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The main components of the new Drive E 3-cylinder engine

Volvo Cars today launched its new 3-cylinder Drive-E powertrain in the XC40, the company’s first entry into the compact SUV segment. The new powertrain is the first 3-cylinder engine in the company’s 91-year history.

The petrol engine, which has a 1.5-litre displacement and direct injection, was developed in-house using the same modular design as Volvo’s 4-cylinder Drive-E engines. Output numbers have not been revealed but previous information has indicated that the engineers are aiming for 180+ bhp (with turbocharging) and up to 200 Nm of torque.

Customers can only have a manual 6-speed transmission during 2018 but an automatic 8-speed transmission will be available as well in 2019. In line with Volvo Cars’ strategy to continue improving economies of scale, the engine will roll off the same production lines as the company’s 4-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

The new 3-cylinder powertrain has been deliberately designed for integration into Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. A hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.

Volvo XC40
The new engine is made in the same factory in Sweden as the company’s 4-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

“Our new 3-cylinder engine is an exciting development for the XC40 and for Volvo Cars in general,” said Alexander Petrofski, Senior Director Cluster 40 at Volvo Cars. “This compact engine design provides the flexibility we need as we introduce more powertrain options for XC40 customers.”

Volvo’s current D3 150-bhp diesel and T4 190-bhp petrol engines are also added to broaden the powerplant choices for the XC40 (depending on the market where the model is sold).

“The new XC40 is a youthful car that suits drivers with a strong sense of individuality,” added Mr. Petrofski. “We want our customers to be able to make a statement their way – subtle or otherwise – and so we want to offer them more choices, both in performance and styling.”

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