Despite an engine downsizing push at Volvo that has seen the company's previous in-line five and six cylinder engines nixed, the company has no plans to downsize any further with its large cars.
Speaking to TMR at the local launch of the XC90 SUV, the company confirmed it isn’t preparing to put its turbocharged 135kW 1.5 litre three cylinder engine in anything bigger than an S60.
According to Lars Lagström, product manager for Volvo’s ‘90 cluster’ vehicles, that engine is too small for its largest cars, including the newly launched XC90 and the coming S90 sedan and V90 wagon - not even as part of a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Tightening fuel consumption and emissions targets around the globe have led the push to smaller powertrains. Last year the company revealed that, although primarily designed for the V40, the 1.5 litre engine would also be offered in the upcoming S60 and V60.
But speaking to TMR at the recent XC90 launch, Lars Lagström, Volvo’s ‘90 cluster’ product manager though it unlikely that the coming three-cylinder would find its way into the Swedish automaker’s large vehicle range.
“We have already a 1.5 litre, three cylinder engine that we will see in the smaller cars, with a smaller power range.” Mr Lagström said.
“You will never see three cylinder in the 90 - they are too big. It might be in a hybrid, but I don’t see it in that car because you end up too close to the 60 series.”
Using the engine as a point of difference between models will help Volvo create clear boundaries between its offerings. With both 60 and 90 vehicles based off the same platform and with similar safety equipment, that distinction will be an important one for the brand.
Although confident at this stage about the three-cylinder engine’s position in its range. Volvo could be forced by ever tightening emissions regulations to change its lineup in the future.
The modular design of the Drive-E engine range allows both three and four cylinder engines to be built on the same assembly lines, helping to reduce overheads.