The R&D Folks at Volvo have Some Big Plans

06.26.16 - 2016 Volvo XC90

Volvo has been a company that has turned into a successful reinvention project over the past several years. First of all the company has always been known as one of the safest car companies in the world and has led the way when it comes to safety. The old school of thought about buying a Volvo was an admiration for the safety offered even if the actual look and feel of the vehicle left a lot more to be desired that you would want. The secure feeling has had more of us looking to Volvo for the care of our families than for exciting driving and style.

While Volvo has been successful as the safety leader many other companies have caught up to the safety offered and the brand needed to change their style from the boxy and clunky looks they previously offered to one of style and design. This took place only a few short years ago as the company remade nearly the entire lineup to give us vehicles that are attractive and engaging to drive while also offering the advanced safety we have come to expect from any vehicle that Volvo stamps their name on.

Once the safety and the style pieces had fallen into place and sales were once again on the rise Volvo took a hard look at their engine offerings to see what they could do to make a more powerful but still fuel efficient engine. While most other manufacturers were using only turbocharging or only supercharging, Volvo chose to do both to their four-cylinder engine. The result is an engine that is able to easily handle the challenges of a large SUV such as the XC90 but can also be used in other vehicles for other purposes. With this new engine as part of their plan Volvo has set out to see what they can get out of the engine.

The new goal for the R&D folks is to find 600 horsepower from the engine. Mind you, this engine is nothing more than a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that has both the turbocharging and supercharging added. Normally an engine this small wouldn’t even warrant a mention, but this beauty can reach 450 horsepower on its own, which means there would have to be 150 more added from somewhere else in order for this new powertrain to reach the 600 horsepower mark.

Currently the electric motor that is used in the T8 plug-in hybrid can produce 87 horsepower, leaving only a few more to go in order to create the powertrain desired. If this motor is upgraded to produce the 150 horsepower needed then Volvo may need to start looking at adding a performance only model to the lineup for us to enjoy and admire. As it stands the purpose of this new powertrain is to be the propulsion system for the performance tuning division of Volvo which is called Polestar and have this drivetrain placed in the new S90 and V90 to give us a pair of absolute power monsters to enjoy.

The amazing part of reaching this mark is that the two 90 models from Volvo would have similar power outputs to the M and AMG models from rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The biggest difference being the fact the Volvo engine is only four-cylinders and much lighter in weight than the German makes. This would actually put Volvo ahead of the others because this engine will be more fuel efficient and make use of a hybrid powertrain for added power to be delivered by the drivetrain directly to the wheels on the ground.

Will Volvo reach this mark and be able to make the engine and electric motor produce 600 horsepower combined? I think they certainly can pull it off, considering they aren’t very far off at all right now. It would be cool to see a pair of Polestar performance vehicles on the road that can tear up the track and beat an M car or an AMG model by using nothing more than a four-cylinder engine. Of course that four-cylinder engine has the equivalent of steroids attached to it to boost its power output.

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