UPDATE: An earlier version of this post indicated that the larger of the conventional diesel engines was a five-cylinder. However all three powertrains announced for the upcoming new XC90 are actually four-cylinder engines. The text has been updated accordingly.

Volvo rolled in to new territory when it introduced the original XC90 back in 2002, creating its first SUV and one of its top-selling models. But that was 12 years ago. In the meantime it's followed up with the smaller XC60, but what the brand faithful and the industry at large have been looking forward to most is the arrival of the new XC90.

Previewed by the Concept XC Coupe at the Detroit Auto Show, the new XC90 is set to arrive later this year, but to keep us on our toes, the Swedish automaker has been steadily trickling out a stream of information and photos. Two months ago it gave us a glimpse inside the cabin, and last month it revealed its new infotainment system, but now Volvo has released details on the upcoming new XC90's powertrain.

While the previous XC90 was available with a V8 engine furnished by Yamaha, the new model won't be available with eight cylinders. Not even six. No, what Volvo has announced for its new flagship SUV is a highly potent four-cylinder engine that uses every trick in the book to optimize both fuel efficiency and performance.

The top-of-the-line XC90 T8 will employ a 2.0-liter four with both supercharger and turbocharger and mated to a plug-in hybrid assist to deliver a whopping 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. The dual-charged Drive-E engine optimizes power delivery across the range and drives the front wheels, while the rear wheels are driven by an 80-hp electric motor for a purely electric range of 25 miles or through-the-road all-wheel drive capabilities.

The XC90 will also be offered with less advanced and less potent engines, at least overseas, including a four-cylinder turbodiesel with 190 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a five-cylinder turbodiesel with 225 hp and 347 lb-ft. Scope out all the details in the press release below.
Show full PR text
VOLVO CARS' ALL-NEW XC90 WILL BE THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL AND CLEANEST SUV

- All-wheel drive, seven seats and ultra-low emissions of around 60g/km
- Up to 400 hp and 640 Nm of torque
- New Volvo-developed Twin Engine technology

Volvo Cars' all-new XC90 will offer an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation when it is launched later this year. The all-wheel drive seven seater offers drivers up to 400 horsepower but with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). There has never been an SUV offering this level of power this cleanly.

"There are no compromises when you drive an all-new XC90," said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. "In the past you could either have power or low CO2 emissions. But with the all-new XC90 you can have both."

The new XC90 offers a range of Drive-E engine options, all of which provide an outstanding combination of performance and fuel-efficiency. The main distinguishing feature of the Drive-E engine range is that they are all four-cylinder engines.

"With our new Drive-E powertrains, we have created a family of intelligent petrol and diesel engines with power curves that give exciting driveability at the same time as delivering world-beating fuel economy," added Dr. Mertens. "With seven people in the new XC90, carbon dioxide emissions per person and kilometre are outstandingly low."

The CO2 performance of the all-new XC90 will reinforce Volvo Cars' leadership when it comes to bringing more environmentally-sound technologies to market. According to figures monitored by European car industry association ACEA, Volvo Car Group delivered an industry-leading reduction of average fleet emissions by 8.4 per cent from 2012 to 2013.

Twin Engine technology

Volvo has made it possible for a four-cylinder engine to provide all the driving pleasure associated with a much larger engine and do so far more efficiently and cleanly. Drive-E engines will over time be introduced across Volvo's entire range.

For the all-new XC90, the top of the range 'Twin Engine' will carry the badge 'T8' and be a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one.

Normal driving is conducted in the default hybrid mode. This utilises a two-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E petrol engine that powers the front wheels and an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

It uses the supercharger to fill in the bottom end of the power range to give the engine a big, naturally-aspirated feel, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up. The electric motor on the rear wheels provides immediate torque.

But at the push of a button the driver can switch to quiet and emission-free city driving on pure electric power where the range will be around 25 miles, and then, when needed, immediately revert back to the combined capacity of the petrol engine and electric motor, with its combined output of around 400 hp and 640 Nm of torque.

Full range of other engine options

The Volvo XC90 range also includes the D5 twin turbo diesel engine with 225 hp, 470 Nm and best in class fuel consumption of around 47mpg (combined), plus the D4 turbo diesel engine with 190 hp, 400 Nm and a fuel consumption of around 56mpg (combined cycle).

Not only is there no compromise in terms of performance or efficiency, but Volvo Cars' new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis technology also allows for far more flexibility inside the car. Other carmakers have struggled to combine the bulk of a battery pack with a luxurious and spacious interior, something that Volvo has managed to overcome.

