Currently undergoing development, the new Drive-E three-cylinder engine is part of a concerted effort on the Swedish automaker's behalf to downsize its engine lineup. So where it used to offer five, six and even eight-cylinder engines, now it's focusing on inline-fours and three-pots.
Volvo powertrain chief Michael Fleiss says the new three-cylinder engine will be "highly responsive, compact and powerful," and will be offered in a variety of outputs ranging all the way up to 180 horsepower. That may not be quite as impressive as the 450 hp it's managed to squeeze out of a four-pot with a supercharger, turbocharger and hybrid assist, but it's pretty solid for a three-cylinder engine. It's certainly more than the inline-threes in the Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper, Smart Fortwo or Mitsubishi Mirage can offer – or for that matter those in the Opel Adam or Audi A1 – though it naturally couldn't keep up with the 362 horses produced by the high-performance hybrid three in the BMW i8, of course.
With that kind of power on offer, the new three-pot is slated to motivate models based on the CMA architecture which Volvo is co-developing with parent company Geely and will underpin the upcoming 40 series (including a new S40 sedan, V40 wagon and XC40 crossover), but will also be offered in the 60 Series (S60, V60 and XC60).
- New 3-cylinder engine developed by Volvo Cars in Sweden
- Volvo's next step in its impressive Drive-E powertrain program
- Broad range of performance levels up to around 180 hp
Volvo Cars today confirms its production program to develop a lightweight 3-cylinder petrol engine. The engine, wholly developed in Sweden, will join the class-leading 4-cylinder Drive-E engines in displaying Volvo's engineering prowess and commitment to efficient power.
"We have come a long way in the last few years at Volvo. Investments from our parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, have enabled us to recapture our position as a leader in the field of powertrain engineering. The development program for the new 3-cylinder engine is very advanced and we have already begun prototype testing of the unit," says Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo has a long history of developing its own unique 6, 5 and 4-cylinder engines and in-house expertise. The move to include a 3-cylinder in Volvo's engine program is a natural next step in Volvo's strategy of downsizing. The application of class-leading technology and analysis techniques enables more power and better fuel economy from smaller displacement internal combustion engines than ever before.
"We have learned a lot from the development of our 4-cylinder Drive-E engines and translated this into a highly responsive, compact and powerful premium-quality 3-cylinder engine. The engine is being developed primarily with our new CMA architecture in mind but will also provide power for our 60 Series cars thanks to Volvo's advanced turbo technologies, while also meeting Euro 7 emission targets," says Michael Fleiss, Vice President Powertrain at Volvo Car Group.
Built with a keen eye on the future, the new Drive-E 3-cylinder engine is designed to support several different applications, in-line with the growing demand for a real-world blend of performance and efficiency.
"The beauty of the new 3-cylinder engine we are developing is that it can be built on the same production lines as our 4-cylinder engine, offering flexible production potential which can be adapted to suit business needs as we grow. This marks an important step forward for Volvo Cars. In terms of our power and efficiency, Volvo's engineering excellence will shine through with the Drive-E 3-cylinder engine," concludes Dr. Mertens.