.com/store/p/1004-LHU-Regal-High-Flow-Intake.aspx?cleartheme=1

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Here we go with “tuned”. Why are you comparing a “tuned” car to one that is from the factory? I’ve heard of plenty of people who ended up with a “tune” only to take it in for service and have the warranty voided.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    There’s no free lunch. Turbos have their good and bad points. On the down side is higher initial cost, lag, and high repair/replacement costs. Is there a turbo in any auto that can go 150,000 miles without failure?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Is there a turbo in any auto that can go 150,000 miles without failure?”

      Almost all of them? My ’98 Passat 1.8T went that far and ran like a top and that was 16 years ago and it was a Volkswage! I dont’ see why the newer stuff isn’t even better.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        And the one in my ’97 Passat 1.9l TDI just clicked over 200K and it still operating just fine (expect another 150K out of it, if the rest of the car doesn’t finish its falling apart before then).

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      My 1986 Audi 5000 made it to 180K. And it was an Audi 5000….

      The turbocharged I5 was never an issue. It would have gone anothe 180K no problem.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      My 2003 Wolfsburg Edition Jetta 1.8T is currently at 251,000 miles on the original K03 Turbo and an APR stage 1 ECU upgrade. Still pulls strong, and doesn’t burn oil. I plan to upgrade to the larger K04 turbo once the K03 dies, but I have a strange feeling I’m gonna have a long wait for that to happen.

      Or if you want a better example, how about a 500,000 1.8T:

      http://www.carscoops.com/2012/04/2001-vw-jetta-18t-receives-autopsy.html

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      The only two ecoboosted engines I am familiar with are 1) my 2010 MKS which now has 56K and 2), the 2013 Escape…ours has approx 5K on.
      As per your reference to lag…not one of our cars has it. Now I know turbo lag as our 2009 Tiguan has it…with gusto!
      But our MKS and Escape shoot off easily without any lag at all.

      But Ford did just extend my MKS extended warranty another year due to my demand for satisfaction with the damned AWD clunking!
      I admit…Ford AWD system stinks.
      Slow to react and loose as hell.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I see this sort of thing and wonder why a larger-displacement engine, working at a more relaxed pace, wouldn’t be a better choice, at least from the standpoints of fuel economy and emissions.

    GM has done a stellar job turning the supposedly ancient OHV small block V8 into a modern, high-tech plant. Why not follow their lead?

    I have to believe that a naturally-aspirated, small-displacement V8 or V6 would be cheaper and easier to make than this Christmas tree of power adders. Hell, it’d probably weigh less, too.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    High hp, torque, small displacement, turbos and engine reliability are a myth.
    Mainly to the used car buyer.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Sounds like computer and engine design are one in the same now, compact, overstressed, and too little room to breathe.

    I’d rather have a redblock dropped into a big boxy valley with room beside it for a second engine.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The Truth About Cars appears to have turned into Luddites Whining About Cars Newer Than 1965.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    When someone says “Luddite”, that usually means they lease all their cars and wouldn’t even know how to change their own oil.

  • avatar
    GoCougs

    Chasing improved real-world MPG via engine downsizing courtesy of forced induction is a boondoggle, as the legions of disappointed if not litigious F150 Ecoboost, Sonata 2.0T, etc., buyers can attest to.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    You know, you could get even more miles per gallon if you made engines have a turbo, a supercharger AND a hybrid drive train!

    Yes, let’s do that. Who cares if it adds $20,000 to the price of a new car and they have to take a 2nd mortgage out if it ever has a problem, it will save drivers $50 a year in gasoline. Win!

    Anyone who’s against this idea is either a mouthpiece for the oil companies or hates technology.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    The whole idea of twin charging seems silly to me when twin scroll turbochargers have virtually eliminated turbo lag. Anyone who has driven a modern turbocharged car with a twin scroll turbo set up knows just how quickly they build boost. So why even bother with twin charging at all?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Because even a twin-scroll turbo won’t have the boost at idle that a supercharger would. There is also the sizing issue. Sizing a turbo for low end response cuts into top end performance.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        The car I drive is a 2.0T without a twin scroll turbo and it delivers max torque (258 lb. ft.) at just 1200 rpm. It has a very flat torque curve and continues that max torque to almost 5000 rpm. With that kind of low end torque on tap, there is simply no need for a supercharger in the first place. The turbo provides plenty of boost just off idle. It also breathes well up top too.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    small displacement 4 banger super and twin turbo charged to within in inch of its life? Still better than a hybrid. I’m in.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States