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by Matt Campbell

A new range of three-cylinder engines has been confirmed by Volvo, with the triples set to join the brand’s recently introduced Drive-E engine range from 2016.

A report from UK publication Autocar states Volvo will add 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged powerplants to its entry models. That means the new small-capacity units will be fitted to vehicles like the V40S60, V60 and XC60.

According to the report, Volvo will use these three-cylinder engines as a key part of its hybrid powertrain range due in the early 2020s.

Volvo Cars global powertrain chief, Derek Crabb, said a petrol three-cylinder Drive-E engine will be offered first, and suggested the application will be more limited than that seen when the four-cylinder Drive-E engines were rolled out.

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“I see it being possible in S60 but not higher,” Crabb was quoted as saying. “It’s not planned for the higher XC cars at the moment. It’s not the power. It’s more to do with the torque.”

Power and torque figures aren’t yet confirmed. However, turbocharged three-cylinder engines can offer grunt exceeding naturally-aspirated four-cylinder mills – for example, the new Mini‘s three-pot engines range between 75kW and 180Nm in the 1.2-litre One up to 100kW and 220Nm in the Cooper.

Volvo is spending plenty to ensure its offerings meet stricter emissions targets. The brand has already unveiled plans to offer a new hybrid powertrain for the next-generation XC90 SUV, with the petrol-electric, all-wheel drive T8 producing 300kW/640Nm with emissions of just 60g/km. The XC90 won’t use three-cylinder engines.

Volvo introduced the four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains to its S60, V60 and XC60 models in Australia in May, while the V40 hatch saw the new powerplants implemented in June.




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