By on January 6, 2012

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.

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9 Comments on “Future Volvos Powered By Turbocharged Modular 4-Cylinders...”

  • avatar

    not quite sure how the rotary club is going to take this, but the mom’s might like the “whoosh” sound anyway.

  • avatar

    The T5 in the wife’s ’08 Volvo C30 is a good engine (so far), its smooth, lag-free but yeah the MPG aren’t that great. I blame the weight of the car but maybe Volvo just doesn’t tune their turbos for MPG.

  • avatar

    Teens to mid-20’s for fuel economy in a small turbo? I hope that’s the worst as it gets with an XC with awd and fully equipped Thule.

  • avatar

    Volvo hasn’t implemented Direct Injection yet (DI engines generally get better fuel economy) and Mercedes took a while to do it too. There have been some serious concerns of durability issues due to heavy fuel dilution of oils in DI engines causing premature break down of even the best synthetic oils. Of course cost of implementing DI is a major factor too. However the lower maintenance cost and generally purchase price of a Volvo will make up for the superior fuel economy you might get in a VAG product, BMW or Mercedes.

    If you plan on keeping your car long term a Direct Injection engine may not be what you want.

    • 0 avatar

      I try to keep up on technical matters, and have never heard of oil dilution problems with DI engines.

      Can you provide a trustworthy source for this assertion?

      The problem with DI engines documented so far is poor exhaust gas recirculation design, due to penny-pinching, particularly at VW, leading to sludging and carbon deposits on the back of intake valves, because manufacturers have avoided putting proper air/oil separators on the exhaust gas feed back into the intake manifold.

      The new BMW 4 cylinder N20 turbo engine takes this phenomenon into account, as does the new Subaru FA engine going into the upcoming Scion FRS. These two water cool the recirculated gas and attempt to get oil out of it before it pollutes the intake manifolds and valves.

      Gasoline dilution of the oil is unlikely in a DI engine because of the extremely complete combustion of the injected fuel, even on cold startup.

      Nonetheless, I’m all ears if you can provide definitive research links that DI engines dilute oil for some reason.

      • 0 avatar

        Edit to add that crankcase ventilation air oil separation is as important as treating exhaust gas recirculation. Both streams get fed back into the intake manifold, and both are addressed in new engine designs. There are literally dozens of SAE papers on these twin subjects, so no excuse for engine designers to hide behind.

  • avatar

    How premature is the oil dilution? Would it mark a return to 3K oil changes? Or even less?

    I am glad Volvo is finally trying to improve MPG, it has been a long time coming. Still it would be nice to get a Volvo diesel here in the US. It seems a natural to me, those great seats and diesel range, 18 gallon tank – please Volvo just do it!

  • avatar

    every time they claim 30% fuel efficiency improvement, I want to see the actual MPG numbers in a real car.

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