Pop the hood on a Volvo of recent vintage and you'll find four-, five-, six- and even eight-cylinder engines. But the Swedish automaker is downsizing its engines over the coming years. The new XC90, set to be revealed later this week, will use a new family of four-cylinder engines (like the one pictured above). But that's not even the end of it as emerging reports speak of a new three-cylinder engine family in the works.

The new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine will, according to reports, help Volvo further cut its carbon emissions in line with constricting regulations in markets like Europe and Australia. There won't be quite as many versions as the four-cylinder range, which will include gasoline and diesel versions in varying states of tune, but the three-pot motor is tipped to be employed in vehicles as large as the S60 and its stablemates. Larger than that, however, and the three-cylinder engine apparently just doesn't have the necessary torque.

Expect the new three-cylinder engine to be introduced sometime later this decade, after the four-cylinder's introduction in 2016. The three-cylinder engine is also set to form the building block of an even more efficient hybrid propulsion system in the future, enabling this new engine family to stay relevant through 2025.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Months Ago

      Three-cylinder engine technology is going to become very important in the coming years as plug-in hybrid cars become more common.   GM apparently has one coming soon for the Volt 2.0.  

      And If I told you that BMW would be making a 3-cylinder supercar a few years ago, you would have called me crazy . . . but that is what the i8 is!

      • 3 Months Ago

      Honestly if it comes to driving with a tiny 3 cylinder motor with poor performance or an EV, you're going to choose the EV every time. Seriously whats the point of a combustion engine when it the size of a postage stamp and sounds like a lawnmower engine.

        • 3 Months Ago

        Well, you can get the upcoming Volt and have both.  It is a lot more than a lawnmower engine though.

      • 3 Months Ago

      BMW (Mini), ford, Volvo..... As more manufactures move to three cylinder engines to cut their emissions I see dark days ahead for enthusiasts on a budget.

      Luke Smolich
      • 3 Months Ago

      the four cylinder "Drive-E" generation has already been introduced, its currently available in the US in the XC60, S60, V60, in front wheel drive, under the "T5" designation, which is the 240hp turbo-only model.

      • 3 Months Ago

      Like it or not, this is the future. I think Volvo is headed down the right road. 3cyl hybrids and BEVs are where we are headed. I am not yet on the fuel cell train. So I think Volvo has a great plan.