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by Tim Beissmann

Volvo is developing a family of fuel-efficient three-cylinder engines to power its next generation of compact and mid-sized models.

The Swedish car maker announced that the development program for its first three-cylinder engine is “very advanced”, with prototype testing of a lightweight turbo petrol unit already underway.

Volvo Car Group powertrain vice president Michael Fleiss says the three-cylinder engine family is being developed primarily for models based on its new compact CMA architecture, such as the next-generation that’s V40 due around 2018, but would also power entry-level versions of its future 60-series medium cars, including the S60 sedan, V60 wagon and XC60 SUV.

Volvo claims the most powerful versions of the new turbo triple will produce up to 134kW – bettering the output of some rival’s four-cylinder engines.

The three-cylinder Drive-E family will also meet Euro 7 emissions targets, making it one of the most environmentally friendly powertrains on the road.

Volvo Car Group research and development senior vice president Peter Mertens says the new three-cylinder engine’s design allows it to be built on the same production lines as the company’s existing four-cylinder Drive-E engines, “offering flexible production potential which can be adapted to suit business needs as we grow”.

“This marks an important step for Volvo Cars,” Mertens said. “In terms of our power and efficiency, Volvo’s engineering excellence will shine through with the Drive-E three-cylinder engine.

Volvo’s rivals Audi and BMW have recently launched three-cylinder engines in their compact front-wheel-drive models, though fellow German marque Mercedes-Benz has previously said it won’t dip below four-cylinders for its range.




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