By on December 12, 2014

Volvo 3-Cylinder Family

Volvo unveiled its new Drive-E three-cylinder engine Thursday, with prototype testing already underway.

The engine was developed in-house, and is considered “a natural next step in Volvo’s strategy of downsizing.” Horsepower and torque are unknown at this time.

Per powertrain vice president Michael Fleiss, the new Drive-E is being developed alongside Volvo’s CMA architecture, and will also power Volvo’s 60 Series with a little help from turbocharging. R&D senior vice president Dr. Peter Mertens adds the engine “can be built on the same production lines” as the four-cylinder Drive-E engines, providing “flexible production potential” as needed.

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19 Comments on “Volvo Unveils New Drive-E Three-Cylinder...”

  • avatar

    …i can see the integral turbocharger, but is the mini-drive-E not twinned with an integral supercharger as well?..tiny little thing; i imagine it may drive nicely, regardless…

    …ah, i see now that only the T6 is slated for twin-charging, not the T3/4/5; my mistake…

  • avatar

    “a natural next step in Volvo’s strategy of downsizing.”

    I totally agree. Downsizing engines, sales, reliability, desirability, luxury, refinement. All of those gotta go.

    • 0 avatar

      Well after 10,000 km my 2012 S80 has been perfectly reliable and feels, to me, very luxurious in a Scandinavian way. And from what I read on the boards the car in general is pretty rock solid. Now would I pay 60 thousand for one? No. But I didn’t pay that. So I am happy.

      • 0 avatar

        With respect, 10km isn’t enough time to declare something perfectly reliable or not, unless we’re talking Yugo.

        • 0 avatar

          I should have been more specific. 10,000 KM since it came into my possession. 24,000 KM total. And going 10,000 KM without a problem is way better than my G8 ever managed to do.

          Plus there are lots of people online with more then 100,000 miles without any major repairs. This is pretty reliable.

          • 0 avatar

            @MPAVictoria – this is just funny. You talking 24K KM, which is 15K miles. I drive that in 1 year. The car I just sold, Mazda Protege with 1.8L 4cyl, had its first problem @ 130K miles – we’re talking 208,000KM. And even then, I replaced couple of pieces of exhaust pipe. Much later I only replaced A/c compressor and alternator and sold it with 312,000 KM. The engine in this car was like a clock. My friend during the same period bought Jetta, Volvo V60 and Maxima, while I just drove my Mazda.

            2012 S80 is ancient car in every way. Volvo’s powertrains were bad. They really needed these new engines. Time will show if they needed these engines or different ones. But some studies show that small engines are overwork and set for failures because of that. I personally would prefer normal 2.4L 170HP engine to any 3cyl with turbo and more HP.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Just curious, what do you think was Volvo’s best era?

      I’m asking because you mention engines, luxury and refinement, which weren’t high points during the most common Volvo-nostalgia era (240DL).

      If anything, the Drive-E engines are the best Volvo has ever offered, by a long shot. But they’ve never been an engine brand.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m gonna say their best point was after the 240 era, and before the FWD era. They still had RWD, and had not been too cost-cut by Ford yet. It’s a short time span.

      • 0 avatar

        “The Drive-E engines are the best Volvo has ever offered, by a long shot”

        Their specifications would suggest so but basing your opinions on specs only is rather unwise. There are numerous examples of engines that looked good on paper but were horrible in practice (VW in particular had a fair share of them – 1.4TSI, early 2.0 TDI, 2.5TDI V6). I think it’s far too soon to say how good they really are, unless you are speaking from the perspective of a 3-year lease-and-discard customer but it’s a pretty low bar to set, isn’t it?
        The example of Toyota and Honda vs the competitors shows that while waging spec wars can bring you short term success, it is unlikely to be a viable long term strategy, and that is exactly what Volvo desperately needs.
        And when the memories of the last, durable 240s and 740s fade from the collective psyche, Volvo will become just another service-queen brand, only it will not have enough cachet left to pull it off in a way that BMW and Audi can.

        I drive a Volvo, my mother and father drive Volvos exclusively, so did my late grandfather, and I know another family that drives only Volvos as well. The first and foremost reason for our loyalty to the brand was the reputation for durability (proven right in every case). If that disappears, there would be very little left that would persuade us to buy a Volvo over a competitor’s product.

    • 0 avatar

      The Volvo press release said the 3 cyl will produce up to 180 HP, and can be mated to an electric engine (80HP?) with the new CMA architecture. As for refinement and power with the new Drive E 4-banger, Hooniverse had a great comment about the T6 on the S60;

      “The trend to change to smaller (displacement and cylinder-count) force-fed engines has been going on for some time. Unfortunately a lot of times those new powertrains are disappointing (I won’t name any names *cough* BMW *cough*), lacking in low-end power, being slow to respond, and not all that fuel efficient. NOT THE T6. It powers off the line with no delay and keeps pulling to the redline. It is a very responsive and a genuinely fun powertrain, and the little sedan feels damn fast. A quick look at the numbers reveals that the horsepower-to-weight ratio of the S60 T6 is somewhere between the Subaru WRX and the BMW 335i.”

  • avatar

    Grinds meats, nuts, coffee and anything else your imagination can supply!

  • avatar

    Don’t tell me those are rubber hoses clamped to rigid pipes right next to the exhaust manifold? A single exhaust port for 3 cylinders … is that a good thing?

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I think that the exhaust manifold is cast into the cylinder head (and liquid cooled). That’s a common feature for many new engines. The single exhaust port that you see is after the manifold and goes to the exhaust turbine.

  • avatar

    We’re Volvo and we do whatever the hell we want!
    Rwd brown diesel station wagon manual, did that.
    5 cylinder transverse mount turbo awd? Did that.
    Adding a supercharger to a pair of turbos? Why the hell not.
    Tiny 3 cyl in a 4000 lb car? Damn right.
    They may not be known for their engines but they sure got balls for making some of the strangest ones around.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps you’re not up on the latest 3 cylinder engines. Volvo is about fourth to introduce them, so they’re hardly strange.

      The MINI has the new BMW 3 cylinder, nobody complains about it. All the new FWD BMWs will feature the three, and the i8 sportscar uses it as well, and it’s well over $100K.

      Displacement is what matters, not cylinder count. Most new Fusions are sold with a 1.5 liter turbo 4, so I’d expect the BMW 1.5 turbo 3 and this new Volvo equivalent will both turn out to be nicer long term than the Fusion 4, because they’re quite a bit more modern in basic design. GM Opel is also making 3 cylinder engines, not to mention the Ford 1.0 liter. It’s the trend.

      It’s hardly the end of the world. The 4 cylinder Volvo version of this engine has been praised on this site, so the 3 will no doubt be good as well. Volvo also makes a lot of cars that weigh nowhere near 4000 lbs that this engine is likely to motivate.

      • 0 avatar

        And let’s not forget, Volvo will soon be making a 450HP 4-banger. It’ll be in Volvos fairly quickly. I can’t wait.

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