Volvo was previously owned by Ford and featured their engines but the new range of D4 Drive-E 2.0-litre four cylinder diesel engines are produced at their plant in Sweden and are now fitted as standard with a six speed manual and eight speed automatic transmissions in the S60, V60, XC60, S80. V70 and XC70 models.
As a result the D4 with 181hp and manual transmission is the first diesel engine with this level of power output in the premium D-segment with CO2 emissions under 100g/km and a fuel consumption of 74.3mpg which is expected to have big appeal particularly to company car buyers because of the beneficial Benefit in Kind figures.
A Volvo official said they had created smaller more intelligent engines with power curves that provided exciting driveability compared with engines with more cylinders and the new engines will be available in all Volvo cars by the end of 2015.
Derek Crabb, Volvo’s power train boss in Sweden said the new engine was lighter than any six cylinder unit with the same power output with improved fuel economy of up to 30 per cent and greater refinement.
He added that the power produced by an engine had nothing to do with its size but was about the amount of air you can get to flow through it so if this could be done through a smaller engine there was the same amount of power but at better efficiency.
The new engines are already in big demand in the UK in particular and current lead times are stretching to four months which is double that of every other engine available within the range.
I had brief drives in the S60, S80 and V70 models with the new engine over demanding rain and sleet swept roads in the Derbyshire Peak District which provided an ideal test for the power units and the roadholding qualities of the various cars.
It was immediately apparent that the engines provided a refined and very smooth power output and that under brisk acceleration they offered the driver a very satisfying driving experience.
I drove both manual and automatic models and both systems linked well with the new engines that are set to make the Volvo range even more competitive against the opposition especially from Germany.
The three different models I drove all had top quality interiors with excellent instrumentation and handling qualities and there is the choice of two or four wheel drive.
The Chinese owners must be very pleased with the way things are going in Sweden and that their investment in the new engines will help gaurantee that Volvo cars will be much sought after in this market sector in the future.
Volvo new D4 diesel engine.
Transmissions: Six speed manual and eight speed automatic.
Models available: S60, V60, XC60 FWD, S80, V70, XC70.