Big V-8 engines are “dinosaurs.” Long live the four-cylinder. If that’s not Volvo goading traditional power-hungry drivers on, we don’t know what is.
We’ve known for some time that the Swedish automaker was abandoning five-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines in favor of turbocharged four-cylinders and hybrids. Today, Volvo made its first announcement on what it calls its Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA), a proprietary engine that moves away from Ford-sourced parts. Launching this fall in a new diesel engine is a technology it calls i-ART, which has a pressure sensor in each of the four cylinders instead of one in the diesel’s “common rail” fuel distributor. That helps Volvo improve fuel economy, lower emissions, and improve power.
Along with VEA, the company will also have a new eight-speed automatic transmission that will be used for front- and all-wheel-drive applications.
Volvo says, “Several levels of turbo charging open up for the flexibility to cover the whole range from fuel-efficient derivatives through to high power and torque variants. In order to cover all customer requirements, certain engines will also gain added performance via electrification or other spearhead technology.”
Derek Crab, vice president of Volvo powertrain development said in a statement: “We will create smaller, more intelligent engines with so much power that they will turn V-8s into dinosaurs. Our four-cylinder engines will offer higher performance than today’s six-cylinder units and lower fuel consumption than the current four-cylinder generation. On top of that, electrification will bring us up into power figures in today’s V-8-territory.”
Both technologies will be launching this fall in what we expect will be the 2015 Volvo XC90, the first vehicle to undergo a full redesign without Ford assistance. Late last decade, Ford sold Volvo to China’s Geely Automobile. Since then, it has run fairly autonomously, but it has suffered sales declines without too many new products to offer. At the Geneva Motor Show and New York Auto Show, Volvo showed off refreshed versions of most of its lineup, and it introduced the 2014 Volvo V60, a wagon version of the S60. It’s expected to go on sale in the U.S. early next year and likely won’t be among the first recipients of the eight-speed automatic transmission or VEA powertrain.