Volvo cars will soon be downsizing, but not in overall dimensions. To meet tougher new emissions regulations not only in Europe but also the US and China, Volvo is developing a range of new three- and four-cylinder powerplants as part of a VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) scheme.
New engines will begin to power showroom models by 2013, replacing the existing five-cylinder petrol and diesel units as well as the more powerful six-cylinder engines offered in the more expensive models.
Volvo research and development boss Peter Mertens recently said in an Automotive News Europe report, "Before the end of the decade, all Volvo models will have engines with no more than four cylinders", reaffirming the shift to smaller, more economical units.
Volvo customers won't have to worry about the smaller engines not performing like the current six-cylinder crop though. Volvo assures those that the new powertrains will be just as powerful if not more powerful than the existing range. Mertens said,
"We will develop four-cylinder engines with higher performance than today's six-cylinder units and lower fuel consumption than the current four-cylinder generation."
As well as being more powerful, with the help of new material and construction technologies, Volvo says it will be able to save up to 90kg in weight with the new units compared with the existing range. This will help to lower fuel consumption as well as amplify performance.
Volvo expects the new engines to be around 35 per cent more fuel efficient than the existing range. The new plan will also coincide with Volvo's aim to step away from a reliance on Ford engines.