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Volvo's Drive-E engines land in Australia

Fuel for love: The 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine cuts fuel consumption from 6.9L/100km to 4.9L/100km in the Volvo XC60 SUV.

New-gen Volvo Drive-E petrol and diesel engines add performance and cut fuel use

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Volvo logo8 May 2014

VOLVO has started the roll out of its highly anticipated Drive-E range of small capacity fuel-efficient engines in Australia, promising better performance and economy from in its mid-size passenger and SUV range.

Initially, Volvo Car Australia will offer a pair of four-cylinder turbocharged Drive-E engines in Australia – one petrol and one diesel – that will sit under the bonnet of its S60/V60 mid-size sedan and wagon and the XC60 SUV.

The inclusion of the T5 petrol and D4 diesel engines has improved the performance figures for each model while reducing fuel consumption significantly.

Volvo's new 2.0-litre T5 four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit produces 180kW at 5500rpm and 350Nm between 1500 and 4800rpm, which is up by 3kW/30Nm over the outgoing 2.0-litre unit.

The engine features the same power output for each of the models it is used in but performance figures vary depending on body-style.

In the S60 sedan, the zero to 100km/h sprint time has dropped from 7.5 seconds to 6.3 seconds, while the V60 wagon with the same T5 petrol unit is 1.3-seconds quicker over the same distance, down from 7.7 to 6.4 seconds.

Volvo points out that the figures for the S60 eclipse those of its competitors including the Mercedes-Benz C250 (7.3) and Audi A42.0 TFSI (6.5), while also beating the BMW 320i (7.3 seconds).

The heavier XC60 SUV is naturally a little slower off the mark but is still an improvement over the previous T5 engine with a 0-100km/h time of 7.2 seconds, an improvement of 1.3 seconds from 8.5.

Volvo has cut fuel use significantly with the new T5 petrol, most notably in the S60 which has dropped from 8.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle to 6.4L/100km. The V60 wagon is also more frugal with a new figure of 6.8L/100km down from 8.7L/100km, while the XC60 is 1.1L more efficient with a new figure of 7.0L/100km.

The Swedish-built S60 might be less thirsty than the aforementioned Mercedes C250 (6.8L) and Audi A4 (6.8L), but it can't match the BMW 320i (6.3L).

The new 2.0-litre D4 diesel pumps out 133kW at 4250rpm and 400Nm from 1750 to 2500Nm marking a 13kW increase, while torque remains the same as the engine it replaces.

Racing from a standing start to 100km/h is now 1.8 seconds quicker in the XC60 D4 with a new time of 8.5 seconds. The S60's 0-100km/h time is down from 9.2 to 7.4 seconds, while the V60 now takes 7.6 seconds, down from 9.4.

The D4 is in its most frugal guise in the S60 where it sips an impressive 4.2L/100km (down from 5.9L), while in the V60 it consumes 4.5L – an improvement over the previous engine's figure of 6.0L and the XC60 is 1.9L more efficient at 4.9L/100km.

Again, the S60 undercuts its diesel German rivals, such as the Mercedes-Benz C200 CDI (5.4L), the Audi A4 2.0 TDI (4.8L) and the BMW 320d (4.6L).

The D4 diesel unit features “i-Art” technology which means each injector has an intelligent chip that keeps an eye on injection pressure. The system then ensure the right amount of fuel is injected for each combustion cycle.

Both the T5 and D4 are matched with a new eight-speed Adaptive Geartronic automatic transmission that Volvo says improves the calibration between the engine and transmission which helps reduce gearshift response time by up to 50 per cent for better fuel consumption.

Volvo's switch in powertrains brings with it a $900 price increase on T5 and D4 powered variants of the S60, V60 and XC60. Pricing for T4, T6 and D5 variants remain unchanged.

The S60 D4 is now priced from $56,890 plus on-road costs in base Kinetic trim and $61,890 for the more generously specified Luxury, while the V60 adds another $1000 to those prices for the wagon body-style. T5 versions of the XC60 now start at $57,890 in Kinetic guise and ramp up to $62,890 for the Luxury.

The engines have been in development for some time now, with the Geely-owned Swedish brand confirming plans back in 2011 with what it was then calling the new Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA).

In Europe, the S80 large sedan and XC70 crossover wagon are available with the new D4 powertrains, however Australian-spec versions of these cars will continue on with larger capacity petrol and diesel engines.

The Drive-E engine family is expected to expand in the coming years with powertrains likely to end up powering the next-generation XC90 SUV that is set to debut by the end of this year.

Volvo launched mid-life updates for the S60, V60 and the XC60 in October last year, but the company said at the time it was unable to source the new engines until the first half of 2014.

2014 Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 pricing*
S60
T4 Kinetic (a)$49,990
T4 Luxury (a)$54,990
D4 Kinetic (a)$56,890 (+$900)
D4 Luxury (a)$61,890 (+$900)
T5 Luxury (a)$59,890 (+$900)
T5 R-Design (a)$63,890 (+$900)
T6 R-Design (a)$71,990
V60
T5 Kinetic (a)$55,890 (+$900)
D4 Kinetic (a)$57,890 (+$900)
D4 Luxury (a)$62,890 (+$900)
T5 Luxury (a)$60,890 (+$900)
T5 R-Design (a)$64,890 (+$900)
T6 R-Design (a)$72,990
XC60
T5 Kinetic (a)$57,890 (+$900)
D4 Kinetic (a)$59,890 (+$900)
T5 Luxury (a)$62,890 (+$900)
D4 Luxury (a)$64,890 (+$900)
D5 Luxury (a)$69,990
D5 R-Design (a)$73,990
T6 Luxury (a)$74,990
T6 R-Design (a)$78,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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