2015 Volvo XC90 T8 chassis

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.
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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.