"Since our new SPA technology is designed from the start to accommodate electrification technologies, the Twin Engine installation does not compromise luggage or passenger space," said Dr. Mertens.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      Hernan
      • 5 Months Ago
      I live in an apartment, nowhere to plug in. I am (was?) seriously looking forward to possibly buying the new XC90 but this makes it impossible. A hybrid that doesn't need plugging in would be fine, but honestly a turbo v6 was what I was thinking.
        mikeybyte1
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Hernan
        They will offer non-PHEV models as well. So hopefully the base engine options will be strong and fuel efficient. Look what they did with the S60 and V60. The entry engine is great.
        BipDBo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Hernan
        A PHEV makes it easier to own a plug-in than a pure EV at least. With a PHEV, it's more practical to use a standard outlet and standard cord. This might still not be an option for you, but it's a lot more likely to happen than getting your own dedicated spot with a charging station.
        skoobey
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Hernan
        There will be a classic hybrid available, possibly a diesel, as there will be one for the rest of the world.
      Justin Shaw
      • 5 Months Ago
      I wish that they would hold onto to inline5. They've done more to advance that engine than anyone else.
      goodoldgorr
      • 5 Months Ago
      Who need a vehicule that big with 400??? horsepower. I have a dodge neon 2005 5 speed manual and I can do whatever that monstruous truck do. That truck probably receive subsidies because it has a battery. I do more mpg even without a battery and battery are polluting and can't be recyclate. The state is doing disaster with costly subsidies that do not displace petrol, me I do it for free. It's the rich that collect these subsidies and they pay for themselves deluxe powerful vehicle like these heavy teslas that do a lot of damage on the roads.
        xder345
        • 5 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Clearly what the world needs is to stop making all vehicles and just make the 2005 Neon forever. In the future, all cars are Neons.
        Joey
        • 5 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        You are comparing a $50K SUV to a Dodge Neon? Lol. BTW XC90 will dust your Neon while polluting much less (60 g/km CO2). And Li-ion cells are recyclable: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/mythbusters-part-3-recycling-our-non-toxic-battery-packs
        purrpullberra
        • 5 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Plenty of people recyclate their batteries. I absolutely love that word. Thank you. But you're still mildly insane. :-)
      Car Guy
      • 5 Months Ago
      Supercharger, turbocharger, and EV system? I could only imagine the repair costs on the powertrain once thing thing is out of warranty.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 5 Months Ago
      sounds really expensive to repair, and I bet fuel economy in the real world will be abysmal, as with most of these "lets stuff a tiny turbo engine in a huge vehicle"
        Hoale
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        I was thinking the same...it will be interesting to see how reliable these cars are.
      stevenh
      • 5 Months Ago
      sounds expensive to repair
      BipDBo
      • 5 Months Ago
      I think that this PHEV technology really has the potential to pull the rug out from under Tesla. Especially so in this case, where it offers AWD and 400 hp, Compare it to a Tesla X. The Volvo will likely be a bit cheaper but has the same power and AWD capabilities. You could do all or at least most of your daily commuting on electric power and have no constraints or worries on longer distance travel. Sure, 25 miles is not a lot of rage, but just adding a bit more battery to this PHEV backbone could give you 50 miles of daily electric range, enough so that the average user only really burns gas on road trips and when they want to drag race or need AWD. If they had a bigger battery, and more powerful motor, the engine would be used less often and it could be something cheaper, simpler, and less powerful, like an NA Atkinson.
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        @ BipDBo --"The Volvo will likely be a bit cheaper but has the same power and AWD capabilities" --"where it offers AWD and 400 hp," BMW tried that with their i8.... guess what... on paper you can imagine any price you like... the reality of stuffing various, innovative drive trains together... makes it very costly.
          BipDBo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Apples vs oranges. The i8 is a purpose built high end sportscar with a unique carbon fibre chassis. This is a drivetrain to go into an existing vehicle, shared with conventional ICE drivetrains. The current MSRP for a XC90 starts at $36,444 and goes up to $52,410 for the top trim. The Truecar take home price is around $5k off of those prices. Volvo might add $10-15K, maybe even as much as $20K (I'd be shocked) for this PHEV version, but it's not likely to be any where near a six figure car.
        PeterScott
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        25 miles is likely on NEDC, it is probably more like 18 miles on EPA. So "more backbone" isn't going to get you 50 miles of EV range. Really this is Rube Goldberg levels of complexity. If you are into leasing this might be an OK choice, but I wouldn't buy anything this complex.
          BipDBo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @PeterScott
          I think that you're over estimating the weight increase by a significant margin. All of the components on the electric side such as controllers, motors, cooling systems, rear gearbox and drive axles, etc would be roughly the same weight and physical size with only a pretty small increases to handle higher output. The significant weight addition would be in battery cells. With current cells, a high estimate is about 15 lbs per kw*hr. It would take around 15 kw*hr (conservatively high estimate) to double the electric range, so that's an increase of 225lbs. The electric side of your drivetrain just doubled in power, so now your gas side of the drivetrain can become less powerful, smaller, lighter and cheaper. The total increase in vehicle curb weight to double the electric range would not be huge.
          BipDBo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @PeterScott
          By backbone, I'm talking about the design, the engineering, the R&D of the entire PHEV system. For more electric range, you simply scale up the electric side of the system, which could allow you to scale down a bit on the gas side of the system. That's the cool thing about PHEV, it's very tailorable.
      dacelbot
      • 5 Months Ago
      Finally, someone's doing plug in hybrid SUVs. I've been begging for that for years now - big vehicles like trucks, SUVs and minivans are where you most need the mileage and emissions improvements, and they have the most room for batteries. If a Civic gets 49 instead of 38 mpg, it doesn't make that huge of a difference, but if a Tundra say could get 27 instead of 17 mpg that would be outstanding
        Koenigsegg
        • 5 Months Ago
        @dacelbot
        SUVs suck
        dacelbot
        • 5 Months Ago
        @dacelbot
        GM was the first with their hybrid Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade, but it was always a mild hybrid so it didn't make a very large improvement + they priced it extremely high and now they've discontinued them.
          Naturenut99
          • 5 Months Ago
          @dacelbot
          The Tahoe etc wasn't mild hybrid. Their "Two-mode" was full hybrid. It was the Malibu that was a mild hybrid. They priced it too high and didn't do enough to raise the mpg for people to consider it worthwhile.
      mikeybyte1
      • 5 Months Ago
      I think the turnaround at Volvo is amazing. It seems like in less than a year or so they have gone from just a niche near-luxury offering known for safety, to being a leader in design, infotainment, and powertrains. I love the new V60 wagon with the base 4cyl. Tons of power and great MPG. They seem to be going full speed ahead into the PHEV arena. Doubling down on 4cyl and 4cyl+EV seems like a very smart choice. It will help differentiate them in the marketplace. And I love the new styling direction they are going in. Looking forward to seeing the new XC90 as well as their other models being revamped with all of this new style and tech. A year from now they should have a very strong presence in the marketplace, offering a lot of PHEV vehicles.
        SethG
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Turnaround? Look at their sales numbers. They are dropping like a rock. Volvo, in the US at least, has become a marginal player. They sold fewer cars last month than Mitsubishi. They are in Porsche territory. They are in Fiat territory and Fiat barely has 2 models to sell. They are behind Lincoln! Volvo's sales have been tanking for years. I happen to like some of their products and look forward to the XC90 but this is a company that is hoping that the turnaround will come.
          mikeybyte1
          • 5 Months Ago
          @SethG
          I did not mean in sales volumes. I meant in the direction they are going. So far all they have released is the newly revised base 4 cylinder in 2 vehicles. And that was only in the last few months. The XC90 is really the true start of the big change in direction. Give them time to revamp the rest of the lineup and I think they will see big increases in sales.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Yea, and lot of the hype has come from the cult following of the old Volvo station wagons in recent years that has brought new interest in the brand, plus Irv Gordon hitting the Guinness world record last year for the most miles (3 million) driven on a non-commercial vehicle. I personally own two and never in my wildest dreams thought I'd buy one, but I'm hooked. They are great cars.
      danfred311
      • 5 Months Ago
      Mistake to maintain emphasis on the combustion engine. Shows gross incompetence in their thinking. Much too conventional thinking. Similarly mindless aerodynamics and weight no doubt.
      skoobey
      • 5 Months Ago
      If they nail the exterior like they did with previous version, they'll have nothing to worry about. I am a bit concerned about the interior luxury level compared to BMWs and Audis. Also, reliability issues? It's a Volvo, people. My entire family is driving what many consider "unreliable" brands, and we had no major issues even though some vehicles have entered their second decade, so give it a rest.
      waetherman
      • 5 Months Ago
      Really? The "brand faithful" have been clamoring for an XC90 update? I consider myself one of those fans of Volvo, having learned to drive on one and had one as a family car for many decades. But I always considered the XC90 an abomination, an excessive vehicle in every regard, and not very comely either. Not even charmingly homely, as Volvos of the past have been. The new powertrain is a move in the right direction, since fuel efficiency was one of my biggest objections to those cars in the past, but a lot more has to change than just the engine to change my mind about the XC90.
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